Camp Gan Israel, sponsored by the Chabad Jewish Center, will have a "Free Friday" July 18 for children, ages 3-12. The camp meets at Garden Way Park in Ashland from 9 a.m. to — p.m. Activities will include challah baking, candle art and water games. Children are encouraged to bring their own instruments to play during the Musical Shabbat Party.

Camp Gan Israel has been a summertime favorite in the Rogue Valley for the last five years. The two-week camp is already in full swing, attracting children from all different Jewish backgrounds and affiliations. This year's counselors came from Israel and have been teaching campers Hebrew songs and sharing their Israeli culture. The guest instructors include dramatic arts teacher, Naomi Netzky-Jolly, and drumming teacher, Laura Rich.

Daytrips with Camp Gan Israel include the Jackson County Waterslide, Daniel Meyer Pool, berry picking, pony rides, the Ashland reservoir and a trip to a farm.

"The activities have been carefully selected to teach the children Jewish values in an extremely exciting and fun way," said Camp Gan Israel Co-director Faigy Zwiebel. "Campers will learn about respecting our elders, treating animals properly, giving to charity, being kind to others and much more."

Ellen Argall, who lives in Klamath Falls, brings her children all the way to Ashland to attend Camp Gan Israel.

"It is totally worth the drive," Argall said. "My children love it. They really enjoy the loving attention of their counselors and the many activities. They are always singing the camp songs and telling me about all the different fun things they've done throughout the day. They really look forward to Camp Gan Israel every year."

Rabbi Avi Zweibel believes sending a child to Jewish day camp is a great first step to take if parents are wondering how to introduce their children to Judaism.

"Our goal is to have each and every child walk away from Camp Gan Israel with very positive feelings that Judaism is fun and full of joy," Zweibel said.

To register for Free Friday at Camp Gan Israel or for more information, call 482-2778 or log onto .