Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jewish Camps Spawn a U.S. Playground Hit

Jake Downing and D.J. Cicero playing gaga, a game similar to dodge ball,
at the Decathlon Sports Club in Woodside, Calif., near San Francisco.
Photo by Heidi Schumann for The New York Times
Campers had barely finished chewing their lunches at the Decathlon Sports Club summer camp before they sprinted to the newly built gaga court, eager to play a game like dodge ball that is fast becoming an obsession at camps and schools nationwide.

Believed to have originated in Israel, the game — which translates to “touch, touch” in Hebrew — has been a standby of Jewish summer camps and community centers in the United States since at least the 1970s. Now, to the surprise of parents who recall the game from their youths, gaga is solidly mainstream.

Young people are playing gaga this summer with fervent devotion, from this sunny day camp in Silicon Valley to Lake Beauty Bible Camp in Long Prairie, Minn., to the 20,000-square-foot Ultimate Gaga arena in Syosset on Long Island. -- Karen Alexander, NY Times

To read more and see the accompanying slide show, click here.

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