By Chen Drachman (Actress and Israeli Camper Program, 2002)
The year was 2002. Some would argue that’s eons ago, some would say “pffft, you’re still young.”
I was lucky to be a part of the first ever Israeli Scouts Delegation to Tamarack. My sister did the same thing a few years later. It was a onetime (exciting!) experience. Camp gave me my first glimpse into the wonderful phenomenon that is Jewish summer camp. How else would I understand what’s going on on “Wet, Hot, American Summer?” This was crucial to my growth as someone who works in showbiz.
It also gave me my first taste of representation. It’s no secret that Israelis don’t have the best image abroad. I’m not even talking politics. I’m talking about how we do the tourist thing, which, sadly, is usually not in a positively-memorable way. So much so that we had to go through a PR seminar before we came to camp.
But getting to tell people about the home that I love, and hopefully leaving good impression clearly unleashed the monster because years later I went on Birthright (as an Israeli soldier) and met one of my best friends and did a whole lot of explaining and whatnot (it’s okay, she’s a nerd who’s obsessed with history. She was very pleased I sometimes knew more than our guide.)
But camp also gave me the opportunity of doing a zip line and water skiing for the first time, of jumping into a lake, and of walking for a while just to get to Cheder Ochel. It was a great practice for when I moved to NYC. We walk everywhere. I’m no longer intimidated by distances.
I also met the lovely Webermans who were my sponsoring family and Daniel even visited Israel a few years later and we showed him around.
And now I’m in NYC, a permanent resident through an application of excellence in the field of production (as our theatrical founding father, Lin-Manuel Miranda say – “Immigrants, we get the job done.”)
I worked hard since I moved here to attend the American Musical and Dramatic academy. I’ve written a lot. My scripts were official selections/finalists in festivals around the country and abroad (Madrid International Film Festival, Toronto International Video Awards, and NYC Independent Film Festival to name a few.)
As an actress you’ll be able to see me as of January 25th saying things on occasion on season 2 of the Hulu series The Path starring Aaron Paul.
My current script is called “Ruth’s.”
The story follows a family’s visit to their grandmother’s house for Seder. Later that night the granddaughter catches her grandma watching a news story about recently discovered facts regarding Anne Frank’s death, and confronts her about something she had suspected for years – her grandma is Anne Frank.
The story is inspired by an official study by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. They called the idea daring and interesting. I’m proud that name actresses were interested in the lead role after reading the script. Sadly, we’re not ready for production yet, financially, but I look forward to having more updates soon.
Learn more about Chen and the work she is doing at www.chendrachman.com. You can also support the crowdfunding campaign for “Ruth’s” HERE. Did you go to camp with Chen? Send us your story or let us connect you by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.