Synagogue leaders are reporting that the Springs Fire has affected Jewish institutions in Ventura County, including Malibu camps run by Wilshire Boulevard Temple (WBT) and synagogues Temple Ner Ami, Temple Etz Chaim and Temple Adat Elohim.
Camp Judah West, which has run travel and sports camps in West Los Angeles for the past four years, has procured a rental location near San Diego and is organizing a five-week summer camp session based on the ideals of Jewish camping, Zionism and Torah.
Spending the summer at Jewish overnight camp once was a spartan affair, often little more than a collection of ramshackle buildings scattered in the woods by a placid lake.
Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes’ reported ties to Camp Max Straus have led to unwanted attention for Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles and its camp, its director said.
In the summer of 2008, when he was 20, James Holmes was known as a quiet counselor at Camp Max Straus in Los Angeles County, liked by his campers.
As details have emerged about the background of the now 24-year-old suspected shooter at the midnight massacre at an Aurora, Colo. showing of a Batman sequel on July 20, an unwanted media spotlight has fallen on the 110 acre camp in the Verdugo Mountains run by Jewish Big Brothers and sisters of Los Angeles.
“I’m looking at us all over TMZ,” said one former staff member contacted by The Jewish Journal. “There’s my picture, it’s crazy.”
At age 8, when Molly Hott stepped off the bus to complete her first summer of overnight camp, she told her parents she was going to “do this forever.”
When she took the stage recently before an audience of 400 Jewish camping enthusiasts, Lenore Skenazy wasted no time in addressing why she is known as “America’s Worst Mom.”
The Foundation for Jewish Camp's new grant cycle will fund the creation of four new specialty Jewish overnight camps.
A new Israel education initiative for camps is launching with grants of $3.6 million. The Larry and Lillian Goodman Foundations has awarded a four-year, $2.3 million matching grant to the iCenter and the Foundation for Jewish Camp to establish the Goodman Camping Initiative for Modern Jewish History.
The economy is bad. Money is tight. And yet the news isn’t all negative for youngsters hoping to attend Jewish summer camp this year. “The truth of the matter is, most of the summer camps have increased their financial aid,” said Jay Sanderson, president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “We’ve increased financial aid. So a lot of the challenges of the economy so far have been mitigated. We invest close to $1 million in summer camps.”
Pine trees and hiking trails surround more than a dozen wooden cabins on a lakeside campground in the San Bernardino National Forest. Located near Big Bear, the 40-acre site also includes a large dining hall, amphitheater, swimming pool, sports field and archery range — as well as a memorable bucolic view.
An 11th grade camper at Camp Ramah Darom was killed during an accident on a white-water rafting trip. Andrew Silvershein, of Davie, Fla., died when his raft capsized June 19 on the first day of a trip on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. Six other campers who had been with Silvershein on the raft made it back to shore safely. Silvershein remained trapped under a rock, under the water's surface, according to Southern Jewish Life Magazine. A paddle reportedly was used to free him, but CPR efforts failed.
More than 250 volunteers participated in The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ Community Service Day on June 5, the second of four volunteer opportunities in celebration of The Federation’s 100th anniversary.
This summer was going to be the one — the one when Prissi Cohen’s daughter, Tillie, would finally get to enroll with a friend in a late-summer overnight session at Camp Ramah. But now Cohen’s not so sure. If Tillie, 10, winds up going to a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) middle school in the fall, she would have to be at her desk two days before camp ends.
To those who love it, Hava Nashira is less a Jewish summer music workshop and more a calling. Even the name — translated as “come let us sing” — beckons. Started in 1992 by Debbie Friedman and Cantor Jeff Klepper, the sessions originally intended to train camp song leaders have gone on to have a global impact on Jewish music and synagogue life.
NBA All-Star Dwight Howard will visit Israel to hold a basketball clinic for teens.
While most kids who attend Jewish overnight camps this summer will ship off to rural settings, a handful will find themselves in the concrete jungle of Manhattan engaged in what could be described as early career development.
Camp Hess Kramer, like other sleep-away camps this summer, sent home children with influenza-like symptoms during its first session. But no children were sent home from the camp after July 15, the start of its second session.
Each summer, Erica Groten saves money on summer camp for her son, Ethan, by enrolling him in an exclusive program with only one opening: Camp Mom.
Groten takes Ethan, 6, to places like the Natural History Museum and the Los Angeles Zoo, and organizes beach days with other families and their children. She plans to reprise her role as camp director this summer, creating educational trips for her son.
Corinne Lightweaver has spent nearly seven years fighting cancer; first diagnosed with lymphoma in 2003, doctors then discovered she had breast cancer in 2007. The stress and anxiety associated with her life-threatening illness had taken a toll on the entire family, including her wife, Stacey Peyer, and their daughter, who at 7 has had a parent with cancer for most of her young life.
" . . . This camp, this organization [Hollywood Heart] gives me true happiness.I get back so much more in ways that are impossible to quantify, in ways I couldn'tget from anything material or anything else I've ever done . . . "
This may be your only chance to help a budding filmmaker out and see "The Impossible Itself."
In a prayer for his ordination from the Hebrew Union College (HUC) in 1940, Wolfgang (Wolli) Kaelter wrote: "Grant us depth that we might understand, vision that we might see, and let us never become self-satisfied."
"During the Holocaust, not everyone abandoned the Jews. Not everyone forgot about you."
So spoke Poland's Undersecretary of State Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, and her words were backed by the photos and stories of 21 surviving non-Jews from Poland recognized as Righteous Among the Nations that lined the hallway at the UCLA Hillel Center.
It was a given that Benjy Rabin, 9, would spend part of his summers at Camp Ramah as soon as he was old enough. His father is a Ramah alum, and so are his older brother and sister.
Ginz was a Czech Jew, born in 1928, who died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz at the age of 16. His diary had been lost for 60 years but resurfaced in 2003.
Cell phones are an inherent part of our culture -- why fight that at camp?
Going to overnight camp for the first time. It is -- in many circles -- a Jewish rite of passage. Unlike becoming a bar or bat mitzvah, however, the perfect timing for transitioning from day camper to overnight camper is not preordained; on the contrary, it can vary significantly from child to child.
"Our images of Jewish camping are formed by people who are heavy Jewish campers, but there are lots of people who are light Jewish campers and campers at non-Jewish camps, and this study accessed their views on Jewish camping," Steven M. Cohen, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion sociologist who authored the study, told The Jewish Journal. "I think we learned that there are diverse incentives and obstacles to participation in Jewish camping."
For a great many of us, there is an instant and easy identification with the Jewish state. They are not they, they are we. The heat of battle forges them into us. Whether we've spent much time there, whether we have blood relatives there, we feel ourselves as one, we are they.
There is one program in particular that embodies all of the emotionalism and meaning of machon summer: Tza'adah. Tza'adah is a five-day, four-night overnight trip that takes campers far from the boundaries of camp and into the nature of Northern California, where we bond with friends, while experiencing the outdoors.
Like most camps, Hess Kramer, has a staff of Israelis who work as counselors and educators. This summer, 1,400 Israelis, most of them between the ages of 19 and 22, are staffing 200 Jewish day and sleep-away camps, according the Jewish Agency, which coordinates the stays.
Unity is a collaboration between Jewish and Muslim high schools and focuses on interfaith studies, taught by educators of both religions.
In the beginning of the Nazi era, my father, thanks to his international reputation, was offered various positions abroad, including, oddly enough, at the main hospital in Tehran, but he couldn't conceive of leaving Germany. Like many old-time German Jews, he looked on Hitler as a temporary aberration, which the good sense of the German people would soon reverse.
This section of the page is a way for you as kids to sound off about an issue. This month's Kein v' Lo (yes and no) is about camps. Should Jewish kids go to Jewish camps or other kinds of camps?
Five brief pieces, on the following: Shalhevet School's recent winning streak, Camp Ramah's new solar panels, a five-day summer workshop that shows teachers how to use studying the holocaust to teach morality, an opportunity to serve abroad as part of the "Jewish Peace Corps," and a recent Prejudice Awareness Summit at the University of Judaism.
The Yiddish words flew -- sometimes fluently, sometimes haltingly and occasionally "shreklich" or awful as the seniors reached for a word long forgotten or the students for a word they had not yet learned. They raised their voices, gesturing with their hands as they spoke.
The fog/smog lies heavy over the San Bernardino mountain range, but with a little imagination, it's still possible to make out Los Angeles -- and Catalina -- in the distance. Likewise, at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet in Running Springs, it's possible to envision the great promise of Camp Gan Israel, Chabad's new sleep-away camp and retreat center, even though the site is still undergoing heavy remodeling.
Lapp was 9 when his family arrived in the United States. He went on to study political science and religious education at Yeshiva University and was ordained at the Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in 1957. He studied chaplaincy at the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., and the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.
With a gift for diction, Kadosh explores the cultural absurdities and political hypocrisies of America, dedicating one spoken-word poem to SUVs, and another to the cheese at the heart of America.
Late in the summer of 1987, my parents shipped me off to the Cleveland Jewish Community Center's cleverly named Camp Wise. It was August, the weather was hot, and the little village of wooden cabins with tent flaps for walls was a welcome change from the air-conditioned houses of the city.
Skiers and snowboarders who want vacations with fresh powder have an avalanche of options this winter. Jewish ski trips abound for teens to 40-somethings of all skill levels.
Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust-survivor-turned-Nazi hunter who always spoke of justice, not vengeance, is dead at 96.
Wiesenthal died in his sleep at his home in Vienna, his office announced Tuesday. Working with a small staff from his cramped three-room office, Wiesenthal sifted through tens of thousands of documents and followed countless leads, compiling archives that helped bring some 1,100 Nazi criminals to justice.
Josh Fields, 8, of Thousand Oaks, won the "My Amazing Summer" essay contest.
He wins a gift certificate to the store of his choice.
A group of 25 campers from Ramah of California's pilot summer in 1955 returned to camp this summer to kick off a yearlong celebration of Ramah's 50 years on the West Coast. The camp officially opened in 1956.
Back then, there were 62 campers and 24 staff members. Tuition for the 10 days was set at $56.16 -- with scholarships available. Today, there are 1,275 campers at the Ojai location, just down the road from the original campsite and a four-week session costs $3,120.
Rabbi Jacob Pressman, director of the camp that first summer, and assistant director Miriam Wise were among the delegates this summer. Rabbi Daniel Greyber, current director, presented the two with an award of recognition for their service.
The alumni toured the camp and then spent the evening in a singalong with current campers. Young campers and alumni alike were touched and amazed to hear that they knew the same camp songs, some of them authored by the adult guests.
Mark Worland -- six-foot-something, dressed in tight black and skinhead bald -- grabs Navid by the arm.
"Come with me!" he barks.
"No!" screams Navid, barely 5-feet tall.
Navid throws himself on his back, locks the bottom of his feet to Worland's knees, and shields his face and head from Worland's flailing fists.
"Great job," says Worland, a self-defense specialist, shaking Navid's hand and helping him up, as Navid's friends applaud.
This self-defense class is part of a repertoire of life skills that Navid and his peers are learning at Independent Living Skills, a summer program for developmentally disabled adults run by Etta Israel Center, a mid-Wilshire nonprofit for people with special needs.
After a successful career with the country's top basketball team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Aulcie Perry, 54, opened summer basketball clinics for children 7 to 14 years old in Tel Aviv. And he's about to open another one -- a camp set up to attract teens from all over the world, especially observant Jews.