In 2007, my three daughters asked me if they could go to summer camp along with their school friends. For the previous several years, I had always said no. It was far, it was costly. And summer was the only time I had vacation from work, and I wanted to spend that time with my children. I said I would think about it.
The largest wildfire in California’s history has led to the evacuation of a Jewish summer camp and destroyed at least one of its buildings.
A tree fell through a dining hall at a Jewish summer camp in Northern California, killing one and requiring four others to be airlifted to a nearby hospital.
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.
New York State Police are investigating allegations of sexual abuse by a truck driver making a delivery to a Jewish camp, The New York Post reported.
Raised in a small and intimate Jewish community, Gal Herman, 14, has always been active in his local Reform youth group, attending services and participating in events.
Three adults and two juveniles are under arrest for allegedly for making children at a Jewish summer camp feel “terrorized and in fear of for their lives.”
In the classic male-bonding film “Stand By Me,” based on a Stephen King novella, there is a line of dialogue at the end that I have never forgotten: “I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12 … does anyone?”
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.
As a counselor at Camp Kimama in Michmoret, Israel, I learned that the only connection these children from all over the world need is their passion and love for Israel. Camp Kimama is Israel's first international camp, where Jewish children spend two weeks forming a multicultural group of friends and exploring the different worlds that these friends come from. I spent one month of my summer working at Kimama, every day discovering more about myself and my fellow Israelis, Jews and Zionists.
As a camper, Max Kates was full of energy, soaking up everything Camp Ramah in Ojai offered. He loved sports, singing, his friends and Shabbat. When the summer arrived for him to join the staff, he immediately applied to participate in Ramah's counselor leadership-training program. In his first year as a counselor, Max was placed in a unit I supervised, and I watched with pride as he developed valuable skills in problem solving, public speaking, teamwork, program design and assessment.
Ruth Berkowitz, mother of five, has two manila folders stuffed with camp brochures, schedules and a pencil-drawn spreadsheet compiled of summer activities for her five children, including a column for each week.
And let me tell you, there's nothing quite like a Jewish summer camp. At a time when Jewish identity struggles to compete with the complexities and distractions of the 21st century, the Jewish summer camp experience has somehow continued to thrive on its simplicity.
They were filming the third episode of "Camp Bnos Yisrael," billed as "a new DVD series for women and girls only." And the actors were all from an ultra-observant all-girls summer program called Kol Neshama Performing Arts Conservatory.
Letters to the Editor
Today? We're litigious and safety conscious and have all sorts of rules and techniques so kids don't get hurt emotionally or physically ... and the camp prank still reigns supreme.
My pre-camp seminar with 35 staff members from Israel had just wrapped up, but Avinoam, our 21-year-old Israeli basketball coach for the summer, lingered behind, looking nervous and shaken.
"Jesus Camp," a documentary about a summer program at which evangelical children are taught to "take back America for Christ."
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.
A recent gift of $15 million to the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Md., one of the largest day schools in the U.S., will help pay for the school's daily operation, extremely rare among large gifts, which more commonly go toward endowments or capital expansion.
Jewish Family Service is recruiting teens to volunteer as presenters in its new teen-dating violence prevention program, The Hula Project (Healthy Unions Los Angeles).
Every summer, 2,000 teenagers from around the globe attend the world's largest international Jewish summer camp, The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation JDC International Jewish Summer Camp in Szarvas, Hungary.
Middle school classes are invited to view "Scream the Truth at the World," an exhibit of artifacts from Jewish Polish life before World War II, at the University of Judaism's (UJ) Platt Gallery through May 7.
With day school tuition at $11,000-$18,000 per child, per year putting the crunch on many families, the Orthodox Union (OU) has launched a tuition initiative to address both long-term and short-term solutions to what could become a crisis in Jewish education.
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.
After 15 years of summer day camps, Orange County families finally have a resident camp option of their very own. The Merage Jewish Community Center in Irvine is in the process of signing up campers, ages 7 to 16, to fill 110 spaces available for Camp Yofi, a sleep-away camp at Angelus Oaks in the San Bernardino Mountains.
The Valley Cities Jewish Community Center received a new lease on life this week when its parent organization agreed in principle to sell the center property to a local partnership that will keep the JCC going. Without the agreement, the center could have shut down at the end of June, probably for good.
The parent organization, which is called the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles, said it would accept a $2.7 million bid for the Sherman Oaks property. The condition for this "discounted" price was that any developer must also agree to renovate the JCC building or construct a new facility, insiders said. Four developers are believed to have expressed interest in putting senior housing and a state-of-the-art JCC on the land. A formal purchase offer could materialize by the end of July.
I am a big fan of camp. Every summer from 1973 on, I packed my trunk and headed to Malibu. Camp Hess Kramer shaped my teen years and reinforced my Jewish identity. It was my second home from age 12 to 22, and to this day, whenever I catch a whiff of pancakes frying in hot oil on a griddle, I close my eyes and return to camp. My life revolved around those precious summer months. If somebody offered me a job at camp today, I'd roll up my sleeping bag and hop on the bus.
Rabbi Alfred Wolf, who pioneered Jewish summer camps and the interfaith movement on the West Coast, died Aug. 1 at the age of 88.
Throughout his life, he strove for his self-described goal "to serve as a catalyst in bringing people together, despite personal and ideological differences."
They are not scholarships but "camperships" in Jewish summer camp parlance. Of the 1,000 campers expected soon at Malibu's Camp JCA Shalom, which is supported by JCCGLA, about 200 parents applied for camperships.
"It's amazing, in the past few years, the income level of people who are requesting camperships," said Bill Kaplan, executive director of the Shalom Institute, which runs Camp JCA Shalom. Its campership aid this year will run about $130,000, $75,000 of which is general camp aid from The Federation. That is an increase from the $50,000 The Federation made available 2002, the boost due to the increase in cash-strapped families.
For Rena, missing weeks of dance rehearsal was unthinkable, but so was missing out on the quintessential Jewish youth experience of summer camp.
This summer, Rena hopes to have that conflict resolved for her for at least two weeks when she attends T'hila, a new program at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley that integrates a Jewish camping experience with an arts experience molded for young, talented artists who are as serious about their craft as Rena.
A few weeks ago I welcomed Shabbat in Iquitos, Peru, one of the most isolated cities in the world. Located four degrees south of the Equator and surrounded by nearly impenetrable jungle, Iquitos is accessible only by air or by river -- that is, the Amazon.
Norman and Lela Jacoby are talking about Camp Ramah again.
Sure, there's going to be bugs. And food that's fun to make fun of. And a couple of bouts of homesickness. But camping, the experts agree, is good for children. "It's a great equalizer," says Arthur Pinchev, director of youth and family programming at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, "It's one place where kids can really be kids," away from the pressures of school and family life.
My first and only experience at summer camp was magical, or so it seemed to me. I entered a world I had never known before, and by summer's end had gained some recognition into who I was and who I was not. No mean feat at 13.
My 9-year-old daughter is heading off to overnight camp this summer.
Take nearly 100 people training to be rabbis, priests, pastors, ministers, nuns and religious educators. Put them together for 24 hours at a Jewish summer camp. Add a torrent of rain, and stir in several inches of thick mud. What do you get? You never know.
In the latest effort to define its religious boundaries, the Conservative movement has directed its summer camping system to notify parents that prospective campers must be Jewish according to halacha, or Jewish law, to be accepted.
During that first weekend, we found nourishmentfor all parts of our Jewish psyches. Religious services weretraditional but encouraged participation: I had my first-ever aliyahthere. The camp's weekend scholar-in-residence gave us grown-upsserious food for thought. The children had their own programs, but weall came together for a wild and wacky Saturday-night carnival and aSunday Maccabiah in which points were awarded for ruach (a favoriteRamah word, meaning "spirit") as well as for athletic skill. And, ofcourse, some lazy hours were reserved for swimming, snoozing andschmoozing. After all this, it was hard to go home.