Working at a Jewish Camp
For over 30 years, CCUSA has been placing Jewish applicants in a variety of Jewish summer camps across the USA. Known as the “Summer Camp Specialists”, we take great care in placing every participant at the right camp. Summer camp work is demanding, but the rewards are endless.
If you are looking for the adventure of a lifetime that also allows you the opportunity to share and practice your Jewish faith, then CCUSA can help!
The American Summer Camp Tradition
- America’s camping tradition began in 1861 and currently boasts over 12,000 summer camps, catering to 20 million children annually.
- CCUSA works with hundreds of Jewish faith camps across the USA, who are looking for Jewish applicants from the UK, ages 18 – 30.
- Camps offer children from all backgrounds the opportunity to learn valuable life skills in a nurturing environment.
- Jewish faith camps include Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and secular and are associated with organizations such as the JCC, B’nai B’rith, Young Judaea, URJ and other Jewish youth movements.
- You will meet and work with great Jewish staff from America and all around the world.
You’re Role at Camp
- As a member of a camp staff you will be an ambassador for your country and a role model, guide and hero to your campers and peers.
- As a Jewish staff member you will bring the traditions and customs of Judaism as observed in your country to camp. You will also celebrate Shabbat in the universal Jewish tradition in many camps.
- Depending on the level of ritual observance and your personal level of observance, you may be invited to participate in or lead services, song sessions, holiday observance or sharing Jewish customs and rituals.
- Some camps also offer Bar and Bat Mitzvah tutoring and if you are qualified, you may be asked to help in this area as well. As a Jewish role model, you will help your campers leave with a greater appreciation of the rich history, beautiful rituals, and meaningful traditions of Judaism.
- To share your level of faith and experiences growing up Jewish overseas.
- To be outgoing and eager to share your knowledge with campers and peers.
- To be patient, friendly, adaptable, flexible, able to teach or lead campers in a variety of activities and preferably have prior experience working or caring for children.
- To supervise the safety and wellbeing of your campers.
The advantages of working at a Jewish camp
- An opportunity to work in a Jewish camp setting in the U. S.
- The chance to experience the “magic” of a Jewish summer camp, express your religious beliefs, work with and care for campers with similar ideas and backgrounds.
- Exposure to the American Jewish community.
- A chance to share your Jewish culture with American children and staff.
Types of Jewish Camps
Every Jewish camp in America is unique. Camps vary depending on location, environment, activities, facilities and campers. All the camps CCUSA works with are carefully examined and match our high standards, as well as those of the American Camp Association (ACA).
Although CCUSA requires you to choose 4 different camp types, being Jewish will guarantee you will only be placed at a Jewish camp, if that is your preference.
- Religious Camps- Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist
- Movement Camps- B’nai B’rith, Young Judaea, etc.
- JCC Camps
- Jewish Agency Camps
- Privately owned camps with predominantly Jewish camper populations
- Regardless of your personal level of practice and observance, there is a camp that will be just right for you in terms of their Judaic program!
ABOUT | Camp Ben Frankel
FOR EVERY JEWISH CHILD, A PLACE TO BELONG
Camp Ben Frankel’s mission is to build a lifelong camp family for Jewish children from all backgrounds to explore their identities in an inclusive and welcoming environment, one amazing summer at a time.
WE OFFER IN-PERSON + VIRTUAL OPTIONS
We offer two amazing types of camp experiences: CBF Overnight (in-person) and CBF Online (virtual).
A REPUTATION FOR QUALITY
At CBF we combine the wisdom of industry best-practices, decades of experienced leadership, strategic partnerships, and an open-minded approach to develop programs and activities that meet or exceed the high expectations of our campers, parents, and camp staff.
Safety comes first and Camp Ben Frankel is proudly accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). Why is that important? The American Camp Association collaborates with experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, CDC, the American Red Cross, and other youth-serving agencies to assure that current practices at Camp Ben Frankel reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation. Learn more about ACA accreditation here.
In 2019, CBF Overnight offered more than 100 high-quality activities and was named to Chicago Parent Magazine’s 2019 list of 10 amazing camps.
In 2020, CBF Online’s high-quality programming quickly captured attention around the globe and was featured in the Jewish Telegraph Agency, The Forward, The Telegraph (UK), the St. Louis Jewish Light, and eJewishPhilanthropy. CBF’s directors were asked to speak and lead trainings at camp conferences and to teachers at hebrew schools, day schools, and synagogues.
We work closely with strategic partners whose missions and values align with ours to help better serve our community. Partners include the Foundation For Jewish Camp, JCamp180, Jewish Camps USA, Life and Legacy, and Jewish Federations across the country. In October 2020, we were presented with the JCamp180 Outstanding Board Leadership Award.
How summer camp has become an American Jewish institution
(JTA) — Every summer, tens of thousands of American Jewish kids leave their homes, board buses and planes, and spend a month or two together on a campground in the middle of nowhere.
They might not go to synagogue at all during the rest of the year, but on Friday nights, they and their friends will dress in white, gather by a lake and pray together to welcome Shabbat.
Regardless of what they eat at home, all of their meals will be kosher. They may even go to a daily Jewish class.
And during the rest of the day, whether they’re playing soccer, swimming, carving wood or just hanging out, these young Jews will pepper their words with Hebrew, talking about their madrichim (counselors), a trip to the mirpaah (infirmary) or what they’re doing for their next peulah (activity).
The kids — 80,000 of them, as of 2018 — attend hundreds of American Jewish summer camps across the country. The camps, which run anywhere from two to eight weeks, are a centerpiece of American Jewish culture.
A 2013 study found that more than a third of American Jews have attended Jewish overnight camp. In many cases, children attend the same camps as their parents.
“My camp prided itself on its return rate,” wrote Maddy Albert in an essay on the Alma website about her initial feelings regarding camp. “The familial utopian feeling comes with a tacit agreement that you won’t leave, and when you have to go back home at the end of the summer, you will be heartbroken.”
This year, the heartbreak has come early.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dozens of camps have announced that they are canceling their summers for the first time, with more expected. Some American states are barring overnight camps, and other camps are making the choice that because kids are used to living in close quarters at camp and running around with few limits, social distancing would be nearly impossible.
As camp is all about doing stuff together, those that have canceled are struggling to figure out how to replicate their summer experiences in a world where gathering and physical contact are prohibited, and people are encouraged to stay in their homes.
Some camps are looking into converting their grounds into family retreats, so families can conduct socially distanced activities together. Others are considering how to create a virtual camp.
“Tents, cabins, dining halls, sports courts, and praying places will remain empty; Torahs won’t be unscrolled; songs will remain unsung; the grass will stay green from a lack of foot traffic,” wrote Rachel Bear, a former camper and counselor, in an essay on Alma. “The loss of Jewish summer camp, while comparatively insignificant in the grand scheme of this horrific pandemic, is still a tremendous loss.”
The camps bring Jewish kids to a secluded green space, usually in the woods, far from the city, where they live in cabins with each other under the supervision of counselors who are just a few years older than them. Most campers, who are anywhere from 7 to 16, will see their parents only once during the entire time they’re at camp.
At camp, kids will participate in a mix of activities — from sports to arts and crafts to swimming to woodworking — and have plenty of free time. Some camps are more specialized, focused on athletics or hiking and climbing or tech.
Part of the appeal — for parents and American Jewish leaders — is that camp aims to make Judaism fun. While some camps have a heavy dose of prayer, Jewish study and strict kosher observance, campers do those things in the sun and near the water and soccer field. They’re wearing T-shirts and shorts while hanging out with their friends.
A 2008 study by the Foundation for Jewish Camp found that going to camp is an indicator for Jews to be more involved in an array of Jewish experiences. Adults who attended Jewish camps as children were more likely to go to synagogue, marry a Jew, donate to a Jewish charity, light Shabbat candles and feel attached to Israel.
“The core elements are a sense of community, a sense of Jewish connection and a sense of adventure,” Carine Warsawski, a Jewish camp alum who now runs retreats at Jewish camps for adults, said in 2017. “When you finally get to explore and try new things, and see what you like, and make your own choices, that’s how you start to form who you are. ”
The first Jewish camp was founded in 1893 as masses of Jews were immigrating to the United States from Eastern Europe. Camp provided a fresh-air refuge from the crowded urban neighborhoods where Jewish immigrants settled, and they proliferated in the 1920s. At first, the point of camp was to make Jewish kids more American, not make American kids more Jewish.
“The early Jewish camps were motivated by two concepts: bring inner-city kids out to the country, and ‘Americanize’ the children of Eastern European immigrants,” according to an article on the history of Jewish camps. “What made these camps Jewish was their demographics, not their programming.”
That changed beginning in the 1940s, as Jewish religious movements like Conservative and Reform Judaism started their own camps. Since then, the main goal of Jewish camp became Jewish experiential education.
Nowadays, many Jewish camps place a particular emphasis on Zionism and Israeli culture. Many camps will bring in contingents of young Israelis to work at camp. A few camps have Hebrew immersion programs. At others, it’s common for kids to sing Hebrew songs, do traditional Israeli dances and have staff mix some Hebrew words into their daily announcements.
Some camps — with their communal living, outdoorsy spirit and Hebrew culture — aim to mimic the traditional values of Israeli kibbutzim, or at least the socialist kibbutzim of a couple generations ago. Some networks of camps take their oldest campers on a summerlong trip to Israel.
“Zionism is a central part of our core mission, as we nurture within our campers and staff members a deep and enduring love for Israel,” the leaders of the Conservative Jewish camp network Ramah wrote in an open letter in 2018. “Hebrew is a central element of daily life at Camp Ramah, and our campers and staff members spend significant time in Israel.”
But this year is different. As summer nears, it’s becoming increasingly clear that for many campers, summer as they’re used to it will not be happening, and one of the core parts of American Jewish life will be temporarily on hold.
“We have been holding onto hope that it might be possible for us to still get back to camp this summer,” Geoff Menkowitz, director of Camp Ramah Darom, said in a video message in April announcing the Georgia camp’s 2020 cancellation. “It has become clear that camp as we know it and love it is not possible right now.”
A community of 100,000 strong,
each with a unique story.
JCC Day Camp
Impacting the lives of over 65,000 campers
and 12,000 staff every summer.
JCC Overnight Camp
Impacting the lives of over 18,000 campers
and over 5,000 staff every summer.
“JCC camps inspire children to become caring and committed Jewish leaders. At JCC camps, children are empowered to contribute positively to their community and explore their place in the world with a greater sense of confidence and purpose.”
— Tom Rosenberg, President/Chief Executive Officer of American Camp Association
“Camp has had such a meaningful impact on my life because it has taught me so many valuable lessons that I could never learn anywhere else. One of my favorite parts of Tawonga is all the bonding time that we get to spend with our bunkmates. Without Tawonga, my summer wouldn’t be nearly as fun.”
— Sarah P., camper, Camp Tawonga
“At the beginning of the summer my son was afraid of the water, but after a few days of encouragement from his counselors and lifeguards he entered the water and by summer’s end, swimming was his favorite activity. Every day after camp he talked about how much fun he was having when learning how to swim.”
— Michelle G., parent, JCC of Staten Island Lillian Schwartz Day Camp
“Camp is the place where I have met my best friends and have never once felt isolated or alone. Camp truly allows me to express myself and feel comfortable taking risks and challenging myself to find out more about myself. It has given me everything from my first real leadership training to my first real job and responsibilities.”
— Eric S., staff, Pinemere
“JCC Camps foster joyous Judaism, allowing children to discover and explore their identity, values, and culture in a safe, accepting environment. ”
— Jeremy J. Fingerman, CEO, Foundation for Jewish Camp
The History of American Jewish Summer Camps
This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.
Ari Goldstein: i’m Ari Goldstein Senior Public programs producer at the Museum of Jewish heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust and it’s a pleasure to welcome you to today’s very timely program on the history of American Jewish summer camp be.
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Ari Goldstein: Coming just as some of you have just dropped off your kids or grandkids at summer camp for the season, or perhaps some of you are spending the summer.
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Ari Goldstein: Finally, remembering your own camp experiences from many years ago we’re glad you’re here.
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Ari Goldstein: it’s not just a topic that’s fun and timely also want a real enduring relevance for the American Jewish community as we think about how to sustain Jewish identity across generations we’re lucky to have two very distinguished guests with us this evening to explore the topic.
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Ari Goldstein: rabbi rick Jacobs is President of the Union for reform Judaism, which leads the largest and most diverse Jewish movement in North America, with more than 1.5 million people and 15 overnight camps.
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Ari Goldstein: before his tenure at you rj rick spent 20 years as a visionary spiritual leader at West Chester reform temple in scarsdale answer just the rabbi at the brooklyn heights synagogue rekha study for two decades at Jerusalem sholom heartland institute where he’s a senior rabbinic fellow.
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Ari Goldstein: we’re also welcoming Dr Gary P Zola the Executive Director of the Jacob greater Marcus Center of the American Jewish archives.
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Ari Goldstein: And the Edward and ackerman family distinguished Professor with the American Jewish experience and reformed Jewish history at Hebrew Union college Jewish Institute of religion in Cincinnati Ohio.
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Ari Goldstein: I titled it is just as prestigious as it is long Gary edits the market centers award winning semi annual periodical the American Jewish archives journal.
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Ari Goldstein: In 2006 he co edited a collection of essays on the history of reformed Jewish campion titled a place of our own the rise reformed Jewish campaign which you can find at the link in the zoom chat.
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Ari Goldstein: We were hoping to be joined this evening by Dr jenna Weissman jocelyn is a terrific scholar with real expertise on Jewish summer camp, but she was unable to join us, due to a family emergency.
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Ari Goldstein: As rick and Gary explore the history of Jewish summer camps over the next hour, please feel free to share your questions in the zoom Q amp a box and we’ll get to as many as we can.
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Ari Goldstein: Since there are so many Jewish summer camps in the United States, please try to keep your questions, focused on the general topic at hand, rather than on the history of a specific camp.
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Ari Goldstein: We are recording this evenings conversation and we’ll send out the link tomorrow, as well as making it available on the museums website, without further ado warm welcome to both of you rick and Gary feel free to get started.
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Rick Jacobs: Thank you, sorry and it’s a pleasure to be with my colleague rabbi back to gary’s Zola who is just an inspiration, one of the most brilliant American Jewish historians, that we have.
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Rick Jacobs: And someone who is himself a part of sin of Jewish summer camping and it’s a treat to be with you Gary and all these nice people who, on this.
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Rick Jacobs: Wonderful summer day have said, this is where they want to be i’m going to guess that almost everyone who wants to be on this webinar.
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Rick Jacobs: is here, because there is a personal connection and we’re seeing an unbelievable litany of I think almost every Jewish overnight camp in North America, and some of them multiple times.
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Rick Jacobs: But I also think you have on this webinar in our audience people who are part of multi generation families connection to a summer camp and they’re across the waterfront of camps, so it is really.
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Rick Jacobs: An honor and it’s timely because we’re not just having this conversation in November or January we’re having this conversation at a moment when.
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Rick Jacobs: Our camps, thank goodness, are once again filled with the joyful sounds of of kids learning and celebrating and having fun and being Jewish in the most natural and transformational ways.
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Rick Jacobs: I would just say personally I would not be here as a rabbi if we’re not for my experience as a camper and a staff member.
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Rick Jacobs: At our reform movements camp in northern California, which back in the day was called camp swig today it’s camp Newman.
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Rick Jacobs: And i’ve just got one personal story remember my mom signed me up when I was nine to go to camps swig and I was so upset I said to my mom, why did you sign me up for Jewish summer camp.
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Rick Jacobs: I said I don’t want to go to Hebrew school in the summer and I imagined that we got the camp they’re going to sit us in deaths.
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Rick Jacobs: in classrooms with chalkboards and we’d have like you know basically a a hot version of Hebrew school, well, it turned out that my mom was right about everything, and she sure was right to sign me up.
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Rick Jacobs: Because it was one of the most engaging and inspirational experiences of my life, and I know today we’re going to have a chance, not just to talk personally.
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Rick Jacobs: But the zoom out and think about what is this incredible incident institution of Jewish overnight camps which has frankly been something that has really shaped American Jewish life it’s it’s shaped a whole generation of leaders.
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Rick Jacobs: And at this very moment it’s doing it’s very magic I want to say that just we’ll talk about maybe a little later, but after coven.
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Rick Jacobs: there’s never been a more challenging summer to open camp, no matter where you are.
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Rick Jacobs: But are remarkable staffs across all the different camps are doing it they’re doing it safely they’re doing it brilliantly and really we must just say now, we thank you, but color code.
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Rick Jacobs: To all those who have been working overtime, to bring the magic back, but rabbi Gary rabbi Dr Gary Zola I mean to me that’s a mouthful but you’ve earned each of those titles.
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Rick Jacobs: rasool Allah can you talk give us give us historians take on this not not our personal tape but can you tell us where did they come from, why do they matter and just give us a perspective that only you have.
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Gary P. Zola: Well i’d be happy to do that before I do that you know we both got very lavish introductions rabbi Jacobs, but, but the most important.
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Gary P. Zola: fact about our biographies was left out, and I want to make sure we begin that way, I am honored to be in the same ordination classes rabbi Jacobs, and the great class of 1982 so.
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Gary P. Zola: You know, in their head, I always say to rabbi Jacobs, there has to be someone at the top of the class which is rabbi Jacobs who’s leading our reform movement and and, as always, always at the bottom, but nevertheless it’s great to be here with you and I love your story i’m going to.
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Gary P. Zola: i’m going to resist the urge to tell a similar story about myself and just you know respond to your question, because it is important, I want to say that about 1520 years ago a sociologist for Brandeis.
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Gary P. Zola: Really began to study the the extent of how reform how Jewish camping has impacted the North American Community Jewish community and at that time, this is already almost two decades ago they said that there’s nearly 200 bona fide summer camps in in in North America.
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Gary P. Zola: And that serve approximately 80,000 young people every year.
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Gary P. Zola: And that doesn’t include another 15 or St 18,000 young adults who are college students and so forth, through serving the staff, but are also participants in the program and I think we all know, and maybe we’ll get into this a little later that the extent of.
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Gary P. Zola: Jewish camping and its its impact on on Jewish life is.
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Gary P. Zola: Is is really almost defies description and and and and when you think about its beginnings I don’t know that we would have imagined this just a few points because we, we have to do this quickly, but you know, one of the important points is a camping what we call summer camping or.
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Gary P. Zola: Multi week camping is really an American innovation it’s something that really began in the United States and has been exported all around the world.
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Gary P. Zola: Believe it or not, camping begins during the civil war and i’ll show this if I have time a little later, I have some illuminations of this begins during the civil war and the the.
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Gary P. Zola: Smoke the inspiration of a man who, by the name of gun.
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Gary P. Zola: Frederick gun who who believed that he was too old to go to fight and so he took these young people, they were teenagers he brought them together.
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Gary P. Zola: to emulate what the Union soldiers were doing and and that continued on after the war.
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Gary P. Zola: And it was from that militaristic beginning where they lived in tents and they cook their own food and they.
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Gary P. Zola: Add discipline and so comes from that that American camping begins so by the 1870s we begin to see a new innovation that that that occurs, and that is the idea of building up character and education.
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Gary P. Zola: camps are begin this way and they begin to serve both a wealthy clientele and very poor clientele people who lived in the inner cities and.
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Gary P. Zola: A part of what it was called the fresh air movement and it’s at this time in the 1890s 1880s 1890s that some Jews begin to acquire camps, they begin to purchase camps and they begin to go into the camping business.
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Gary P. Zola: But it isn’t until the 20th century that what you might call intentionally Jewish camps are begin to take shape and i’ll spell this out to a few of the specific leading names, but.
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Gary P. Zola: These are camps that the Jewish community actually begins to organize different parts of the Jewish community, and they have different purposes.
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Gary P. Zola: And then the final two steps come after World War one or perhaps during World War one and, right after one is when the idea of actual Jewish education is infused into the camps and that begins.
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Gary P. Zola: In the teens of the 20th century and followed by a whole series of what you might call.
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Gary P. Zola: educational initiatives that take place in camping and the very last phase is when the religious denominations begin.
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Gary P. Zola: To create their own camps at using that this idea of educational camping and the educational experience to actually teach the religious experience from the perspective of the specific denomination and, of course.
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Gary P. Zola: This is the first religious denomination to to create such an effort was the conservative movement which.
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Gary P. Zola: camera MMA began about five or six years before the reform movement began its camping program so that’s the overview, in other words to summarize rabbi Jacobs.
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Gary P. Zola: What you really have is an American institution, and as I always teach my classes if it’s American.
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Gary P. Zola: it’s going to be American Jewish and so out of out of this American institution, some of the themes that were a part of the camping movement of America begin to inspire first.
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Gary P. Zola: People to own camps and to run camp then Jewish institutions begin to take on the camping idea, and then you begin with the educational initiatives for various ideas Zionism Hebrew and so forth, and finally.
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Gary P. Zola: you end up with the denominational camps and the impact that this entire apparatus has had on our Jewish community I think many people would say it’s one of the greatest.
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Gary P. Zola: Innovations of American jury and it has been just like American camping has been exported around the world, so to has Jewish camping then export it around the world, we have similar what you call American Jewish style camping all over the globe today.
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Rick Jacobs: Great very helpful and I think you already helped us to know some of the diversity of these camps, you know you’re talking about the denominational camps, then there’s a whole group that are really Zionist in their.
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Rick Jacobs: organization and in their program you also have the GCC in the Federation that Community as you described, we also have private camps.
00:14:27.330 –> 00:14:31.410
Rick Jacobs: Private Jewish camps and I, you know I think of one i’m doing a wedding next weekend.
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Rick Jacobs: And the the groom told me that every one of his groomsmen he met at one of these private Jewish camps where 80% of the campers were Jewish.
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Rick Jacobs: And the only Jewish practice was that the Friday night candles were kindled.
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Rick Jacobs: Services new educational program but the bond of creating a Jewish committee that has now been decades for this group, this cohort.
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Rick Jacobs: it’s had also a very powerful impact So are we missing any one of the buckets of the different types of camps that we just make sure we got the the waterfront identified.
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Gary P. Zola: yeah no I don’t think so the in terms of the camps, you were just describing I typically categorize them into into sort of pockets.
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Gary P. Zola: meaning, you have the camps in which the clientele and the owner are Jewish and identifiably Jewish and.
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Gary P. Zola: Therefore, they are viewed as Jewish camps, very often, these are for places where you have a high demography, abuse and the assumption is that everybody who goes is Jewish, but you really don’t have anything else other than.
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Gary P. Zola: Everyone seems to come from a Jewish home and our Jewish background, the second division is like you say where the there’s no specific educational program but there may be.
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Gary P. Zola: One or two rituals that are performed during the course of the summer, you know typically, as you said, it’s lighting candles on Friday night at maybe even I remember, for example.
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Gary P. Zola: Before I began to go to the reform camp.
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Gary P. Zola: On Friday night we sang not the Multi at this Jewish camp that the first one, I went to but we saying the Lord is good to me.
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Gary P. Zola: And so I thank the Lord for giving me the apple tree the sun, the rain and whatever it is, and that was it that was not that wasn’t the mochi but we said that.
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Gary P. Zola: In a sort of a prayerful way, and so there are those two notions, in a sense, and these were the first camps in a way, these were people.
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Gary P. Zola: who bought camps, who got into the camping business and who wanted to eat you don’t to create it was it was only after a few decades that you begin to get into the purposeful mission of the camp for for the Jewish community.
00:16:54.870 –> 00:16:59.670
Rick Jacobs: beautiful and we’re seeing lots of great comments, as well as a few questions mixed in, in the chat.
00:17:00.060 –> 00:17:13.590
Rick Jacobs: But, of course, you know we have Yiddish speaking, we have socialist, we have the entire you know diversity of our Jewish community reflected in their own camps and some of them have been going strong for a century.
00:17:14.040 –> 00:17:25.380
Rick Jacobs: Some you know we’re strong and our lesson today and, yes, orthodox conservative reform reconstruction is in all of the different stripes when we talk about denominational it’s across everything.
00:17:25.920 –> 00:17:34.260
Gary P. Zola: You know it’s it’s very interesting what you just said rabbi Jacobs, our colleague from Brandeis university.
00:17:34.800 –> 00:17:43.290
Gary P. Zola: Professor Jonathan krasner has written on this and is very fine book on Samson bender Lee, why is it that some of the camps.
00:17:43.800 –> 00:17:52.530
Gary P. Zola: have not been able to continue on whereas some have lasted for 100 years or more, and he he argues that.
00:17:53.010 –> 00:17:59.040
Gary P. Zola: And and it’s it’s worth thinking about I I don’t want to say i’m persuaded completely, but if he argues.
00:17:59.430 –> 00:18:05.100
Gary P. Zola: That the camps that have not continue to upgrade their facilities.
00:18:05.460 –> 00:18:26.400
Gary P. Zola: To offer the kind of quality that camping needs to offer, just like classrooms and schools have to continue to improve and provide the kind of high level a facilities that those camps that were you know really rundown and rustic lost their luster and people then began.
00:18:27.750 –> 00:18:41.250
Gary P. Zola: To you know not want to go to those camps and go to higher end camps and and that the Jewish camping moment has followed in that footsteps I know, for example, i’ve been being.
00:18:42.870 –> 00:18:57.300
Gary P. Zola: Someone who went to one of our camps in the reform movement, I can say without question that the the level of the facilities has grown over the years, remarkably and and and so have the programs.
00:18:58.170 –> 00:19:04.260
Rick Jacobs: Beautiful beautiful I love also that people are just basically putting things on our discuss list so we’ll keep them there.
00:19:04.890 –> 00:19:19.500
Rick Jacobs: rabbis older, you are obviously the director of the amazing American Jewish archives I would love for you can you share some of the riches of the archives in terms of Jewish summer camping would really help maybe give a face to some of what we’re talking about.
00:19:20.010 –> 00:19:33.780
Gary P. Zola: Absolutely I i’m delighted to do so and i’m just going to share a few and one of the one of the amazing things that I hope everyone can Can you see my my starting side great.
00:19:34.350 –> 00:19:51.810
Gary P. Zola: The one thing I do want to say, because you know i’m sure this is everyone who is on this massive a webinar there’s no way friends that I or rabbi Jacobs can mention every single camp and i’m about to show some documents.
00:19:52.950 –> 00:20:03.540
Gary P. Zola: Know archives has a record of every single camp, and so, but I do want to stress that the American Jewish archives even know it has its strength in.
00:20:04.650 –> 00:20:16.860
Gary P. Zola: in preserving the records of the liberal Jewish community we have many, many records from beyond that i’m going to begin by showing you that so first of all.
00:20:17.910 –> 00:20:19. 980
Gary P. Zola: I mentioned earlier.
00:20:21.450 –> 00:20:28.830
Gary P. Zola: Mr gun Frederick gun, and this is a rare picture from the library of Congress of.
00:20:29.880 –> 00:20:42.630
Gary P. Zola: His cappers in the year 1861 on the green in Washington DC where he marched them to, and you, you see that there was even a girl, if you look all the way to your left.
00:20:43.470 –> 00:20:53.130
Gary P. Zola: As a part of of of that group, and that this man is considered by the American camping association to be the founder of American camping because of this initiative.
00:20:54.990 –> 00:20:56.880
Gary P. Zola: here’s the scheduling of.
00:20:58.590 –> 00:21:02.910
Gary P. Zola: We don’t have any pictures of the scheduling of Camp choco.
00:21:03.990 –> 00:21:09.570
Gary P. Zola: choco was started by Ernest balls in 1881 and.
00:21:10. 620 –> 00:21:23.490
Gary P. Zola: He was a Dartmouth student and a very religious episcopal who had the idea of building up character for people who would waste away their summers.
00:21:24.240 –> 00:21:38.760
Gary P. Zola: sitting in their houses and so forth, and he’s often credited with a providing camping with this idea of spiritual mission of making people better by being at Camp together in community.
00:21:42.990 –> 00:21:44.790
Gary P. Zola: When I mentioned earlier that.
00:21:46.260 –> 00:22:06.660
Gary P. Zola: That Jews began to acquire camps here’s a great example of it rabbi Bernard Aaron rife there’s several articles on this man rabbi Jacobs and rabbi Aaron ranks a graduate of the Jewish theological seminary and he purchased the campus ultimately in Canada it’s a very famous camp and.
00:22:07.740 –> 00:22:22.230
Gary P. Zola: fits that bill, you were just describing it doesn’t necessarily have what you would call a Jewish program but my many, if not most of the campers have been Jewish and there’s a certain Jewish flavor to it and here’s.
00:22:25.050 –> 00:22:36.750
Gary P. Zola: The name of that camp that he started his camp co Agha, and this is their bulletin, you can see a little picture of what things to call the Doc that’s Aaron rice on the on the mantle and listed.
00:22:37.410 –> 00:22:50.340
Gary P. Zola: On the mantle is one of his famous things that Dr rabbi Aaron Ryan as God gave us the fire so gave he us the warmth of friendship.
00:22:51.540 –> 00:22:53.280
Gary P. Zola: Aaron rifles famous also for.
00:22:54.300 –> 00:23:00.330
Gary P. Zola: saying he knew how to define God G O D, the great outdoors.
00:23:02.280 –> 00:23:02.670
Gary P. Zola: So.
00:23:03.750 –> 00:23:15.750
Gary P. Zola: That when I when when when I said that Jewish institutions begin to take root and and start their own camps, one of the oldest camps in America.
00:23:16.320 –> 00:23:30. 720
Gary P. Zola: Jewish camps is surprised like camp, which still is going on, to this day was established by the educational alliance, its purpose was to reach out to the immigrants who were sitting in the inner cities, then, and so forth in that camp has had a distinguished history.
00:23:31.890 –> 00:23:46.500
Gary P. Zola: And I don’t have time to go into it, but the whole idea of native American culture and camps was very, very important in terms of building character and, believe it or not, before we do today is our camps.
00:23:47.100 –> 00:24:03.600
Gary P. Zola: Many of our camps, it had this what we would call native American culture and here is surprise like camp an Indian pageants from the 1930s, these were Jewish Native Americans, I guess, so.
00:24:05.490 –> 00:24:15.810
Gary P. Zola: You mentioned and it’s very important, now we these documents that i’m showing you right now we have at the American Jewish archives and I, I must say I don’t know she’s listening if she’s in the crowd but.
00:24:16.200 –> 00:24:24.720
Gary P. Zola: A woman who wrote an outstanding volume on the Yiddish camps and on the Yiddish culture in America freedom, freedom right.
00:24:25.860 –> 00:24:34.620
Gary P. Zola: After she published her book and I commend it to everyone, she gave a whole collection of her materials to the American Jewish archives so.
00:24:34.980 –> 00:24:48.240
Gary P. Zola: If you’re looking for materials on Camp boy brick or can hinder land or or or some of the socialist camps, we have that material So you see it here, you know find the calendar.
00:24:49.860 –> 00:24:58.470
Gary P. Zola: camp boy brick, and here is a rare picture from her collection that’s at the American Jewish archives of Camp boy breck it it’s very early years.
00:25:00.000 –> 00:25:14.280
Gary P. Zola: And and here’s another picture that came from freedom collection camp kindred land kindler land was a Socialist camp and still exists today it.
00:25:15.510 –> 00:25:23.190
Gary P. Zola: was run by the arbiter ring and today it’s a still exist, but not as a Jewish camp, but as a.
00:25:24.540 –> 00:25:26.160
Gary P. Zola: Multi cultural camp.
00:25:27.870 –> 00:25:32.130
Gary P. Zola: right here is the workmen circle camp very.
00:25:33.660 –> 00:25:40.320
Gary P. Zola: They wrote on the picture impressive flagpole ceremony from the workman’s circle campaign, you would begin with flag.
00:25:40.650 –> 00:25:47.130
Gary P. Zola: flag raising, which is, I remember as a camper I don’t know about you rabbi Jacobs, we used to begin with the flag raising.
00:25:47.580 –> 00:26:04.170
Gary P. Zola: And then you have this this is often viewed as the first educational camping experience the feds when camp and torture of as sense when camps, I saw some people were indicating they grew up at the set when camps that’s great statue in camps.
00:26:04.680 –> 00:26:12.300
Gary P. Zola: were started in New York was out of the central Jewish agency in New York, which was.
00:26:13.290 –> 00:26:21.900
Gary P. Zola: aimed at educational purposes to strengthen educational purposes and created a camp in 1919 which ran until I believe the.
00:26:22.620 –> 00:26:41.040
Gary P. Zola: 80s or 90s if i’m not mistaken, and that camp is often viewed as the first attempt to actually teach about Judaism in the new what you call the in a creative and experiential educational mode.
00:26:42.630 –> 00:26:43.110
Gary P. Zola: and
00:26:45.240 –> 00:26:52.470
Gary P. Zola: We talked about some of the specialty camps sampson bender Lee the great Jewish educators started camp asked by.
00:26:52.890 –> 00:27:03.060
Gary P. Zola: In 1927, which was a Hebrew speaking camp and a Zionist camp and there were so many of those I know some of the people are going to want me to talk about camp mo D and so forth.
00:27:03.960 –> 00:27:15.720
Gary P. Zola: Here here’s a photo of a baseball game with you can see in the background they’ve got it all covered by CS they’ve got all the Hebrew spelled out in in the background and.
00:27:17.490 –> 00:27:24.540
Gary P. Zola: Finally, we get to the denominational camps, and this is a picture from the first summer.
00:27:25.620 –> 00:27:32.430
Gary P. Zola: camp, Roma and cut over Wisconsin and there’s a whole history of ramadi Thank God there’s a volume on it and.
00:27:32.820 –> 00:27:48.510
Gary P. Zola: I could talk about it, but I know where we’re short of time, so i’m just going to finish up with of course the crowd will forgive me, how could we have the President of the Union for reform Judaism here, I have to talk about the reform movements camps.
00:27:49.530 –> 00:27:59.580
Gary P. Zola: The first camp established in 1952 was cardamom in a kind of mark Wisconsin, and here I am showing you something I don’t know if you.
00:27:59.880 –> 00:28:09.270
Gary P. Zola: ever seen because it’s not only photos that are important it’s documents you’re looking at a picture that rabbi your predecessor rabbi eyes and draft wrote.
00:28:09.630 –> 00:28:21.780
Gary P. Zola: To Johan ackerman ackerman was in Chicago a lay person he was a manufacturer of auto parts and he was very active in the Chicago region, and he was T lay leader.
00:28:22.080 –> 00:28:38.730
Gary P. Zola: to establishing the camp, with the Chicago rabbis and once the Chicago travis had purchased the camp, there was a deal that was worked out and the Union became the owner of the camp and i’m just going to blow up for the for the audience this one paragraph that rabbi.
00:28:39.930 –> 00:28:49.410
Gary P. Zola: eyes address rights that’s so moving to me, he says, I cannot tell you what a tremendous thrill I received when I read your letter.
00:28:49. 980 –> 00:28:59.220
Gary P. Zola: And I held in my hand the actual certificate of ownership in the first Union Institute of the EU a HC.
00:28:59.850 –> 00:29:15.870
Gary P. Zola: ever to be officially and actually establish and then I go to the second paragraph rick because it says, this is indeed a historic document which is going to be focused added and forward to the American Jewish archives, so this is how we are connected.
00:29:17.040 –> 00:29:30.960
Gary P. Zola: And this is the famous Arc that the first campers built at that camp, and this is from one of the early brochures, you can see that we play you see the canoe and one of the buildings in the background.
00:29:32.130 –> 00:29:36.390
Gary P. Zola: People reading Torah, these are all from early brochures advertising the camp.
00:29:37.680 –> 00:29:52.710
Gary P. Zola: I said earlier, rabbi zalman chapter salome came to the camp, there is, we have documentary evidence that’s from our collection and Cincinnati and he spoke to the campers he was still wearing his hasidic guard in those days.
00:29:53.130 –> 00:30:11.940
Gary P. Zola: And of course we could talk about too and we’ll probably talk about the tremendous impact that camping music camping prayer has had on our entire religious life around the world and debbie freeman, of course, launch that from our camp in Wisconsin.
00:30:13.050 –> 00:30:23.790
Gary P. Zola: The last few things i’ll show i’m almost done is you mentioned rabbi Jacobs, you were the head of the Hebrew speaking program at the second camp in.
00:30:24.510 –> 00:30:41.670
Gary P. Zola: camp swig in in California, in saratoga and, and this is a newspaper from 1968 you people can see it says call Ha ha ha loots the voice of the pioneer camp, this was the Hebrew speaking camp.
00:30:42.300 –> 00:30:45.390
Gary P. Zola: In Wisconsin at the at Union Institute.
00:30:45.810 –> 00:30:59.970
Gary P. Zola: And 1968 rabbi Jacobs, is when Gary Zola was a Hollywood scene Member, and this is from the eat on, if you look down at the bottom, those of you who read Hebrew you’ll see it says gear Sean and since we were in Israel together.
00:31:00.510 –> 00:31:15.330
Gary P. Zola: rabbi Jacobs those that’s my Hebrew name carefully, and this is the 10 commandments for the Madrid and for the camper and it’s you can see my humor which falls flat in the Hebrew but one day out.
00:31:16.110 –> 00:31:27.540
Gary P. Zola: i’ll probably do a show you’re on that are less than on that the last two things I want to show you is, this is a picture that means a lot i’m going to ask rabbi Jacobs, to talk about this picture right now.
00:31:28.920 –> 00:31:29.550
Rick Jacobs: Well it’s.
00:31:30.900 –> 00:31:41.370
Rick Jacobs: amazing moment that’s actually the summer camps wig when Avi tell Sharansky she was on the cover of Time Magazine her husband not Tom was in prison.
00:31:41.730 –> 00:31:46.230
Rick Jacobs: Soviet Union, and she came to our camp and I had just come back from my junior year.
00:31:46. 830 –> 00:31:56.700
Rick Jacobs: But he university and she was going to speak in English, she got in front of 500 campers and staff and all kinds of journalists and she began speaking Hebrew.
00:31:57.420 –> 00:32:03.930
Rick Jacobs: And the director of the camp motion to me like get up there Jacobs, and start translating and, to be honest.
00:32:04.650 –> 00:32:13.920
Rick Jacobs: You know the Hebrew was was was not hard to translate the emotion was impossible this woman said her first words were.
00:32:14.340 –> 00:32:25.380
Rick Jacobs: My husband is in prison because he can’t do what all of you can do today and tomorrow here at Camp speak Hebrew and freely practice or Judaism.
00:32:25.830 –> 00:32:36.810
Rick Jacobs: I tell you that, because you know it’s one of those moments that really helped to shape me but it’s shaped all those I know I saw in the list of parents will present is here.
00:32:37.080 –> 00:32:47.160
Rick Jacobs: All of us who remember that it was one of those shaping experiences so I must say to to you, Dr Zola, thank you for this incredible history lesson.
00:32:47.580 –> 00:32:56.910
Rick Jacobs: Can we can we dig down in a couple of key areas you’ve given us, I think some of the wonderful framing I know that some of the questions have been.
00:32:57.570 –> 00:33:05.280
Rick Jacobs: What has been the impact of Jewish summer campaign on Jewish life, and I want to show the picture of Bibi Friedman.
00:33:05.880 –> 00:33:17.280
Rick Jacobs: I have a deep belief, I think many of us, if not all of us that are experiences that camp reshaped the Jewish community and reshaped prayer it reshaped Jewish learning.
00:33:17.850 –> 00:33:23.850
Rick Jacobs: The idea that informal learning was experiential it was both delightful.
00:33:24. 300 –> 00:33:34.140
Rick Jacobs: And impactful can can you just help us understand this was not just a summer vacation where we got to sort of you know, be outside.
00:33:34.500 –> 00:33:38.730
Rick Jacobs: It also was a way for us to for some of us, the first time prayer.
00:33:39.090 –> 00:33:46.800
Rick Jacobs: Really spoke to us and we brought those experiences back, and I think our rabbis must have been unhappy when many of us came in and said.
00:33:47.100 –> 00:33:58.020
Rick Jacobs: This is not what we want, we need, we need the music and the spirit and the creativity, we also need to go outside and you know smell the trees and the beauty of nature.
00:33:58.320 –> 00:34:10.680
Rick Jacobs: But I do believe that this experience, including there’s one comment from a colleague who said that Dr Marcus your mentor and the mentor of all of us who love Jewish life in America.
00:34:11. 160 –> 00:34:31.080
Rick Jacobs: said that the summer camps redeemed reform Judaism from itself, I don’t know if that’s an exact quote there was put in the chat just speak to the impact and again, not just in reform, but in conservative and an Orthodox and in design this camps, how did they reshape how we live as Jews.
00:34:32.160 –> 00:34:38.130
Gary P. Zola: i’m going to do that, I just want to make sure that we took down did I take down the the images okay.
00:34:38.520 –> 00:34:40.110
Rick Jacobs: Yes, thank you.
00:34:40.500 –> 00:34:50.460
Gary P. Zola: My pleasure, so I I think you’re you’re absolutely right that we could touch upon a series of individual.
00:34:51.540 –> 00:35:03.210
Gary P. Zola: impacts that that the camping movement has had on our North American Community and it’s, not just in liberal Judaism, but really across the board, because the hasidim.
00:35:03. 540 –> 00:35:21.990
Gary P. Zola: That the hasidic courts have their own caps and and also the reconstructions movement has started its camping and so and and that and, of course, so let’s just begin to list we started with debbie Friedman debbie Friedman.
00:35:23.670 –> 00:35:34.470
Gary P. Zola: You know, it was really marks i’m not going to say she was the very first but growing out of and people, by the way, are studying this now.
00:35:35.010 –> 00:35:52.830
Gary P. Zola: Meaning music colleges growing out of the introduction of folk music into the camping me, you know, seeing out of that grows at what you might call Jewish folk music and that introduces a new liturgical tunes.
00:35:53.370 –> 00:36:14.490
Gary P. Zola: That that include not just Hebrew but also English words and those words will be carried that music will be carried back to the Community during the regular part of the year, and that has its impact that’s number one number two is the whole topic of education.
00:36:16.320 –> 00:36:28.650
Gary P. Zola: The formality of education, which was borrowed from the public school system into the Jewish Sunday schools and the afternoon schools suddenly the.
00:36:29.220 –> 00:36:46.350
Gary P. Zola: In formality of education, the whole notion of experiential education is translated into the educational experiences back home be, in other words, why, why do we have to sit at desks it during Sunday school or in the afternoon, schools, why can’t we.
00:36:48.570 –> 00:36:55.320
Gary P. Zola: You know, try to recreate the kinds of experiences we had at Camp number three is liturgy itself.
00:36:56.940 –> 00:37:07.170
Gary P. Zola: You know, as, as you know, camps, often in the early days issued going to the Union prayer book or to prayer books and.
00:37:07.590 –> 00:37:24.060
Gary P. Zola: You would pick out four or five of the main prayers and then cabins would literally write their own original prayers and prayers became very personal and this just built on on the idea that unless prayer is meaningful it’s not prayerful and so.
00:37:25.350 –> 00:37:30.510
Gary P. Zola: The whole notion of liturgy and transformation of liturgy begins to impact.
00:37:31.140 –> 00:37:50.070
Gary P. Zola: The world, and even this, I want to stress that we may not be able to go into it in depth, but it’s, not just within the reform or in the liberal movement to it has its impact beyond that and, finally, the last division, I would mention is what you talked about rabbi Jacobs, and that is.
00:37:51.930 –> 00:37:58.350
Gary P. Zola: The in formality of Camp itself affects the whole atmosphere.
00:37:59.790 –> 00:38:15.000
Gary P. Zola: When you’re at Camp you become rabbi rick and that, and you know, there was a time I I can prove this with documents in the 1920s in the 1930s, the.
00:38:15.930 –> 00:38:29.610
Gary P. Zola: The room the rabbi and the synagogue removed and austere and far away, was an inspiration to people, it was a creating an atmosphere that people move people.
00:38:30.600 –> 00:38:55.590
Gary P. Zola: After camping movement began to have its effect on us a much more of an informal atmosphere in general begins to take over the synagogue and and that too is the transformational it has insinuated camping has insinuated itself through the generations, finally, because.
00:38:57.480 –> 00:39:13.260
Gary P. Zola: As 16 1718 year old people they go off to college and before you know it 567 years later they’re married they have children, they begin to come into the synagogue and assume young leadership roles and what is it, they call upon.
00:39:14.400 –> 00:39:32.940
Gary P. Zola: To say how are we going to get people of my age back into the synagogue and keep them active while they call upon their most positive Jewish experience, which was their camping experience, all of these things have completely transformed Jewish life in America.
00:39:34.050 –> 00:39:42. 510
Rick Jacobs: Beautiful beautiful I love that we also have this notion that’s in the chat a number of questions about social justice.
00:39:43.020 –> 00:39:53.010
Rick Jacobs: cutting edge issues that we’re facing as a society like in the 60s and 70s were those reflected in camp, and the answer is, of course, I remember when I was a camper.
00:39:53.370 –> 00:40:08.190
Rick Jacobs: We were told that one afternoon CESAR Chavez, the head of the Farmworkers was coming to camp and I said to my counselor that is so cool I didn’t know CESAR Chavez was Jewish my counselor said Jacobs you’re an idiot.
00:40:08.820 –> 00:40:21.990
Rick Jacobs: Not Jewish, but he has something very Jewish to teach us, and that was about having justice be in everything that we do, and in particular the way that workers are treated.
00:40:22.500 –> 00:40:38.700
Rick Jacobs: So I just think you know how does camp in many ways, help us across all of these different areas address very challenging issues in society, but camp actually found a way probably more easily and, naturally, to address some of these is.
00:40:38.700 –> 00:40:40.020
Rick Jacobs: That reflected across.
00:40:40.290 –> 00:40:57.810
Gary P. Zola: Why you’re touching on something very important at first of all you’re right there were very often major personalities who for some reason, new a rabbi or for some reason was was willing to come to camp, but you mentioned CESAR Chavez, I remember when I was a camper.
00:40:59.640 –> 00:41:07.200
Gary P. Zola: There was the whole issue of what kinds of grapes, we were going to be eating at Camp so, in other words, it goes beyond just.
00:41:07.650 –> 00:41:14.970
Gary P. Zola: That an important person like led Zeppelin who and, by the way, le zell did come to camps various camps during the course of his life and.
00:41:15.540 –> 00:41:25.770
Gary P. Zola: It was also you know how social action was played out in the camps, but here’s something very important that I discovered when we were writing the book and reformed Jewish camping.
00:41:26.490 –> 00:41:32.250
Gary P. Zola: You know, in the 50s and in the 40s not every one in the reform movement was a Zionist.
00:41:33.180 –> 00:41:47.730
Gary P. Zola: And what what we learned in researching the programs of the early reform camps is that the camps were able to bypass that Zionism in the camps was.
00:41:48.570 –> 00:41:58.140
Gary P. Zola: And, and then, of course, of the young state of Israel was a very easily done and and that’s another, in other words the things that that.
00:41:59.040 –> 00:42:12.270
Gary P. Zola: are young and are free don’t necessarily have to carry on the issues you know synagogues and their rabbis they had their approaches to Zionism but the camps were new and so.
00:42:15.240 –> 00:42:25.290
Gary P. Zola: Introducing the young people to the State of Israel, the fledgling state of Israel, the camps played a very important role in that, and then, as you know, before too long.
00:42:25.950 –> 00:42:36.630
Gary P. Zola: In the 50s already you begin to have trips to Israel and nifty and Israel, and then you have the the the program of actually hold where we bring.
00:42:37.140 –> 00:42:48.360
Gary P. Zola: Israelis to the camp and and then, there have been programs, of course, where Americans go to Israel and so forth, so all of this you’re right is is part of the social.
00:42:49.890 –> 00:42:54.030
Gary P. Zola: Part of that social action realm of the camps.
00:42:54.690 –> 00:43:03.540
Rick Jacobs: Ah, I just want one note about the surely theme, the Jewish emissaries one of my very honored roles as I serve on the board of the Jewish agency.
00:43:03.990 –> 00:43:13.500
Rick Jacobs: for Israel, and we have currently 300 she came in our camps there about 1300 I believe spread out it camps all over North America.
00:43:13.920 –> 00:43:30. 330
Rick Jacobs: And amazingly I remember that time Sharansky said rick you should say thank you more that we send you these remarkable young people I said I can’t Thank you enough they they bring a love of Israel implanted with in our youth powerfully I said, but not time, you should thank me.
00:43:31.170 –> 00:43:39.660
Rick Jacobs: He said why am I thinking you you you accept the gift from us, I said no, because maybe they’re sleeping have their first positive experience.
00:43:40.050 –> 00:43:47.340
Rick Jacobs: In prayer and in shabbat and into Judaism that they did not know, and many of them go back to Israel.
00:43:47.730 –> 00:43:55.050
Rick Jacobs: And found their own congregations and bring the freedom and the creativity that they experienced at Camp.
00:43:55.440 –> 00:44:01.200
Rick Jacobs: So I think the show the theme and the mutual strengthening of our communities is something very powerful you know.
00:44:01.440 –> 00:44:10.980
Rick Jacobs: In light of all of the anti semitism that we so painfully or seeing there’s a question in the in the chat, particularly for you our historian.
00:44:11.370 –> 00:44:20.850
Rick Jacobs: Dr Zola question is was part of the flourishing of American Jewish summer camps or reaction to not being welcomed.
00:44:21.240 –> 00:44:34.380
Rick Jacobs: At Gentile camps, was it really also that we wanted, perhaps to go to other types of institutions and they were close to us like maybe some of the country clubs and other institutions, how much did that.
00:44:34.650 –> 00:44:41.610
Rick Jacobs: factor into the growth and flourishing of this wonderful movement that we’re celebrating today well.
00:44:41.670 –> 00:44:50.400
Gary P. Zola: You know I don’t want to say that it had no role, but you know, to tell you the truth, I I you know, I think that it probably.
00:44:51.570 –> 00:44:55.200
Gary P. Zola: was really not not so prominent.
00:44:56.460 –> 00:45:04.650
Gary P. Zola: Because the the the the camps that Jews went to in the in the early part of the 20th century.
00:45:05.790 –> 00:45:09.210
Gary P. Zola: They were often owned by Jews.
00:45:10.380 –> 00:45:21.060
Gary P. Zola: They These are people who you know, sometimes, for example, these the camps were initiated for the purpose of helping the Jewish community or helping Jewish citizens.
00:45:22.350 –> 00:45:30.990
Gary P. Zola: And, and there was also the comfort level many times, people who would go away to you know arts camps or to tennis cancer to sports camps.
00:45:32.190 –> 00:45:45.030
Gary P. Zola: just wanted to be with their own community, so my studies don’t show you know that that was a primary factor.
00:45:46.500 –> 00:46:11. 430
Gary P. Zola: So no I don’t see that, but one thing I will say is, of course, there was early on a big emphasis in many of the camps on American ization and and and and that was very important camps wanted to fake people, not only as Jews, but to show how judah ISM and American ISM are perfectly compatible.
00:46:13.080 –> 00:46:14.910
Gary P. Zola: So yes, that did play around.
00:46:16.050 –> 00:46:28.440
Rick Jacobs: So there’s a question about gender division in some of the summer camps, you know was you know boys camp and girls camp separate camps and even within the one camp separate activities.
00:46:29.310 –> 00:46:44.880
Rick Jacobs: Obviously I would not probably have seen that so much in some of the socialist camps or we’re trying to create a more egalitarian certainly within the non orthodox but what sort of the landscape of the changes and the experiences of the gender segregation well.
00:46:44. 910 –> 00:46:57.030
Gary P. Zola: Yes, they’re they’re both of that both of those phenomena did occur, I think, have you noticed camp sense when originally in its early years had.
00:46:57.540 –> 00:47:09.180
Gary P. Zola: camp for girls and a camp for boys on the same property and you did have some camps that that had that they they were in the same if you will, on the same property, but in different sections.
00:47:09.510 –> 00:47:16.470
Gary P. Zola: And then that eventually evolved into you know the girls camp in the boys camp girls cabins and the boys cabins and so forth.
00:47:17.850 –> 00:47:21.720
Gary P. Zola: So yes, both both existed and.
00:47:23.640 –> 00:47:30.150
Gary P. Zola: Then there were there were also some camps that were just for boys early on and and just for girls.
00:47:32.190 –> 00:47:36.180
Gary P. Zola: And then eventually you know they they might partner up but.
00:47:37.290 –> 00:47:45.210
Gary P. Zola: No all of that did exist, but I would say that, from the 1930s 40s on they would be what we would call colored camps.
00:47:46.050 –> 00:47:48.180
Rick Jacobs: beautiful and there’s a number of questions about.
00:47:49.230 –> 00:48:03.270
Rick Jacobs: Inclusion as a major focus today of camps racial diversity, was one of the questions asked and I would just say in terms of helping to reshape how we think about our Community, I know, in our reform movement.
00:48:03.900 –> 00:48:16.530
Rick Jacobs: We actually were able to welcome the first transgender camper That was really a real stretching of the entire Community, in terms of the parents and the camp staff.
00:48:16.920 –> 00:48:26.220
Rick Jacobs: And it actually preceded our movements, a formation of transgender inclusion in every part, so in that sense the camp was the.
00:48:26. 940 –> 00:48:34.590
Rick Jacobs: The harbinger of where the movement would go and it was an experiment that took place there we’re also seeing more diversity in terms of.
00:48:34.920 –> 00:48:43.980
Rick Jacobs: You know, Jews of color at Camp and you know to just celebrate the diversity and camp has an easier time, as you described in this beautiful historical anecdotes.
00:48:44.460 –> 00:48:52.800
Rick Jacobs: of being place where we could experiment, we could we could test some of those people with disabilities, these these are huge.
00:48:53.700 –> 00:49:02.610
Rick Jacobs: Parts now of contemporary camping and even does the sort of the specialty camp, you know the camp it’s about sports Jewish.
00:49:02.880 –> 00:49:11.040
Rick Jacobs: and sports Jewish and science and technology Jewish and arts that you know, to really also address the current.
00:49:11.490 –> 00:49:19. 860
Rick Jacobs: spiritual and actual marketplace people like more specialized things where they could grow their Jewish understand, but also some of the other.
00:49:20.190 –> 00:49:28.230
Rick Jacobs: Things that their children are embracing and learning from so we’re actually seeing, I think, a very fluid exciting.
00:49:28.860 –> 00:49:34.980
Rick Jacobs: Renewal reimagine ation and camps, not just doing it, the way they’ve done it for a century.
00:49:35.580 –> 00:49:46.050
Rick Jacobs: But charting new territory, do we see some things I know it’s not history until it’s yesterday, but just what do we see in terms of some of the more recent trends that you’ve been able to see and notice.
00:49:46.350 –> 00:49:49.800
Gary P. Zola: One thing following up on what you said rabbi is that.
00:49:51.780 –> 00:50:03.780
Gary P. Zola: The making our camps available when you were talking about, for example, some of the contemporary opening up and inclusive efforts, but the.
00:50:05.760 –> 00:50:15.090
Gary P. Zola: Making our camps available to those who are physically challenged people in wheelchairs, or have other physical disabilities.
00:50:16.230 –> 00:50:26.880
Gary P. Zola: parallels the awareness that was beginning to grow in American society when buildings and structures needed to.
00:50:28.020 –> 00:50:31.530
Gary P. Zola: By law needed to begin to make them make.
00:50:33.030 –> 00:50:47.370
Gary P. Zola: Various places more accessible to people who had disabilities and camps were one of the earliest places where this wasn’t making young people who, who had these disabilities.
00:50:47.850 –> 00:50:54.840
Gary P. Zola: giving them the opportunity to participate in camps this begins already 20 years ago, maybe even a little earlier than that.
00:50:56.490 –> 00:51:09.240
Gary P. Zola: And I also want to add something this might be, as what my my kids were referred to as as a random because it’s it’s it’s it’s not connected to the question you were just asking me but I i’d like to get it in that.
00:51:09.930 –> 00:51:28.140
Gary P. Zola: I, I know that in our liberal camps, both in the conservative and in the reform movement I can’t speak more broadly than that I, but we should I point out that the refugee rabbis from Germany.
00:51:29.310 –> 00:51:38.880
Gary P. Zola: played a leading role in shaping the camping movements in the conservative and in the reform movement.
00:51:39.480 –> 00:51:48.330
Gary P. Zola: not exclusively, but a leading role, and I believe that the reason for that was that back when they were raised in Europe.
00:51:49.020 –> 00:51:55.890
Gary P. Zola: They were exposed to all sorts of youth organizations Zionist groups and and.
00:51:56.580 –> 00:52:06.570
Gary P. Zola: And that that experience these kinds of group activities and that enabled them to see the importance so back, for example on the west coast.
00:52:07.230 –> 00:52:18. 150
Gary P. Zola: rabbi Wolf and the camps connected to a rabbi Alfred wolf in the camps connected to the wilshire boulevard temple or rabbi wally kilter la hammer has Shalom.
00:52:19.890 –> 00:52:30.750
Gary P. Zola: That you can speak to the role they played in camping in the Midwest rabbi shulman rabbi large rabbi weiner.
00:52:32.220 –> 00:52:33.330
Gary P. Zola: These were all.
00:52:34.740 –> 00:52:50.730
Gary P. Zola: Immigrants either coming before the Holocaust as refugees or even some who came after the leading role that they played should not be forgotten, they shaped these camps in a significant way.
00:52:52.290 –> 00:52:54.420
Gary P. Zola: Loud loud as well.
00:52:55.350 –> 00:52:59.100
Rick Jacobs: Beautiful Thank you, thank you for that random it really it helped all of us.
00:52:59.880 –> 00:53:18.120
Rick Jacobs: I want to also just say as Jewish educators and rabbis in his people who care about the Jewish future we know, many things have been tried to inculcate more Jewish connection, particularly among the next generation and some of them are effective, whether it be religious school day schools.
00:53:19.320 –> 00:53:25.110
Rick Jacobs: youth groups, all those things we did a very serious study of our alumni.
00:53:25.740 –> 00:53:40.110
Rick Jacobs: And it turns out that immersive summer camp experiences, is the most impactful thing we can do to give a Jewish spark and Jewish skills and Jewish.
00:53:40.530 –> 00:53:54.930
Rick Jacobs: yearning to the next generation, we found the following 82% of our alumni participate actively in synagogue ahava or a minion 89% of our alumni.
00:53:55.440 –> 00:54:05.250
Rick Jacobs: give their children a Jewish education so again, we think of as a Jewish community, what are the places where we should invest in now here’s the hardest statistic.
00:54:05.790 –> 00:54:15.870
Rick Jacobs: You said, I think, accurately they’re probably about 80,000 kids at Jewish overnight camp, we in the reform them at 15 overnight camps, we have about 10,000.
00:54:16.530 –> 00:54:33.270
Rick Jacobs: campers and staff right now in camp, but the scary thing is that, as impactful as it is only 10% of the young people who are eligible to go to Jewish overnight camp.
00:54:33.900 –> 00:54:46.530
Rick Jacobs: experiencing that now again, some of it is not just financial we I think all the camps do a lot of work around scholarships, there are a lot of other competing types of camps and experiences.
00:54:46.980 –> 00:54:57.810
Rick Jacobs: But if we know this experience is so unbelievably impactful wouldn’t we want to create a Jewish knew that had the opportunity for every single.
00:54:58.140 –> 00:55:06.300
Rick Jacobs: Jewish young person to experience overnight camp that might be the most effective thing we could do as a Jewish community.
00:55:06.870 –> 00:55:13.050
Rick Jacobs: And their number of questions in terms of inculcating a love for Israel left for the Hebrew language, the Yiddish language.
00:55:13.380 –> 00:55:25.140
Rick Jacobs: These are accomplished so powerfully in our overnight camps, but I think our only sadness and a day of celebrating all of this amazing impact.
00:55:25.500 –> 00:55:36.600
Rick Jacobs: Is that it’s still a fairly narrow slice of our Community and again to even you know share out with the many people on the webinar today, how do we advocate for more.
00:55:37.170 –> 00:55:43.920
Rick Jacobs: more opportunities more again, can we create more camps, the answer is yes we’ve added two hours.
00:55:44.610 –> 00:55:57.510
Rick Jacobs: I i’m sure the history with tell us about the expansion of the wide camping network, but the power is clear, no demographer no Jewish educational you know.
00:55:58.050 –> 00:56:07.980
Rick Jacobs: Professional would deny that and can we get more again the people who’ve gone have been impacted and carry that everywhere in Jewish life.
00:56:08.880 –> 00:56:18.540
Rick Jacobs: But the question is, can we do more and I think, maybe that’s you know, one of our last questions to just kind of clothes on and specifically thinking about.
00:56:18.960 –> 00:56:34.080
Rick Jacobs: This summer, with coven you know, having to test our campers and know people say well aren’t everyone who walks into camp this summer vaccinated with answers we’ve got kids Come on, we can have you know eight year olds are not being vaccinated so we have created as have.
00:56:34.410 –> 00:56:48.810
Rick Jacobs: All of the camps, the GCC camps, the Wer ma the ncs while the Orthodox kim’s we’ve created in the private camp a safe way to be at Camp we’ve adapted to something that’s been so unbelievably devastating but we’ve done it.
00:56:49.200 –> 00:56:58.470
Rick Jacobs: So kind of like a looking forward question my beloved colleague, you know you are shaped by your experiences that is really I was shaped.
00:56:59.070 –> 00:57:13.230
Rick Jacobs: we’re just going to know that 500 plus people on the in the chat have said, their own stories of being impacted, we are not doubting that but what what’s what’s ahead if you can, or what would you want to be ahead for us.
00:57:13.560 –> 00:57:30.750
Gary P. Zola: I want I I i’ll i’ll try my best and i’d love to hear your final thoughts on that as well, but you know the one another important factor that you, you know you you you didn’t yet mentioned, but I know is on your mind is that the whole.
00:57:31.800 –> 00:57:47.760
Gary P. Zola: panoply of Jewish leadership has been transformed by camping This is where mess, a significant numbers of future rabbis cantor’s Jewish educators leaders of Jewish communities are.
00:57:48.690 –> 00:58:04.650
Gary P. Zola: Ever since the post World War Two period the camping movement has produced that so it’s, not only is it these people that we’re talking about but it’s also leading the future i’ll tell you what my answer would be.
00:58:05.670 –> 00:58:09.030
Gary P. Zola: I think when you look at the early.
00:58:10.200 –> 00:58:18.000
Gary P. Zola: pioneers of educational camping i’m just going to confine myself to people like tenderly people like school men people.
00:58:19.170 –> 00:58:35.580
Gary P. Zola: Of the of the of the of that ilk these people were fanatics about their mission they believed deeply in their mission with a passion and they acted on it, and I think.
00:58:35.940 –> 00:58:44.100
Gary P. Zola: That That is really what we need to do we need to those of us who are today the beneficiaries.
00:58:45.000 –> 00:58:54.270
Gary P. Zola: Of the camping movement, we need to continue to pay it forward with more bigger and more commitment I think we all felt rab I didn’t wait.
00:58:54.600 –> 00:59:05.520
Gary P. Zola: What what we lost last summer in so many ways we felt we realized what we lost, and now that we were we we’ve got the privilege of having a second chance.
00:59:06.870 –> 00:59:18.720
Gary P. Zola: We, we have to, we have to do more, thank God, we like you said, we have many, many people who are investing in camping and making it possible for young people to go.
00:59:19.980 –> 00:59:25.860
Gary P. Zola: We have a foundation for Jewish camping which is doing good work for all of our camps and that needs to be mentioned.
00:59:27.060 –> 00:59:31.710
Gary P. Zola: a wonderful innovation that’s I think now 20 or 25 years old.
00:59:32.730 –> 00:59:38.520
Gary P. Zola: But we have to do more, we have to expand we just as we want to send our young people to.
00:59:39.000 –> 00:59:47.280
Gary P. Zola: To spend time in Israel, we need to send more and more to camping it’s going to take the work of our rabbis the work of our leaders of organizations.
00:59:47.700 –> 01:00:00.930
Gary P. Zola: that there should be competitions between all of our of our communities to see who can send the most to camp and get to a point where we have to open more camps that would be my wish that but i’d love to hear you finished.
01:00:01.530 –> 01:00:12.570
Rick Jacobs: Well it’s beautiful I say amen to all of your hopes for the Jewish future and for the camping having a central role in that I would just say I know we’re going to conclude in a moment.
01:00:13.290 –> 01:00:26.970
Rick Jacobs: Just to say amen to the foundation for Jewish camp, which has professionalize brought resources to all of our Jewish camps, as has J camp one at with Harold grin spoons phenomenal work we’ve raised the bar.
01:00:27.240 –> 01:00:31.020
Rick Jacobs: The the campaign that was done sort of you know, on the fly.
01:00:31.230 –> 01:00:42.660
Rick Jacobs: is now a deeply professionalized very thoughtful resources created you know tisha Bob is going to be next week we’ve got beautiful resources being created and shared across the whole system.
01:00:42.900 –> 01:00:56.010
Rick Jacobs: We are doing things to really think more systemically more strategically, but I will just end by saying it’s about the magic it’s about the spark it’s about the joy and the delight and being Jewish.
01:00:56.730 –> 01:01:07.800
Rick Jacobs: And the creating of a real Community for those weeks we experienced something so unbelievably powerful that many of us have said, we can’t imagine our lives without it.
01:01:08.040 –> 01:01:19.650
Rick Jacobs: Let it grow and prosper, let it deepen and expand and let each of the souls at Camp and, by the way, it’s not just the campers it’s also the staff, they are worth investing in.
01:01:20.310 –> 01:01:29.430
Rick Jacobs: We thank all of you i’m going to turn it over to our Goldstein from the museum, for his great work and bringing us together Thank you so much ra please.
01:01:30.660 –> 01:01:32.280
Ari Goldstein: And wrap rabbi.
01:01:33.720 –> 01:01:41.910
Ari Goldstein: Thank you rick Thank you Gary Thank you to all of you for tuning in and there’s a lot more to this discussion, but i’m really grateful that we were able to.
01:01:42.510 –> 01:01:56.970
Ari Goldstein: present a little bit of it today sort of Jewish summer campaign, one on one we did record today’s discussion and we’ll send a link to everyone, via email tomorrow, along with some suggested resources on the topic, including gary’s a dodgy but also.
01:01:57.420 –> 01:02:05.550
Ari Goldstein: Hebrew infusion a book that just came out and there’s a bunch of other resources which will collect and share so as well as some highlights of.
01:02:05.820 –> 01:02:12.570
Ari Goldstein: Images of Jewish summer camps from our collection here at the museum Jewish heritage and links to explore the American Jewish archive collection.
01:02:13.050 –> 01:02:21.570
Ari Goldstein: I must mention that everything we do here at the museum is made possible through the generous support, so thank you to those of you here who are supporters and if you’re not we hope you’ll consider it.
01:02:21.990 –> 01:02:31.050
Ari Goldstein: Many Jewish summer camps are nonprofits made possible through donor support as well, so if you if you feel so compelled, please support the the summer camp that means something to you and your community.
01:02:32.280 –> 01:02:39.210
Ari Goldstein: We wish everyone a terrific summer a great time at Camp if you were kids or grandkids are there now and we thank you for tuning in.
01:02:41.010 –> 01:02:41.550
Rick Jacobs: Thank you.
01:02:42.720 –> 01:02:43.380
Gary P. Zola: Take care.
01:02:44.190 –> 01:02:44.550
Summer Camps Program | Types Of Camps
SAYIT J1 and our Camp sponsor in the USA, Camp America, work with over 1000 summer camps around America. There are several types of summer camps you could be hired into on the Camp USA program, including:
- Traditional Summer Camps
- Religious Summer Camps
- Summer Camps for Adults or Children with Special Needs
- Summer Camps for Underprivileged Youth
- Girl Scout Summer Camps
- Single Gender Summer Camps
Private Summer Camps:
Private Camps are set up by families or companies to run as a business, so they make money by charging parents a fee for campers to attend. These camps usually have an extensive range of activities on offer including; Landsports, Watersports, Arts & Crafts, Outdoor Adventure, Performing Arts, Media and Music. They will also have the classic summer camp traditions such as; campfires, overnight camping, special events and off-camp trips. With so much going on, these camps are very busy – so be ready for a fun-filled summer!
Religious Summer Camps:
These camps emphasize the value of their respective faiths through traditional camp activities. The level of religious involvement varies from camp to camp, but staff and campers typically share similar ideologies. Religious Camps are typically smaller than traditional camps and are not nearly as common. Most are day camps in which campers do not live at camp.
We work with a large number of Christian camps, some are more faith focused than others and require a higher level of christian practice, as opposed to others that encourage values. Most Christian camps welcome staff from all walks of life and as long as you have an open mind and are respectful of the camp values, then it’s well worth opening your application up to these camps!
Camp America also works with hundreds of Jewish camps in the USA. Almost all Jewish camps that work with Camp America follow a ‘traditional’ Jewish programme (not religious or orthodox – although these camps are available as well) that offer Kosher meals and a Shabbat programme on Friday nights and Saturdays.
Summer Camps for Adults/ Children with Special Needs:
These smaller camps serve both children and adults who suffer from physical and/ or mental disabilities. These camps offer traditional camp activities while promoting independence in daily living skills. The goal of these camps is to increase communication skills, improve self-confidence and teach appropriate social interaction. Working at special needs camps can be very challenging but it can also be tremendously rewarding.
Summer Camps for Underprivileged or At-Risk Youth:
These summer camps serve children who come from inner-city, urban backgrounds and/ or low income families. The goal is to empower children to make positive life choices while offering access to a variety of activities in a fun, exciting, supportive environment. These summer camps may host campers with a history of behavioural problems or with economically challenged backgrounds and will inevitably have a lasting impact on the children they serve.
Girl Scout Summer Camps:
Girl Scout Camps are all about outdoor living with lots of hiking, waterfront, outdoor camping, nature walks and teambuilding activities. The girls are generally from the local area and sessions usually run from Monday to Friday, so it’s likely that you will have new campers each week. They will range in age from 5-17 and there’s a real family feel to these camps with everyone getting involved in group activities.
Campers will learn how to cook in the outdoors, so there’s lots of camp fires, toasted marshmallows, camp songs and stories under the stars. There is a fun tradition on most Girl Scout Camps, that the campers can’t know your real name! So you’ll be given a nickname when you arrive and you’ll be known by this name for the entire summer!
Single Gender Summer Camps:
Thiese are camps that cater for a Single Gender of campers – it’s as simple as that! Single Gender Camps will also fall under another Camp Type, so for example you could work at a boys-only Underprivileged Camp or an all-girls Private Camp – so this category applies to lots of different camps in the USA! Girls-only camps are not the same as Girl Scout Camps though – so make sure you check out the Girl Scout section too.
Getting Placed and Camp Life
Getting a placement is much easier the earlier you book. As well as that, you will have more choice of what camp you’ll be at for the summer if you book early. Life at summer camp varies depending on the camp you’ll be working at, so there’s no real way of describing what it’ll be like.
This is why we’re looking for applicants who have an open mind and are always ready for a new, exciting adventure. Camp is fun so get involved, take part in evening programs, let your guard down, be a team player and you will have the summer of your life.
Three Jewish summer camps will likely decide to delay this week
Thousands of parents and children have been asking the question for months, with increasing anxiety: Will the coronavirus cancel summer camp?
Three Jewish overnight camps, from the Conservative movement’s Ramah camps, are set to announce their decisions this week. Ramah in Wisconsin, Colorado’s Ramah in the Rockies and Ramah Darom in Georgia are scheduled to start camp in early to mid-June. Ramah in the Rockies is attended by a number of campers from Northern California.
By Friday, they all plan to say whether that will actually happen. And the answer is probably going to be no.
It’s premature, camp directors say, to set a policy for the whole summer. But due to the continuing risks of the coronavirus pandemic, and the corresponding social distancing measures designed to slow its spread, camp is likely to at least be postponed, if not canceled outright.
“There’s a very high likelihood that there won’t be camp early [in the summer] for those who open early,” said Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, director of the National Ramah Commission, which coordinates 10 camps.
“There’s a lot of risks associated with opening camp this summer, obviously, and every camp and every movement is going to have to make a decision as to whether the risks are smart,” he said.
Whether camps can open has been the subject of emotional debate and intense stress for parents and children for whom the prospect of a summer at camp has been a beacon in a dark time. Shut down and thousands of children miss out on a highlight of their year, one that studies show can be influential in the formation of long-term Jewish identities. But staying open means potentially contributing to the spread of a disease that has already killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
Camps are awaiting guidelines on summer camp from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that are due out this week. Then, camp directors said, they will need to see what state and local social distancing regulations will look like for the summer. Only after that will they be able to confer with their boards of directors and medical advisers before making a decision.
Ramah in Wisconsin, which has operated every summer for more than 70 years, is potentially facing its first shutdown ever, said Executive Director Jacob Cytryn. Each season, the camp serves 550 kids in third through 11th grade. It is scheduled to open June 16.
“The status quo right now in terms of governors’ stay-at-home orders in the Midwest, and the county situation up in the Northwoods [where the camp is located] would make it very difficult to open on time,” Cyrtryn said. “We remain hopeful and really want to figure out how to provide as much of a camp experience as we can.”
Cytryn will announce a decision on postponing by the end of the week. But, he said, “We’re not at a 50-50 coin flip. We’re far enough into this that we have a pretty good sense of the immediate decisions.”
(Full disclosure: I attended Ramah in Wisconsin as a camper while Cytryn was a counselor there.)
Ramah in the Rockies, which is scheduled to open June 9, is also facing state and local regulatory hurdles that would be difficult to surmount, said Executive Director Rabbi Eliav Bock. Bock also will announce a decision by the end of the week.
“At this moment, the regulations are such that there is no way that we could open based on what they are saying right now,” he said.
The camp, which was among the first nonprofits to receive a federal grant shoring up funding, will issue a final decision on the entire summer by June 1.
“Do we think that we, Ramah in the Rockies, can operate a community that provides for the safety of our campers and staff?” he asked. “If the answer is yes, then we go down one road. If the answer is no, we go down a different road.”
Ramah Darom’s director, Geoffrey Menkowitz, referred questions to Cohen.
Several other Ramah camps, including those in New York and Massachusetts, are set to open their summer sessions in late June. Their websites promise decisions about whether to open between mid-May and June 1.
The Ramah camps are among the largest and most established Jewish camps in the United States, but they are far from the only ones grappling with the question of whether to operate this summer. The Union for Reform Judaism operates 16 camps across the country, and there are also dozens of Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Zionist and nonaffiliated Jewish camps. Northern California is home to several camps: Camp Tawonga, URJ Camp Newman, Camp Ramah Galim, Eden Village West, JCC Maccabi Sports Camp and Camp Be’chol Lashon.
Even if camps are able to operate this year at all, they will confront a whole different set of questions. Cytryn listed a few: Will the camp have sufficient medical staff? Can it purchase enough cleaning supplies? What about flour? Will it be able to bring in the traditional contingent of Israeli emissaries or hire European kitchen workers?
“We’re also imagining a world where we can’t run camp at our camp, but maybe we can do other in-person activities in our major cities,” he said. “We’re also holding open the possibility that camp as we know it, with the numbers we know, can’t happen.”
Both Cytryn and Bock expect their camps to weather the year financially, even if they can’t operate this summer. Both have committed to refunding tuition if camp is canceled. And both said their minds are on their campers, who will be missing even more time with their peers.
“Who are the teenagers this year who might be missing out on that experience if we don’t open?” Bock said. “That’s what makes me most sad.”
90,000 United States of America and the Holocaust: Why Auschwitz (German – Auschwitz) was not bombed
In the spring of 1944, the Allies received more accurate information about the massacre by gas poisoning carried out at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. In just a few days, approximately 10,000 people were killed in the gas chambers of this camp. In desperation, Jewish organizations made various proposals to stop the extermination process and save the remaining European Jews.Some Jewish leaders called for the bombing of the gas chambers of Auschwitz, others opposed it. Like some leaders of the Allied Powers, both sides feared a large number of casualties or that German propaganda could use the bombing of prisoners in the camps for their own purposes. Nobody was sure about the result.
Even after the Anglo-American Air Force developed a plan to defeat targets in Silesia (the area where the Auschwitz complex was located) in July 1944, the American authorities decided not to bomb Auschwitz.American officials explained this decision based in part on a technical point of view and arguing that their aircraft could not bomb these targets with the required accuracy, as well as a strategic argument that the Allies had pledged to bomb only military targets to ensure victory as soon as possible. in the war.
The Allied bombing of Auschwitz-Birkenau in mid-July 1944 would still not have saved the approximately 310,000 Hungarian Jews who were killed by the Germans upon arrival at the extermination camp between May 15 and July 11, 1944.In addition, 51,117 inmates (31,406 of them women and children) were housed in the barracks located near the gas chambers in Birkenau.
In the summer and fall of 1944, the World Jewish Congress and the Refugee Committee sent demands to the US War Department to bomb Auschwitz. The ministry refused to comply with these requirements. On August 14, John J. McCloy, US Assistant Secretary of Defense, said that “such an operation could only have been carried out with the diversionary support of a significant number of air forces … so questionable efficiency that it could not serve as a basis for the use of our resources. “Yet within a week, the US Air Force carried out a heavy bombardment of the I.G. Farben, located near the Auschwitz III camp – less than five miles from the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
For the prisoners in the Auschwitz complex, the bombs falling nearby meant hope. One of the prisoner camp survivors later recalled: “We were no longer afraid of death, at least not the wrong death.Each bomb that went off filled us with joy and gave us new faith in life. ”
In the decades that followed, the decision of the Allied States not to bomb the gas chambers and railways leading to Auschwitz-Birkenau was a source of sometimes fierce debate. that such an action, although it could have resulted in the death of a number of prisoners, might have slowed down the execution of punitive operations and might have ultimately saved lives.
BCI Jewish Camp in America – JEvents Petersburg
Move aside the curtain and look through the window with one eye. In a large, spacious room with a stage and foil-hung windows, events unfamiliar to the ordinary human eye take place: the intricacies of hands, convulsive movements, rolling on the floor, chaotic running in a circle, waving a white cloth to the accompaniment, which can hardly be called music – rather, a set of sounds. A sophisticated viewer will think that this is contact improvisation, but no – this is how an elderly lady, Yosefa, an Israeli woman who has lived for 20 years in the States with a dance past not just anywhere, but in the Bat Sheva collective itself, is holding a workshop.We, 15 people from the USA, Canada, Russia and Israel, in order to somehow join the talent and genius of Yosefa, call ourselves nothing but “Bat Sheva Junior”.
Here is Misha, who at the age of 5 immigrated from Ukraine to the United States, and this is Ethan, whose ancestors fled from Russia during the revolution, but Polleta is half Syrian, half Jewish. And we all have one thing in common – we came to the Jewish camp BCI (Brandeis Collegiate Institute), which is an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, but we are all familiar from childhood with the motives of “Lech Dodi”, “Shalom Aleichem” and “Ose Shalom” …
At the border, the inspector asks me “Camp? And how old are you? “,” 22 “, – I answer,” but we, the Jews, are so accepted. ” I get the coveted stamp and hit the road to the unknown.
The BCI camp was established in the 40s of the 20th century on the campus of the American Jewish University, a conservative Jewish university in the United States. Since then, 50 young people with Jewish roots from all over the world come here every year, and the schedule has not changed for several decades.
The camp lasts about a month, and you can visit it only once in a lifetime, if you have at least some Jewish roots. In interviews, they usually ask how you are connected with the Jewish communities and organizations in your city. They don’t ask anything about the cross ?
It would seem that what can unite me, a native of the post-Soviet space, with my roommate Elana, a native of Las Vegas, who orders herself from Amazon socks because there are no clean ones left, and she is too lazy to wash? We are both looking in ourselves for what the Americans call “spirituality” or “spirituality” – some kind of inner substance, not entirely religious, not entirely secular, but each has his own.
No matter how sectarian the above may sound, the BCI camp opens up a completely different approach to Judaism – here prayers alternate with verses, Shabbat is accompanied by musical instruments, and the local rabbi walks in flip flops. Everything that seems mundane to our eye, looking at Jewry through the prism of Russian reality, is here turned upside down. Men and women pray together, everyone dresses in white on Shabbat, and girls can wear a tallit or kippah. BCI stands for “radical acceptance” – the complete acceptance of people regardless of their gender, race and orientation.This is expressed in an individual approach to each participant: joint screenings of freshly released episodes of popular TV series are organized, any initiatives are supported, and even in the kitchen they prepare food on a special order (I’m talking about nuggets, not about bacon).
The American Jewish University campus is a private territory of more than a thousand (!) Hectares with mountains, cows, avocado plantations, and also rabbits running around cacti. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof.
Every morning begins with an activity of your choice: it can be prayer or meditation, painting on stones or a mini-performance.It’s different every time, I won’t spoil it. After breakfast, everyone begins to benefit the community: you can weed in your local vegetable garden, collect zucchini, build an aquaponics farm, or help a Semi-lumberjack in the workshop, for whom a tree is a lifetime and an opportunity to be in the moment. Especially lazy people gather indoors and scan old photographs of former campers. Everyone has their own useful occupation.
After socially useful deeds, you can also recharge with spiritual food – there is always a place for Jewish wisdom in BCI – beit midrash with many options and lecturers.Sometimes they come to BCI from different states on purpose to initiate participants in their own wisdom.
The most interesting thing begins in the afternoon – everyone disperses to their workshops, which they chose at the beginning of the camp. I had a dance one. No, we did not walk “cha-cha-cha” and did not draw a pretzel under the hava nagila, holding hands together. Our teacher Yosefa always asked us to “create” – to close our eyes and surrender to the movements. It turned out such a kind of therapy – at the end, everyone created their own dance, which came from within.Restless Yosefa and a couple of cheese sandwiches kept our creative crisis at the helm.
Every year at BCI workshops change – there is 3d design, puppet theater, music, poetry, video and various others. They do not focus on acquiring and developing new skills, but on the inner artist. At BCI, he goes out and gradually gets to know his surroundings with the help of teachers and the owner himself.
At the end of the camp, each workshop presents its report for showing to the general public, and each studio tries to make a real performance out of a mini-concert – exhibitions alternate with dancing, and a film screening with poetry reading.
Of course, this is only a small part of a long journey of 28 days – in the evening music groups and a visiting theater came, we spent one night in tents by the fire, in the middle of the camp we were taken to Los Angeles, where we walked and skated … And all this surrounded by pleasant and open people, ready for sincere and difficult conversations. There was a place for relaxation – before dinner you can dance Jewish dances, sing Jewish songs, and Shabbats are held outdoors on the top of a hill with a gorgeous view of the sunset.
This situation left no one indifferent. And now we are all standing on the stage in black, the audience applauds us, tears welling up in our eyes, we run to hug Yosef. Our BCI 2016 has come to an end.
PS. I sincerely do not want to reveal all the secrets, so I hid a couple of points in the article. If you are 18-27 years old, you can register for the summer camp on this website bci.aju.edu/ (registration usually starts in the fall in October-November).It is important to know that the organizers help with obtaining an American visa and pay in full for the ticket in both directions. Any questions you can ask me personally here vk.com/anitashafran
In the past she worked as the director of the Jewish student organization “Hillel” in Saratov, now lives in St. Petersburg, works as a PR and event manager, plays the ukulele, enjoys coaching and loves to eat well.
Hebrew Camp BCI America
Jewish Camps – JEvents Moscow
City Camp Yom Fest from EA
“ Sokhnut ”
Yom Fest – city festivals for participants from Moscow, held at the sites of Jewish schools and in the office of EA “Sokhnut”.The program includes games, languages, creativity.
Details and registration by phone: 8 (925) 410-56-45
Day camp in the ERCC “Zhukovka” from the children’s center Malka
Day camp in Zhukovka – in June the children’s center opens a summer camp. The camp will run for 4 weeks, and each of them will have its own theme: Sports; Art; The science; Foreign languages.
Details and registration by phone: +7 (495) 407-08-35
School camps near Moscow from EA “Sokhnut”
Kaits Fest – annual summer camps in the Moscow region for participants from 6 to 17 years old.The program includes Jewish and Israeli culture, sports, creativity, play and theatrical events. Comfortable boarding house not far from the city, professional team of madrichs, doctor, psychologist, security.
Additional information: +7 (495) 739-69-56
Jewish Children’s Camp “ J-Camp ”
J-Camp – entertaining and educational Jewish children’s camp: a wonderful boarding house, sports, swimming pool and creative workshops.The goal of the project is to strengthen the Jewish identity of the participants, to provide a high-quality and thoughtful platform for entertainment and development. The J-Camp project is an initiative of the Genesis Foundation, implemented in partnership with a team of professionals from the CIS countries, Israel and the United States. The program is built in accordance with the principles of non-formal education and humanistic pedagogy, contributes to the development of the creative potential of the participants, teaches team interaction.
Website of the organizer: j-camp.ru
+7 (905) 544-11-01
+7 (905) 544-11-02
For calls from 12:00 to 20:00
Summer Regional Camp
“ Tsofim – Tzameret ”
Tsofim-Tzameret – an international scout camp takes place every August in the Moscow region.Age of participants: 10-17 years old. Camp “Tsofim-Tzameret”: nature and active rest; Israeli atmosphere; acquaintance with the achievements and innovations of Israel; design studios by interests; creativity and self-expression; scout buildings; field kitchen; overnight in tents.
Additional information: +7 (916) 866-80-41 or www.facebook.com/tzameretmsk
Summer Camps from Netzer
Netzer is an international youth movement.
“ 12/13 ” from the Russian Jewish Congress
Trip for the participants of the educational on line project “ 12/13 ”
Project 12/13 – Lectures with the best teachers of Russian and Israeli universities, watching and discussing films, exciting master classes, and everything will end with a bright party.
Age of participants: 10-15 years old.
Registration by mail: [email protected]
Traditional Jewish Camp “Gan Yisroel”
Gan Yisroel is part of the largest and constantly growing network of children’s camps. Shifts are held separately for boys and girls. A summer camp designed to enrich the lives of children from Jewish families; A creative approach to children’s leisure, the purpose of which is not only to entertain the child, but also to awaken his interest in Jewish culture.
Age of participants: 7-14 years old.
Additional information: +7 (967) 117-07-70
Traditional Jewish Camp
“ Etz – Chaim ”
Etz-Khaim – rest for your children in the town of Kolomna near Moscow. The program is based on the programs of the US camps. Shifts are held separately for boys and girls. Sports, swimming, excursions, intellectual competitions, communication with counselors from America and Canada, learning English with native speakers, a Jewish atmosphere.Five kosher meals a day, stay in renovated buildings, fenced, guarded territory.
Age of participants: 6-17 years old.
Details and registration by phone: +7 (495) 370-00-51; +7 (926) 977-33-24
WhatApp: +7 (916) 615-55-12; Mail: [email protected]
Traditional Jewish Camp “Enerjew | Ganisrael “in Anapa
Enerjew | Ganisrael is a Jewish summer at sea.Location: Anapa, Malachite recreation center: malahit-pansionat.ru. Excursions and hikes. Swimming in the sea and in the pool with a lifeguard. Participants from fifty cities and old friends.
Age of participants: 12-17 years old.
Registration online: clck.ru/FENWC
Hebrew Camp “Adain Lo” in St. Petersburg
Adain Lo – located in a pine forest on the shores of the Gulf of Finland.The camps are held with respect for Jewish tradition, but are not religious. For each camp, a team of teachers and presenters develops a unique educational, game and recreational program.
Jewish camp “Akhshav” in Kazan
Akhshav – children’s festival for children from 10 to 16 years old. Location: Hotel Regina in the town of Bolgar.
Details and registration by phone: +7 (986) 900-11-22; vk.com / ahshav
International Jewish Camp
from EA “Sokhnut” in Bulgaria “ Letniy Mix ”
Letniy Mix – International camp at sea for participants from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, the Baltic States and Israel. The camp is located 10 minutes from the sea. Swimming pool, sports, Jewish traditions and culture, activities (quests, detectives, games, excursions), 4 meals a day kosher-style.
Additional information: +7 (495) 739-69-56
International Jewish Camp EA “Sokhnut” in Israel
“ Makom.IL ”
Makom.IL – 10 unforgettable summer days that unite Russian-speaking teenagers 13-17 years old from Israel and the CIS countries. Development of leadership and creativity, thematic interest groups. Acquaintance with Jewish and Israeli history, culture and tradition, entertainment, travel around the country.Guarded boarding house, swimming pool, 4 meals a day, well-coordinated team of experienced madrichs.
International Jewish Camp in Hungary Sarvas
Sarvash is a unique educational program and communication with peers from 8-12 countries. Sarvash is a comfortable complex that includes 100 cottages for 440 persons, a swimming pool, a sports complex, tennis courts, a football field, basketball courts and much more.An opportunity for children, creatively realizing, to communicate with peers from 8-12 countries and practice their knowledge of English in a natural language environment.
Workshops for children from 11 to 17 years old.
International Jewish Camp in Germany “ J-Arteck ”
Hebrew Artek – international creative camp. Participants from Russia, Germany, Israel, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, USA, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Denmark, France, etc. come to the camp.The camp introduces the participants to the culture and history of the Jewish people, contributes to the formation of Jewish self-identification and the development of creative abilities in various fields of art. The concept of “Jewish ArtEk” is based on the convictions of the great humanist educator Janusz Korczak: respect for the child, the unity of theory and practice, the equality of children and educators, the formation of a sense of responsibility, education in creative cooperation, as well as acquaintance with history through art.
Age of participants: from 13 to 17 years old.Location: near Berlin.
Additional information: +7 (903) 748-79-96 Anna Ginzburg (coordinator in Moscow)
International Family Camp in Italy Jerusalem Tale
Jerusalem Fairy Tale is a wonderful opportunity to spend a vacation with the whole family on the seaside in Italy. An opportunity to get acquainted with Jewish culture, traditions and history.Families of several generations come to the camp – children, parents, grandparents. Russian-speaking families from all over the world come to the Jerusalem Fairy Tale.
Additional information: +7 916 930 44 64; [email protected]
Tiyul Trakai Family Camp in Lithuania
Tiyul Trakai – The opportunity to travel with the whole family allows you not to part with your children during your holidays. The family camp takes place in the city of Trakai (Lithuania).Children are not occupied by animators, but by experienced teachers who have been working in the field of non-formal education for many years. There are no counselors here, nor any other echoes of Soviet pedagogy. All classes and activities are focused on the interests of the participants; dialogue and mutual respect are at the heart of communication between younger and older people. The program is balanced: there is a place for beach rest, and sports development, and intellectual games, and creativity, and emotional communication.
International American Jewish Children’s Camp “ NJY Camps ”
NJY camps – Jewish summer camp in the USA for children from 16 to 17 years old.NJY camps are: Meeting peers from all over the world; Super program: physical, intellectual and creative development with professional trainers, PhDs, art classes under the auspices of 92nd Street Y, excursions to US cities; Opportunity to improve foreign languages; Sea of sun, drive and bright emotions, positive charge for life; Comfortable living conditions and excellent food.
Hebrew Student Camp
“ Mezuza.Project “in SPB
Mezuza.Project – 5 days in the nature of the Zerkalnoye Lake recreation center in a pleasant Jewish company, ready to learn new things, discuss and build the future of the community together. Age of participants: 18 – 35 years old. Location: St. Petersburg
90,000 In Russia surprised by the statement of the US Embassy on the liberation of Auschwitz
American diplomats attributed the liberation of Auschwitz to the US Army.After criticizing the corresponding post on the social network, they admitted the mistake, but did not correct it. Not long before this, a similar situation had occurred with the German edition, but it not only apologized, but also edited the message.
The American Embassy in Denmark tweeted a post stating that the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz (Auschwitz) was “liberated” by the American army. When users criticized such a message, the diplomats admitted the mistake, but the text was never corrected.
The Russian embassy in Washington called this publication a shameless rewriting of history.
“The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, according to the US Embassy in Denmark, was liberated by the Americans. What does this mean, Department of State and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo? We urge not to erase the memory of the liberators of Auschwitz-Birkenau – the soldiers of the Red Army. Now you are trying to “replace” them with American soldiers, “reads a message from the Russian diplomatic mission on Twitter.
In recent years, this is not the first attempt to “present” the feat of the Red Army soldiers to American soldiers.Shortly before this, the German magazine Der Spiegel was forced to apologize for the mistake in the message that the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the US army, posted on the publication’s social media accounts. An earlier post appeared on the magazine’s Snapchat channel, stating that 75 years ago, the Auschwitz camp was liberated by American troops.
German readers drew attention to the error. After criticism, it was corrected: in the edited version, the death camp was liberated by the Red Army.
“There was an extremely embarrassing mistake for which we can only apologize,” wrote later in Der Spiegel.
Representatives of the magazine noted that they accept criticism in their address as a “fair punishment”.
Auschwitz is a complex of concentration camps, which in 1940-1945 were located near the Polish city of the same name. According to various sources, from 1.5 to 2 million people died there over the entire period. They were representatives of different nationalities, including about 15 thousand Soviet citizens. Most of the victims were among the Jews. By January 27, 1945, when the Red Army liberated the concentration camp, a little more than 7 thousand remained there.prisoners, including several hundred children. More than 200 Soviet soldiers and officers were killed in the battles for the liberation of Auschwitz.
In 1947, a museum was founded on the site of a former Nazi concentration camp, and in 1979 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. According to the UN decision, on January 27, the whole world celebrates the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust.
During his speech at Auschwitz as part of the commemorative events taking place there, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky spoke about the Ukrainians who saved Jews during World War II, but did not mention either the USSR or the Red Army.
“We will never forget Igor Pobirchenko, the commander of the T-34 tank, who, together with the crew, was the first to break the Auschwitz frame; all the soldiers of the shock battalion of the 100th Lvov division who entered the camp under the leadership of Anatoly Shapiro, a resident of Poltava of Jewish origin. Together with the fighters of the 322 divisions of the 1st Ukrainian Front, they liberated the camp, ”Zelensky said.
He stressed that the tragedy of the Holocaust left wounds in the hearts of Ukrainians forever: among 6 million victims, every fourth was from Ukraine.“We will never forget the terrible crimes that happened in Babi Yar, when the Nazis killed more than 150 thousand innocent people,” the Ukrainian leader stressed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was not invited to commemorative events marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp, said the press secretary of the head of state Dmitry Peskov.
According to him, Russia was represented there by Ambassador Sergei Andreev, but he was not given the floor. He told reporters that Poland is deeply indebted to Russia, and not vice versa.
However, this year Vladimir Putin nevertheless took part in the events dedicated to the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet army, but not in Poland, but in Israel. The Russian President arrived there on January 23. At the airport, he was met by the head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israel Katz, who personally thanked Putin for the fact that the Red Army had freed the prisoners of Auschwitz. Katz noted that one of the concentration camp prisoners who was liberated by the Soviet military was his mother.
90,000 US Holocaust Remembrance Days
Public transport and cars stopped; people froze in places and bowed their heads.A funeral siren sounds for two minutes. So Israel on April 8 honored the memory of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
The Day of Catastrophe and Heroism is a day of remembrance for the Israelis and for the whole world. The date is timed to coincide with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, the largest armed uprising of Jews against the Nazis, which was brutally suppressed.
“I feel like someone is trying to lift me, holding me by the shoulder. They’re going to kill me, I thought.I will not let them kill me. That’s all I thought about, ”recalls Holocaust survivor Sam Goldberg. “Now – after all this time, are they going to kill me?” Well, I do not! They won’t kill me. And I grabbed my shoes and hit the man who lifted me with wooden shoes. Like this. The guy started crying. And he said, “I am not going to kill you, I am an American. I have come to free you. You are free.” So says Sam Goldberg at the annual Holocaust memorial ceremony at the Washington Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Back in 1979, the US Congress named April 28 and 29 as Holocaust Remembrance Days, since it was on these days in 1945 that American troops liberated Dachau, a concentration camp in Germany. Subsequently, in the United States, the memory of the millions of dead Jews began to be honored within a week.
In 2021, President Joe Biden announced the entire week of April 4-11 as Holocaust Remembrance Days.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, speaking at a ceremony at the Holocaust Museum, spoke about his stepfather, a Holocaust survivor, as well as about the role of Americans, who sounded the alarm and tried in every possible way to help Jews in Europe immigrate to the United States.He criticized the actions of the diplomat Breckenridge Long, who was then head of the State Department’s visa department and prevented the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees into the United States trying to avoid persecution by Nazi Germany.
“Delay, postpone and postpone while the Nazis continued to kill, kill and kill. But some resisted: a group of determined officials at the Treasury Department proposed introducing cash payments to evacuate thousands of Jews from Romania and France.After numerous orders from officials such as Long, they decided to appeal directly to President Roosevelt. Six days later, President Roosevelt announced the creation of the War Refugee Council and immediately began rescuing Jews in Europe and other victims of persecution. This Council saved tens of thousands of Jews and helped hundreds of thousands more. But by that time, more than four million Jews had already lost their lives, ”Blinken said.
This year, due to the virtual format of the ceremony, the names of the victims of the Holocaust were not read out.But everyone could register on the website of the museum in Washington and receive an e-mail list of victims of the persecution of Nazi Germany in order to say aloud at least a few names, and thereby help so that these people are not forgotten.
“Every victim and those who survived are someone’s children. The parents gave them a name. They went to school, played with friends. They had life and they had dreams. They were all taken away from them and given a number that identified them as part of one group, and not as individuals.By reading their names aloud, we return to them the individuality and dignity taken from them. There is nothing more personal than names. It also makes us realize what a large number it is – six million, ”Diane Saltzman, director of the Holocaust Survivors Department at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, explained the initiative to the Voice of America Russian Service.
Holocaust Remembrance Week is also celebrated in Jewish religious institutions in the United States. Hyim Shafner, a synagogue rabbi in Washington DC, says that he and parishioners talk not only about the victims of the Nazis, but also about the heroism of those who survived.
“I have had parishioners who have been hiding in the woods for years. I asked: how? They basked in the snow, a resident of the nearest village gave them a piece of bread. There were even Jews who kept the commandments under similar conditions. This is heroism, which we do not always talk about, but there were many heroes during the Holocaust. I am also talking about those who gave their lives simply because of their origin, they are also heroes, ”says the rabbi.
“Never again” – once these words were perceived only as a phrase about the desired future.But today, scholars of the history of genocides urge everyone not to forget this sad page in history and make it their duty to “never be silent again” when a group of people is persecuted because of their nationality, religion, sexual orientation or race.
The USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education, California, says that today only 15 states in the country have curricula on the Holocaust and genocides.
“We are used to teaching history through books and documents, but what is remarkable about the Holocaust and recent genocides is what those who lived through these events have to tell about these events. We have collected this evidence in our archives. We hear their voices. The goal is to get as close as possible to the stories of these people, to revive those who were trying to dehumanize. This way we can “hear” them and be better in the future so that the tragedy does not repeat itself, ”says its director Stephen Smith, who represents UNESCO on education about genocides, about the Institute’s activities.
More than 120 thousand Jews who survived the Holocaust live in the United States today. In Israel – about 180 thousand. Many of them are already 80-90 years old. They witnessed brutal persecution and murder when they were teenagers.
Virtual tour (in English) On August 8, 1938, five months after the so-called Anschluss – the annexation of Austria to the Third Reich, the first prisoners arrived from the Dachau concentration camp in Mauthausen.The granite quarry located there played a decisive role in the choice of the site for the concentration camp (as well as for the nearby “subsidiary” camp of Gusen). At first, the prisoners were used to work on the construction of the camp, later they were supposed to produce construction materials for the enterprise created by the SS, German Stone Mining Company LLC. These materials were intended for the construction of monumental and prestigious buildings in National Socialist Germany.
Until 1943, the main political function of the camp was the long-term isolation of real or imaginary political and ideological enemies.For a time, Mauthausen and Gusen were the only camps in the “category III”. This meant that the conditions of imprisonment in them were the most difficult in the system of Nazi concentration camps. The mortality rate was one of the highest among the Reich camps.
From 1942 – 43, the prisoners of the Mauthausen concentration camp – as prisoners of all other concentration camps – began to be more actively used in the military industry. For these purposes, numerous external camps were established and the number of prisoners increased significantly.At the end of 1942, 14,000 prisoners were held in the Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps and in several outer camps; in March 1945, there were already over 84,000 people in Mauthausen and in the outer camps.
From mid-1944, many thousands of prisoners began to arrive at Mauthausen, mostly evacuated from concentration camps in the east. In the spring of 1945, the outer camps and forced labor camps for Hungarian Jews, located east of Mauthausen, were also liquidated.Thousands of prisoners were driven in the literal sense of the “death march” to Mauthausen. This led to complete overcrowding in Mauthausen / Gusen, as well as in the still functioning outer camps – Ebensee, Steir and Gunskirchen. As a result of rampant famine and disease, mortality has risen sharply.
Most of the prisoners in Mauthausen were deported from Poland, followed by Soviet citizens and Hungarian citizens. Mauthausen also held many Germans, Austrians, French, Italians, Yugoslavs and Spaniards.In total, prisoners of more than 40 nations were recorded in the SS camp administration – men, women, children. Jewish prisoners from Poland and Hungary, who began entering the camp mainly in the summer of 1944, had the smallest chances of survival.
In total, from the establishment of the camp in August 1938 to the liberation of the prisoners by the US Army in May 1945, about 190,000 people were deported to Mauthausen.
Thousands of prisoners were tortured, shot, killed by lethal injections, or condemned to die from the cold.
At least 10,200 people were suffocated with poisonous gas in the gas chamber of the main camp, as well as in Gusen, or in the killing unit at Hartheim Castle, in a gas chamber that shuttled between Mauthausen and Gusen. Most of the prisoners died as a result of the ruthless exploitation of their labor and beatings, from the lack of essential food, clothing and medical care. In total, at least 90,000 prisoners died in Mauthausen, Gusen and in the outer camps, about half of them 4 months before liberation.
The Subcamps in Google maps (in Russian) The lack of manpower in the Third Reich combined with an increase in armaments production led to the fact that concentration camp prisoners were increasingly used in the military industry. If the first outer camps in 1941 served mainly for the needs of the SS, then from 1942, with the creation in Steir-Münichholz of the first external camp for the company for the production of weapons for the joint-stock company Steir-Daimler-Puch, the creation of a network of external camps began, covering – which eventually resulted in more than forty camps that worked primarily for the military industry.
Of the 84,000 prisoners held by March 1945 in the Mauthausen camp system, 65,000 were in the outer camps. The slave labor of prisoners was used mainly in the enterprises of the Steyr-Daimler-Puch joint-stock company, Reichwerke Hermann Goering, in the aircraft production of Heinkel and Messerschmitt, as well as by construction firms or directly in production work.
From the end of 1943, the prisoners had to build, first of all, underground workshops to protect production from air raids.For this, among others, the Gusen camp was expanded and large outer camps were created, such as Ebensee, Melk. The construction of underground adits was carried out with complete disregard for the preservation of the health and life of the prisoners, which entailed a huge number of victims.
Thus, from the second half of the war, the main camp at Mauthausen also began to function as the command center of a whole network of camps, in which arriving prisoners were distributed among the outer camps. At the same time, sick and disabled prisoners from external camps were returned to Mauthausen, who were actually doomed to death there.
At present, there are museum exhibitions open to the public at the sites of the former outer camps: Gusen, Ebensee, Melk and Steyr.
Although relatively many of the original buildings of the former concentration camp have survived in Mauthausen, the present appearance of the memorial complex is strikingly different from what the camp looked like on the day of liberation – May 5, 1945. Immediately after the liberation, the camp was under the jurisdiction of the American administration, and since the summer of 1945, the Soviet military command used the camp for some time to house Soviet soldiers.On June 20, 1947, the Soviet occupation authorities transferred the former Mauthausen concentration camp to the Austrian Republic with the obligation to create a memorial complex here. By this time, most of the camp was production buildings in the quarry, most of the former barracks in which the prisoners were kept, and the SS barracks had already been dismantled. In the spring of 1949, the Mauthausen memorial was opened.
In the fall of 1949, in the area where the SS camp was formerly located, France unveiled the first national monument.Following him, other countries and groups of victims erected their monuments.
In the early 1960s, a cemetery was laid out on the territory of the Mauthausen memorial complex, where the remains of victims from the “American cemeteries” of Mauthausen and Gusen, as well as from the SS-created mass graves, were transferred. In camp zone II and in the area where barracks 16-19 were located, more than 14,000 victims were buried. In 1970, a museum was organized in the rebuilt former building of the camp hospital barracks. Since May 2013, the permanent exhibitions “Mauthausen Concentration Camp 1938-1945” and “Mauthausen Crime Scene Investigation – Search for Traces” have been opened there.A new “Hall of Names” was also opened, listing the names of the 81,000 identified dead at Mauthausen and its outer camps.
Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial
Tel: +43 7238 2269-0
Fax: +43 7238 2269-40
Argentinierstraße 13, 1040 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 376 3000-100
E-Mail: [email protected]
Archive inquiries @ mauthausen-memorial.org
Concentration Camp Gusen Memorial
E-Mail: [email protected]
Opening hours, rates, registration and additional information on the website www.mauthausen-memorial.org ( in English) and www.gusen-memorial.org (in English).
90,000 “We knew what would be waiting for us.” 80 years ago, Jewish refugees tried to sail to Cuba – but they were returned to Europe
On May 13, 1939, the ship “St. Louis” with 937 passengers on board sailed from Hamburg, Germany, to Havana.Most of its passengers were Jews who fled from Germany – from pogroms, violence, discrimination and camps. But neither in Cuba, nor in the United States, nor in Canada, refugees were not allowed to get off the ship. They were sent back to Europe. A third of St. Louis passengers did not survive the Holocaust
On the night of November 10, 1938, a wave of anti-Jewish pogroms took place throughout Germany, in annexed Austria and the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia: about 400 Jews were killed, another 30 thousand were sent to camps.After three months, most of the prisoners were released on the condition that they leave Germany.
That night went down in history as the Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass Windows. After her, Jews began to leave Germany en masse. One of the ways to escape the Nazis seemed to many to be a Cuban visa: Cuba remained almost the only country that accepted Jews. Refugees paid their last money for an entry permit and a ticket for the liner. There, in a more relaxed atmosphere, they hoped to wait for an American visa: 734 St. Louis passengers had the US immigration quota numbers that would allow them to enter the country in three years.
Luxury liner after a miserable life in Berlin
Gisela Knepel (married Feldman) was 15 years old when she set sail on the St. Louis with her mother and younger sister. Gisela survived the war and the Holocaust, later in interviews she repeatedly told her story.
On the eve of Kristallnacht in Berlin, the SS men arrested her father, a native of Poland. Deportation awaited him.
Gisela remembered broken glass on the sidewalks after the night’s pogrom, looted shops and burning synagogues.Their apartment was given to a German family, and she, her sister and mother had to move in with her aunt, whose husband was also deported.
Gisela’s mother has repeatedly tried to get a visa anywhere, just to leave the country. So she found out that the Cuban embassy was selling entry visas, and she managed to get them – the day before the departure of “St. Louis”.
“As we boarded the ship, I felt a mixture of relief and awe. The food was wonderful, we were served by the waiters! We have never lived in such luxury.”The atmosphere of the holiday reigned, we enjoyed the fun “, – said Gizela Knepel in an interview with The Jewish Chronicle.
At the restaurant aboard the St. Louis. Left – 15-year-old Gisela, center – her sister Sonya and their mother (third from left). Photo: Jewishsphere.com
Only Gisela’s mother was not happy: she left her husband in Germany, despite his pleas not to leave him. In addition, they only had ten German marks with them for three.
“But we were kids, and the ship had cinemas, comfortable cabins and a pool.It was such a contrast to our unhappy life in Berlin! “Gisela Knepel recalled.
The captain of the ship did his best to make the journey enjoyable. He allowed the portrait of Hitler to be removed from the wall in the room where the passengers held Saturday services – the women brought their candlesticks, and on Friday evening there was a very family atmosphere there, Knepel recalled.
Refugees aboard the St. Louis. Photo: Yad Vashem
Captain Gustav Schroeder
Liner “St. Louis” was commanded by Gustav Schroeder.He remained the last captain in the Hamburg-America shipping company who did not join the Nazi NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) and did not wear a swastika armband. He was well aware of the passengers on board the ship and insisted that the crew treat them with all respect.
It was thanks to Gustav Schroeder that the passengers of the liner managed to escape the Nazi camps. He became a hero to them.
Gustav Schroeder. Photo: Yad Vashem
On 23 May, the captain received a telegram stating that the passengers on the St. Louis would not be able to disembark in Havana.Tourist visas, which were so difficult for people to obtain, turned out to be invalid.
Even before the departure of the liner, it turned out that the Minister of the Interior of Cuba, Manuel Benitez, issued visas on his own initiative and appropriated all the money raised for them. The Cuban government, upon learning of the fraud, annulled the documents. But none of the passengers before the departure of the liner knew that their visas were invalid.
St. Louis arrived in Havana on 27 May. Only 22 passengers with US visas were able to disembark.The rest were denied entry.
Passengers of the St. Louis. Photo: SZ Photo, München
Fred Buff, who sailed on the liner (in 1939 he was 17 years old), in an interview with the Jewish Standard in 2009, said that the mood of passengers changed “dramatically and quickly.” “There was despair. The ship’s infirmary was full of depressed people. We hoped that we would not return to Germany – it would be a disaster: we knew that we would be waiting there.”
One of the passengers tried to commit suicide.It was Max Loew, formerly a successful lawyer. At the age of 14, he managed to take part in the First World War and receive the award for heroism. Having been in a Nazi concentration camp in the late 1930s, Leo always saw himself being followed by SS and Gestapo agents. In Havana, he lost his nerves: the man cut his veins and threw himself into the water. The sailor saved him, from the ship Lev was taken to the hospital. So Max Loew became the first refugee to come to Cuban soil. His wife and children were not allowed to leave the ship. (Later, having recovered, he was able to return to his family, who at that time lived in France).
“St. Louis” stood in the roadstead off the coast of Havana for four days. On June 1, 1939, Captain Schroeder was ordered to leave the territorial waters of Cuba. For almost five more days, the liner was near the Cuban coast in the hope that the authorities would overturn the decision.
Passengers of the St. Louis. Photo: Yad Vashem
At this time, a refusal came from the United States: Secretary of State Cordell Hull advised Roosevelt not to accept Jews.
Captain Schroeder circled the coast of Florida thinking about running aground off the coast and letting the refugees escape.But the ships of the US Coast Guard did not allow this: when the liner approached Miami, American boats blocked its way to the port of the city.
Canada could be another option for salvation. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, upon receiving an asylum request from passengers on the St. Louis, turned it over to Immigration Director Frederick Blair, known for his hostility to Jewish immigration. He convinced the prime minister not to interfere.
June 6, 1939 “St. Louis” was forced to return to Europe.
St. Louis. Photo: US Holocaust Memorial Museum
The ship was seized by panic, the passengers almost staged a mutiny. However, Captain Schroeder assured everyone that the ship would not return to Germany until all passengers had received refuge. Moreover, he devised an emergency plan for the ship to crash off the coast of England in order to force the British authorities to take action to rescue passengers.
Fortunately, as a result of negotiations between the charity “Joint” (“American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee”) with the authorities of some European countries, the Holland – 181 people agreed to accept refugees from “St. Louis”, France – 224, Great Britain – 228 and Belgium – 214.
Captain Gustav Schroeder negotiates with Belgian officials at the port of Antwerp. Photo: Wikipedia Commons
How it ended
Passengers were able to leave St. Louis on June 17, 1939. They disembarked at Antwerp and departed for the countries that agreed to receive them. By 1940, all the passengers on the liner, except those who fled to England, were again in the hands of the Nazis. Of the 288 passengers sent to England, all but one survived the war and the Holocaust. 254 people in other European countries were killed in concentration camps.
Passengers of the St. Louis. Photo: Yad Vashem
Gisela Knepel, her mother and sister ended up in the UK. Her father died during the Holocaust.
Captain Gustav Schroeder never went to sea again after 1940. Thanks to the testimony of some of his surviving refugee passengers, he was released from the denazification process. In 1949, he published a memoir on the voyage of the St. Louis.
Gustav Schroeder died in 1959 at the age of 73. In Germany, Schroeder was awarded the Order of Merit; in Hamburg, one of the streets was named after him.In 1993, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Complex posthumously honored Schroeder with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.
Passengers of the St. Louis. Photo: Yad Vashem
Apologies 70 Years Later
In 2000, the nephew of Canadian Immigration Director Frederick Blair apologized to the Jewish people for his uncle’s actions.
The US Department of State apologizes to the passengers of the St. Louis in 2012. The official ceremony was attended by Deputy Secretary Bill Burns and 14 surviving passengers on the ship.
In May 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that the Canadian government would apologize for his role in the fate of the ship’s passengers. An official apology followed in November of that year.
Dr. Fritz Spanier and his twin daughters in the hold of the St.