CAMPS, JEWISH AND ISRAEL SUMMER PROGRAMS                               


Why Jewish Summer Camps and Israel Programs? 
What's better than the activities, friendships, and communal life of traditional camps? At Jewish summer camps, Jewish values, role models, culture, traditions, and heritage help campers connect to their own identity and the larger Jewish community. Jewish summer camp or Israel programs lay the groundwork for strong Jewish communities and can be a critical element in a Jewish young person's education.  Children who attend Jewish camp or attend Israel programs are statistically more likely to identify as Jewish adults, and actively engage in the Jewish community. As an added benefit, Jewish summer camps are FUN!

How do I pay for these programs?

There are a number of scholarships available locally. Click here for an application and a list of locally available scholarships.  Do not assume you don’t qualify- we don’t want cost to be the reason you don’t go to a Jewish summer camp/program or Israel.  Additionally, if your child has never been to Jewish camp, The Foundation for Jewish Camps (FJC), One Happy Camper program offers need-blind grants of $1000 to first-time campers.  Learn more and check to see if your child is eligible at  Additionally Many camps and programs offer partial or total scholarships and financial assistance. Don't automatically assume your income doesn't qualify – have a conversation about affordability with the camp director to explain your situation. The goal is to ensure every Jewish child has the opportunity to experience the magic of Jewish camp.

Camp and Jewish programs:

There are many options for Jewish summer camp.   Young Judaea summer camps include Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake in Verbank, NY, the regional camp for 2nd-8th graders. This camp is a place where kids connect to Judaism and Israel in a very supportive and nurturing atmosphere.  Of course there are sports, swimming, arts and crafts, music, dance and drama too. Camp Tel Yehudah in Barryville, NY; for 9th- 12th graders is Young Judaea’s national teen leadership camp/program, an engaging and dynamic Jewish community where your teen will expand their mind and learn to become a leader and activist while having an unforgettable experience in one of numerous programs available for them to choose from.  And because they are Young Judaea Camps, kids can re-connect with their camp friends during the year at regional Young Judaea conventions.   Both are highly recommended.  A few others include JCC Camp Kingswood, Eden Village, Camp Jori, Camp Wingate.  For older teens: Brandeis University offers numerous summer programs for high school age youth; BIMA, Genesis and ServiceCorps programs. The American Jewish Society for Service, AJJS offers multiple service opportunities as well as URJ’s Mitzvah Corps and Tivnu service summer programs. 

Local Camp options:

 Roots and Trails offers Eco- Jewish camp options.  This summer they will offer Pausing into Time Paddling Adventure for All Who Identify as Female from ages 8-18; July 27-30 and Peering Beyond the Lake Paddling Journey for All Genders and ages 8-18; August 3-7.

Camp Gan Israel located in Burlington is a day camp run by Chabad

Kids4Peace Vermont and New Hampshire 6th & 7th Grade Camp June 28- July 9, Plymouth State University, New Hampshire. This program brings together Jewish, Christian and Muslim youth from Israel/Palestine, Vermont & New Hampshire.  Activities include singing and performing a play at the Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center, outdoor games, arts & crafts, interfaith learning including visits to a mosque, synagogue, and church, peace and leadership skill-building.  Many youth from our community have participated in this camp.  

There are many in our community who attend Jewish summer camps and programs.  Here is a flavor of some of the camps, which were attended by youth in our community over the past few summers.

Young Judaea Camp Tel Yehudah
    Tel Yehudah is dedicated to fun, friendships, learning and social action. Camp Tel Yehudah is the national teen camp of Young Judaea. The dynamic program of experiential education, activism and leadership development, connects teens to Israel and Judaism. Participants enjoy athletics, music, arts and crafts, hiking, performing arts, out-of-camp trips and many other activities.  Located on 150 beautiful wooded acres on the banks of the Delaware River in Barryville, New York, Tel Yehudah draws campers and staff from all over the United States, United Kingdom, Israel and the world. All Jewish youth– Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, secular and unaffiliated – are welcome to be a part of TY's vibrant, pluralistic community.Camp Tel Yehudah offers a range of programs for teens entering grades 9 to 12.You can preview a typical day’s schedule, or learn more about the different programs. Take a look at the specialty area descriptions to learn what activities teens at TY enjoy each day.  You can request more information to learn more about TY or  you can email your question.  Tel Yehudah is more than a camp. The programs provide life-changing experiences that participants will talk about for years to come.  "I didn't think I would ever enjoy myself as much as I did the first time I went to Camp TY but I was wrong because my second summer was even more wonderful than the first.  Camp TY will always and forever be one of the most significant things in my life.  I can't wait to go back in a few years as a counselor." ~Eliana Cohen

Camp Eden Village

Everything about the environment at Camp Eden Village was really special to me. Everyone was kind. When I first got there, everyone was welcoming and helpful. Part of the mission of Eden Village is creating a peaceful environment for everyone. There were guidelines about how to talk to people in a kind, respectful way. We had music all the time and that made camp peaceful.

Activities were really fun. There was a wide variety of choices. My favorites were cooking in the apothecary and capture the boat flag. Whole camp activities were a great way to bring the camp together. We played life-sized Clue. There were Israeli counselors that helped us complete the game. For instance we had to translate a Hebrew sentence. We also did a different activity where we went to stations about all the Jewish holidays and earned points. Most of the activities we did were connected to Judaism. I never thought about Judaism in the way I did when I was at camp. – Rebecca Hall

We have been going to Eisner Camp for three summers - and each summer just gets better and better! This past summer we had a great, Jewish experience. We celebrated shabbat, and said prayers before and after meals. For shabbat, everyone wore white shirts to bring us all together on the special occasion. Then, after the shabbat dinner and service, we would have brownies, song session, and, finally, Israeli dancing! While it was still a great Jewish experience, with limud (learning about Judaism) almost every day, it was still camp - fun filled, dramatic, exciting, awesome camp. Every week we got to choose new activities, from swimming, to soccer, to pottery, to archery, to down by the lake. After every dinner we participate in a fun activity as a unit (age group). One of the fun activities we do at camp is when Tad Yani the DJ comes and we all party it out! One of the first session traditions is to have a super huge, fun 4th of July party! And one of the second session traditions is Maccabiah (color war)! We won’t ever be able to forget the unforgettable memories we made with our awesome bunkmates, friends, and counselors! Everybody is amazing there - it’s like our second home!   - Neil and Rae Kanarick

Camp Pembroke 

For me, summers spent at camp are some of the best times out of the whole year. I attend the Jewish girls sleepaway camp, Camp Pembroke, in Pembroke, MA. At my camp we have seven age groups, and although the ages range from 3rd to 10th graders, everyone still has a special bond you don’t find in your everyday life. This year I will be starting my 5th year at camp and I will be staying for 7 weeks. I will be in the second-oldest age group and will be a big sister to a younger camper and will help plan the second-session banquet. Because it is my 5th year as a camper, I already have tight bonds with girls who I stay in touch with throughout the year. But new campers always make new friends. (I have literally never seen a camper look lonely!)
The friends you make along the way at camp are a huge part of what makes summers so special but there are also many activities and camp traditions that make it memorable. There are always a huge variety of elective choices, and some of my favorites are waterfront arena (windsurfing, water skiing, paddle boarding, canoeing, etc.), archery, and athletics arena, and so many more are all available to you. Shabbats in the pine grove are a tradition and so are college night and color war. 
I’ve always had amazing summers at camp, and whatever camp you go to, I hope you do too! –Violet Bluestein

The summer of 2016 was my first time going to sleep away camp. I had been thinking a lot about going to camp but I was waiting to find the one I felt was best for me. I was looking for a Jewish camp, a camp with all girls, camp that wasn’t too far away from home and a camp that had the option of going for less than one month. Camp Pembroke in Pembroke, MA which is part of the Cohen Camps, seemed to fit my needs. On top of that, my cousin Violet had already been going there for the last 4 years and really enjoyed it.
My mom got a notice that Camp Pembroke was offering a “Taste of Pembroke” last summer. This is for girls age 7-11 who want to experience camp for a little bit as their first time but not stay for a whole session. This was a perfect opportunity for me to try out camp. 
I was one of the oldest campers doing the “Taste of Pembroke,” but I was really glad that I got to test out camp this way. At first I was nervous that I would get homesick or my bunkmates wouldn’t be nice. When I arrived at camp the first day, all of my bunkmates were so welcoming and made me feel right at home. Counselors at the camp were from all over the world – England, Israel, Australia, Canada and of course the United States. 
My activities included archery, pop dance and paddle boarding. Everyone does swimming, arts and crafts, tennis and general athletics. The first couple of days were so hot. It was in the 90s and humid every day. My last few days were pretty rainy. But no matter what the weather was, we always had something fun to do.
The food was kosher and we sang the birkathamazon after every meal (and did prayers before eating too). There were evening activities after dinner. Shabbat was really special at camp. Everyone got dressed up in blue and white clothes and we had services in the pine grove. I learned many new songs for Shabbat. Every morning we gathered at the flag pole to sing Hatikva and raise the US flag as well as the Israeli Flag.
For me, Pembroke was a perfect fit and it was one of the best experiences I have had. I loved meeting new people, making new friends, being in a Jewish place and knowing that everyone has Judaism in common. I would really love to go to camp again this summer. I am hoping to go for the whole second session which is 3 and a half weeks long. Now my younger sister also wants to go to camp. It will be really nice to be there some day with both my cousin and my sister. I am really thankful to OhaviZedek for helping me get to camp. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the synagogue and I am very grateful. - Gaby Schulman

6 Points Jewish Sports Academy 

6 Points is a Jewish sports camp located in Greensboro, North Carolina on the campus of the American Hebrew Academy. It offers training in sports with professional coaches and state of the art sports facilities. We practice our sports major for 4 hours each day and also have 2 elective choices for cross-training and fun! Last year I chose tennis for my major and this year I chose soccer. In addition to the regular schedule, we have the Maccabiah games for 3 days at the end of camp. The camp is split into 2 teams, gold and blue, and we have friendly competitions with lots of cheering and camaraderie. 
We celebrate Shabbat by dressing up in white clothes and have a special dinner and service. We sing prayers and songs in a cool way which makes it better. On Saturday we have an hour of our sport and another hour service. I liked living with other kids my own age. I also came back having improved my skills even though it was always fun. When I arrived at camp this year, it was really nice to see my friends from last year. I look forward to going back next summer. -Louis Berlind
Crane Lake Camp
This past summer was my 6th and final summer at URJ Crane Lake Camp. Without the generous scholarship Ohavi Zedek has granted me, I would not have been able to spend my summer having the time of my life. As I’ve had to say my goodbyes to the home crane lake has become, I’ve realized how beneficial it is to have a camp experience like I have had in a lifetime.

Something about camp is unexplainably special.  It’s hard to explain how one becomes so close to a group of people in just three weeks. But, these people are there in my life no matter what. Something happens when you are forced to spend every moment with a group of people. You aren’t given time to be anyone but your absolute self. I think a lot of people have trouble thinking about where they belong or how they should act around everyone else around them. At camp, these worries disappear. Each person is a puzzle piece of the puzzle of camp and your true self is what makes camp the way it is. I have never been in an environment that has made me feel so unbelievably special. And this feeling has stayed with me as I return home in a sense where I recognize that it is okay to be myself, no matter where I am.

Being at a Jewish summer camp has shaped my Jewish identity, even more so than my many Sundays at Hebrew school, or even studying to become a Bat Mitzvah. Being exposed to so many other Jews, and the many ways people my age express their Judaism has made me realize how special it is to be Jewish and forced me to think about what I personally believe in. My camp tied in many Jewish values such as the importance of community or Tikkun Olam in our everyday lives which can be carried on back home.

Camp has also forced me to realize how precious our time is. It always feels like time is endless. This mindset has left me where I am always waiting for the “next big thing” to happen, and thinking that the enjoyable parts of life are those huge, beautiful, and extravagant moments and events. Camp has made me change my mind. It was in the seemingly ordinary moments in which I found pure joy. When you are given only three weeks to enjoy yourself, there isn’t time to wait for the “next big thing”. There wasn’t enough time to spend my days counting for color war, or trip day, or the next Shabbat dinner. To thoroughly enjoy camp, I had to live in every single moment. I had to enjoy the holiness of every single voice at camp singing the Sh’ma during morning t’filah. I had to enjoy waking up in the morning and seeing my best friend’s face. Each of these little moments of utter joy, threaded together, make camp.  

Now that I have returned home I’m forever thankful for the financial help I’ve been given. Though the years may pass, the friends and memories I’ve made won’t leave and neither will the many things I’ve learned about myself or my Jewish identity. I hope everyone has a chance to experience this opportunity like myself. -Lia Rubel

Camp Ramah

My time at Camp Ramah NE has been one of the best experiences of my life. My camp friends are the people I want to share everything with. They know me best, because after summers and summers of spending everyday with each other; they're my go to people. My camp experience is something I'd highly recommend. It's helped shape me into the person I am today and it's helped me to build my Jewish identity. One very important aspect of CRNE is discussing how past Jewish ideas are relevant in daily life. This past summer we studied keva and kavanah. One way this helped me discover my Jewish identity was by helping with the keva and kavanah themed mural. I was able to be artistic, hangout with my friends, and discover how this Jewish idea relates into my everyday life. CRNE is an amazing way to spend a summer and if you have the chance to go, you definitely should. –Abby Rosenthal

Mitzvah Corps
    Mitzvah Corps has camps all over the country and the world. Some of the places include Washington DC, Israel, New Orleans and many more. Mitzvah corp is a summer camp for Jewish young adults in high school looking to take part in social action community service work and becoming closer with their Jewish roots.
    This summer I spent a week in Washington DC with 19 other campers like myself. I have always been interested in community service and helping people less fortunate or who need it. When I heard about this camp from a friend, I was so excited to go. I had no idea at the time how much I would really learn from this camp. Besides making some amazing friends from all around the country that made my time there even more amazing and site seeing (of course), I learned a lot about social action work, specifically homelessness.
    After getting to know my peers a little bit, we spent the first three days at job sites. My job site was at a thrift store and other necessity chains for people with lower budgets called Martha’s Table. Not only was I able to clean up the store, put clothes on hangers, tag the clothes and work in the food kitchen, but I also got to make connections with real people shopping in the store and learn about their lives. It was truly amazing. The fourth day, which made the most impact on me, was making meal bags to hand out to the homeless people of DC. Our goal was not to just give the bag and leave, but to make a connection with the people we were giving them to and hearing their stories. This really opened up my eyes as to how I viewed the homeless and how I wanted to take action.
    While doing all of these activities, we went to the RAC (Religious Action Center) everyday for lunch and were taught lessons on the bigger picture of helping homeless people and relating it to our Jewish religion and beliefs. All of the great work we were doing and the important lessons we learned, led up to each camper lobbying with the representatives of congress for their state. The definition of lobbying is someone or people who seek(s) to influence (a politician or public official) on an issue. I prepared a speech on a current bill that has to do with global warming (and how it can affect the homeless/lower class) and went to the offices of Bernie Sanders, Peter Welch and Patrick Leahy. Overall, I learned more about the very pressing issue of homelessness and lower class housing issues, and the actual truth about the causes of what makes a person become homeless. I gained respect for the issues that the homeless have to deal with and being able to see the bigger picture of a problem (upstream affect), and relating all of this to my Jewish religion and beliefs and using it as a power to make a difference. It was an amazing trip that I learned so much from and I will hopefully be participating in more Mitzvah Corps projects in the future.
~ Holly Issenberg, 10th Grade

Camp Gan Israel
"I really liked Camp Gan Israel field trips. I had tons of fun at Six Flags, New Village Farm, Get Air and Jay Peak!.  I also enjoyed all the fun activities like craft, learning about the Jewish Holidays, sports at Edmunds field, Dunk Tank and of course, making new friends!"   -Josh, age 10

"I liked Camp Gan Izzy because it was fun. I liked when we went to Get Air, Six Flags, Sand Bar and Jay Peak.  It was a lot of fun to wash the counselors car with the other campers. I liked throwing sponges full of paint at the counselors. I also enjoyed swimming, the mock wedding, horse back riding, watermelon hunt and the Dunk Tank."
-Grace, age 8

"I liked Camp Gan Izzy because we went to trips everyday.  I liked when we went to the beach and to Get Air. I liked to hear the Parsha.  I liked to throw sponges paint at the teachers!"  -Shmuel, age 6

Gan Izzy was fun, because we did fun stuff. We did fun trips, like going to Parc Safari, Jay Peak and Get Air (a trampoline place). At Parc Safari, it was fun because we went through the Tiger Tunnel, which is a glass tunnel that leads through a tiger cage and there were tigers sleeping on it. We saw snow wolves, too. The funniest thing was when there was a camel that ate a cardboard box out of the back of truck! At Jay Peak, we went to the water park, and I got to ride on the slides. We also went to Sandbar beach and I saw two huge catfish in the water !

We also did fun things in Burlington like making challah (even though the bottom got very burnt! Oops!) and swimming at the Y.
I really like going to Gan Izzy because we go on fun trips and I get to meet other jewish kids my own age. - Sam Perlah Herd



Camp tuition for these campers was partially covered by a generous scholarship from the

Greenberg-Lopkin and  Howard Richie Lazarus Camp Scholarship Fund


 There are many Israel experiences available for high school kids summer trips, high school semesters, gap years, and more. 

Summer Programs:  Young Judaea offers a variety of summer programs with different focuses and some combined with visits to other countries.  YJ trips offer the opportunity to hike Israel, volunteer on a community service project, and make friends from all over the US, Israel, and the world!   Other summer programs to Israel include the BBYO Passport and Tzofim Chetz VKeshet offered by the Israeli Scouts.  There are also program offed by the Conservative USY, Reconstructionist Noar Hadash and the Reform, NFTY movement as well.

Semester experiences:  Alexander Muss High School in Israel is a non-denominational, co-educational English language study abroad program in Israel for high school students for part of the academic school year or summer in Israel during the sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school.  TRY is a semester of study at Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim, the Ramah Jerusalem High School, a fully accredited international secondary school program. TRY offers tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders the opportunity to live and learn in the land of Israel.

Gap Year:  Young Judaea Year Course in Israel is the largest gap year program for recent high school graduates. Over the course of nine months, Year Course participants immerse themselves in all aspects of Israeli life and culture - learning Hebrew, interacting with their Israeli peers, developing an appreciation for their Jewish heritage and exploring Israel through a variety of volunteer placements. Accredited college-level courses, extensive travel, independent/group living are all-available! 

Nativ is a similar excellent program through the Conservative movement. The Nativ year offers its participants two distinct components: studying in the heart of Jerusalem and volunteering in other areas of Israel. Masa Israel Journey offers over 200 study, internship and volunteer opportunities in Israel.

Local scholarships for Israel programs include the Greenberg-Bratspis Israel Scholarship Fund , The Ludwin Lewisohn scholarship is available for people studying in Israel.  The Bronfman Foundation sponsors an all expense paid summer in Israel for high school juniors (this is competitive).

If you would like more information on camps, Israel programs or scholarships or have any questions please contact Francine Pomerantz at 434-3443 or Miriam Sturgis at 879-0463