Monthly Archives: November 2014


All gifts made by young alumni will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000.

Dear CJ Family and Friends,

We’re writing to ask you to join us in supporting the Miracles Happen Scholarship Campaign and make a difference in the lives of Jewish kids. Last year nearly 140 campers requested more than $250,000 in financial assistance and Camp was only able to fund half of those requests.

The Schilit family is challenging Camp Judaea Alumni and new friends who are 30 and under (born 1984 or after) to give to CJ’s scholarship campaign.  For every dollar that is contributed for CJ Scholarships between now and Tu B’Shevat on February 4, the Schilits will match donations, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $10,000.  Every dollar you contribute is considered a charitable gift and is tax-deductible.

Please consider making a scholarship gift today and double the impact through this matching grant opportunity (click here to make a gift online).

Camp Judaea transformed each of our lives in our youth and inspired us to give the best of ourselves to Israel and the global Jewish community. Help us provide that experience to a new generation of Judaeans. Together you and I will change the world, one CJ camper at a time. Let’s meet this challenge!


Sydney Baranovitz – Bogrim 2003
David Berlin – Bogrim 2004
Aviva Berman – Bogrim 2000
Reuben Karchem – Bogrim 2002
Melissa Zuckerman – Bogrim 2002


Making Mensches: Practicing Community-Mindedness and Social Responsibility at a local Kosher food bank

This past Sunday it was a pleasure to join many of our South Florida Camp Judaea campers and young alumni at the JCS Kosher Food Bank in North Miami Beach where they had an opportunity to serve their community by packing food distribution packages and learn more about the important services that this program provides.  20141116_120504_resized

Organized by Young Judaea Southeastern Shaliach, Neta Shani, this brief but deeply impactful activity reinforced important Jewish values such as Areyvut (ערבות / Community Mindedness) and Achrayut (אחריות / Social Responsibility) which our chanichim (campers) experientially learn every day while at Camp in the summer.  The Volunteer Manager of the Food Bank gave a brief talk to help these menschy kids understand just how widespread hunger is within the community and how the Food Bank provides an important entry point for hungry families who need a wide variety of social services offered by Jewish Community Services of South Florida.

One older boy asked the Volunteer Manager just how much food a needy family might obtain from the Food Bank.  The Volunteer Manager asked the boy how many boxes of cereal his family of six consume in a week to which the boy replied “four.”  The Volunteer Manager explained that a typical family would receive only two boxes of cereal a month and that they only have enough resources to supplement a family’s food supply.  This story inspired our chanichim to do what they can particularly at this season of Thanksgiving to help the Food Bank and the disadvantaged families it serves.   Kol HaKavod to all the young people and adults who made this meaningful activity possible.



Thanks for an inspiring Fall enrollment season!

Air travel is often challenging, exhausting and occasionally unpleasant these days, but it offers time to pause and reflect.  Today I’m excited to be flying south to visit two communities to introduce and celebrate Camp Judaea with a fun mix of new and returning families.  The year-round team and I feel much gratitude for the enthusiasm we have seen and heard throughout the fall enrollment season.  To date more than 85% of our camper spaces are filled for our 55th Season and we are beginning to form wait lists in some of our units (it’s not too late to enroll in both sessions in many units,  but please apply soon).

On behalf of David, Berlin, Gayle, Ron, Robert, Dee and our very talented summer tsevet team, I wish to thank the entire CJ family for their truly inspiring support.  An extraordinary summer of fun learning awaits us all in just over 200 days!


Tom Rosenberg, Executive Director



Remembering Keith Berman

Keith Berman at Camp Judaea's 50th Anniversary celebration in 2011.

Keith Berman at Camp Judaea’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2011.

This week, Camp Judaea and Young Judaea lost somebody who lived his life according to the core values we all learned growing up in the movement and at CJ:  K’lal Yisrael – the unity of the Jewish people, the centrality of  Israel in Jewish life and to, as Keith put it, “live ideology.” Keith Berman passed away at 48 years too young on Sunday, November 2, 2014, 9th Cheshvan, 5775.

At the time of his death he was the Director of Aardvark, a gap year Israel program he created doing what he loved best, bringing young adults to Israel for an innovative, experiential experience, inspiring them to become passionate supporters Israel and to live purposeful involved lives.  However his mission in life as a tireless advocate for Israel and Jewish education was honed during his decades of dedicated work with Young Judaea, whether it was working in Israel as director of Year Course or Hamagshamim or during the summers he spent at Camp Judaea working as the drama director or Rosh Machane during the late 1980s to early 1990s.
Keith’s summers at Camp Judaea were spent tirelessly devising ways to create innovative programming to teach the core values of Young Judaea – Zionism, Israel, and K’lal Yisrael.   One of Keith’s specialties were theme days in which the campers were given an opportunity to experience life in the Israeli army, the journey of Ethiopian Jews in Operation Moses and other aspects of Israeli cultural and political life.  For those of us who worked with him during that time and for many campers he is most remembered for his imaginative and hilarious skits during Friday night oneg. They were legendary, and if you were selected by Keith to join in, it was considered a badge of honor. His legacy at Camp Judaea is difficult to put into words-he stands as an inspiration and an example of bringing informal and experiential education to CJ – instilling in our campers a love of Israel and the Jewish People.
He returned to Camp Judaea for the 50th Anniversary Celebration in August, 2011. Keith loved being back at the place he called home. He was thrilled to hear about the new cabins and made the largest donation of his life to help CJ grow and continue with its mission. For some of us who were his friends, it was that last time we would ever see him.
In many ways Keith was a larger than life figure. He was the most ardent Zionist any of us ever knew. He never tired of discussing his latest creative idea or connecting with friends old and new. Starting from when he was a kid in college to the moment he died, his mission was to get as many young adults as possible to Israel, to be inspired by the country, to connect to their Jewish soul, and to have a life changing experience. The number of youth he inspired with a love of Israel is countless.
It is truly hard to believe such a person can be gone.  Keith Berman‘s legacy and the way he “lived ideology” should inspire us all to live lives of purpose and meaning – to make a difference in our lives and friends and family, a difference in a young Jewish person’s life and a difference for the State of Israel.