Today our Camp Staff are saying their last tearful good-byes to each other and heading back out to travel or prepare for the college year ahead. Last night after all our campers arrived safely at home, the CJ Staff celebrated a very successful summer with a scrumptious and memorable Staff Banquet. In addition to some very funny staff superlative awards (for example, Nadav Itzhaki and Celia Calhoun were awarded “Most Likely To Work At Grandads Apples”), we honored the memory of the late Keith Berman by presenting the inaugural Keith Berman Israel Educator Award to Amanda Shames and Sydney Levy. This Keith Berman award was generously established through a grant from Michele and Andrew Burger and annually honors outstanding American staff members who demonstrate outstanding passion, creativity and commitment to Zionist education at Camp Judaea.
Keith passed away earlier this year at the age of 48, but his legacy continues to live on at Camp Judaea. 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 passionately devising ways to create innovative programming to teach the core values of Young Judaea – Zionism, Israel, and K’lal Yisrael. Kol HaKavod Amanda and Sydney! It is your passion that inspires us all to be better Israel educators.
Noa Salutsky, our Ivrit Instructor this summer who is a member of the Israeli delegation was also recognized for her outstanding work in and out of the cabin in the field of pluralist Jewish education. Noa earned the ישראלי מחנך award which honors the Israeli delegation member who goes above and beyond their normal responsibilities as an Educator. Kol HaKavod Noa, AKA “Hebrew Woman” (our campers love learning Ivrit phrases from Noa and her team at Misdar Boker every morning).
Summer 2015 is officially over. We hope that as you surround yourself with family and friends and light shabbas candles around the table tonight, your children will recount many happy memories from both sessions at CJ. See you in 312 days right here at Camp Judaea!