Monthly Archives: July 2016

Shabbat Shalom CJ Family and Friends!

Shabbat Shalom CJ Family and Friends!

Here we are again– getting ready to welcome Shabbat for one last time as a camp community this summer.  

IMG_0647Last Sunday we enjoyed another day of trips.  Tsofim, Kesher, and Bogrim had successful overnight campouts in Pisgah National Forest while Offarim went to Tweetsie Railroad and Oranim and Sayarim went thrill-seeking at Dollywood.

Monday morning our gates opened for the final time this summer to welcome our fourth group of Rishonim campers from Taste of CJ Gimel!  17 new campers arrived, unpacked, and jumped right into the swing of things and enjoying their ten days at camp.

The rest of the campers in camp had the privilege to learn and play basketball with Israeli professional basketball star, Lior Lipschitz.  They ran drills, had competitive scrimmages, and perfected their skills.

Wednesday afternoon we welcomed the Israel Scouts Friendship Caravan to CJ!  They treated us with an inspiring musical performance.  Everyone got to dance and sing along with the Scouts in the Beit Haam.  Their message promotes friendship, peace, and understanding of different cultures, so it was the perfect fit for Camp Judaea.

Our Bogrim campers had been working all session to write, direct, and rehearse their Hatzagah, dance, and original song.  Thursday they were able to perform their hard work in front of the whole CJ community.  Everyone was laughing and cheering them on!  We are very proud of all of the work they put into the production, and we know they were also proud of themselves.

We were very pleased to welcome about fifteen special guests to Camp Judaea Thursday evening. After attending the Hadassah National Convention in Atlanta, GA all week, some very dedicated Hadassah national and regional leaders made the trip up to CJ to celebrate Yom Hadassah with all of our Second Session campers.  They took a tour of our growing camp, had dinner with chanichim and madrichim, and even got to participate in their own Omanut peulah led by Marnie and the Omanut staff during which they made beautiful “Tree of Life” wall hangings.  We are very grateful to the women and friends of Hadassah for all that they do to support Camp Judaea year after year.

This year, CJ added a new activity to our program.  We hope you’ll read this article all about the Chizuk activity written by CJ’s first ever Chizuk Fellow, Sarah Noyovitz.

Today Kesher will plan and present our final Kabbalat Shabbat of the summer.  Tonight our campers and staff will adorn white for this memorable evening.  It is bittersweet to be celebrating our last Shabbat together this summer, but we know it will be beautiful and meaningful.

Though the summer may seem to be winding down, our schedule certainly is not!  Coming up soon, we will have Bikkurim, the performance of the campwide hatzagah (play), full days of rotational activities, and, of course, the traditional CJ banquet.  

Please be sure to check out this episode of CJ News!  You don’t want to miss it.

CAMP JUDAEA NEWS 2016 – WEEK 7 from Camp Judaea on Vimeo


Introducing Chizuk – Strengthening Connections to Prayers

Written by: Sarah Noyovitz, Chizuk Fellow

My name is Sarah Noyovitz (though I’m fondly known around camp as Snoyo), and this is my first year at Camp Judaea! I am a third-year rabbinical student and Jewish educator from Boston, and I became connected with CJ through the JCC Association’s Chizuk Fellowship. Chizuk is the Hebrew word for “strengthening,” and the fellowship matches Jewish educators with Jewish camps looking to strengthen a part of the camp’s Jewish culture. This summer, my focus is on t’filot (prayers) and finding meaning in them.

modeh ani posterCamp has added a special peulah (activity) during the daily schedule called Chizuk so that I can meet with every camper one to three times per session. The goal of my activities is to have fun while becoming more fluent with the prayers. Some of our activities have included playing T’filah Memory in which campers have to sing lines of prayers and find the person with a line from the same prayer; debating which prayers we would keep if we created a new siddur (prayer book); and writing new prayers that reflect personal values which campers then share during camp t’filot. The campers have been participating in Chizuk activities with z’rizut (zest and zeal)!

havdalah cupsI’ve also stepped into a role as coordinator and organizer for daily and Shabbat t’filot, working to improve the process and make it a more enjoyable and spiritual experience for everyone. For example, I made every eda (age group) their own havdalah (end of Shabbat ceremony) kit, complete with brand new kiddush cups (ritual wine cups) that I hand painted, so every eda gets their own sizzle when the candle is extinguished in the juice!

For daily t’filot this summer, cabins have been receiving personal invitations to lead services – a card with their upcoming date as well as space to write down their “totally rad theme” and the cabin’s choice for an Adon Olam tune. And there are now helpful page number cheat sheets: small laminated cards that show the order of the service prayers, the page numbers, and little arrows to let the leading cabin know when to tell the community to rise or be seated.

t'filot oranimMany of the counselors and campers have also been commenting about how much they like t’filot with the addition of my guitar! I have been a Jewish and professional songleader for over a decade, and music is important to me in a prayer setting. I’m thrilled to be able to share that musical spirituality with camp (although without guitar on Shabbat, of course!).

Perhaps most notably, I brought a new song to camp t’filot: a high-energy tune for Ashrei written by one of my role models in Jewish music, Peri Smilow. It quickly became a camp favorite at the start of both sessions, and adopting this “new Ashrei” as camp tradition was even the focus of the first-session Kesher hatzagah (play). Campers often break into singing Ashrei when they see me, and when I said goodbye to first-session campers at the airport, they all sang it down the hall to board the plane. (Are they singing it at home too?) May the osher (happiness) of Ashrei spread to every camper’s home community!

Working at CJ and meeting all the wonderful campers and staff has certainly enriched my life, and I’ll carry every bit of it home with me at the end of the summer.chizuk rishonim

Second Shabbat of Second Session!

What a week it has been!

After celebrating our first Shabbat together, Kesher hit the road for a week of exploration and learning in New York City. Kesher’s theme is “Jewish Identity,” so the activities and itinerary were planned with that in mind as they squeezed many meaningful stops into their trip including: various museums, Temple Emanu-El, the New Jewish Home, Coney Island, Ellis Island, the Bronx Zoo, Broadway, and Ground Zero. They arrived back in camp early this morning, and we can’t wait to hear all of their stories.

On Sunday morning, the rest of the edot in camp packed up and headed out on trips! Offarim, Oranim, and Sayarim visited different nature programs before setting up camp in Pisgah National Forest for their overnight campout. They hiked to a nearby waterfall and had a great time! Rishonim spent the day at Tweetsie Railroad while Tsofim and Bogrim braved the roller-coasters at Carowinds, and Chalutzim went white-water rafting on the French Broad River. Everyone returned to camp happy and exhausted.

On Tuesday evening, the campers were treated to Erev Tzofim! Our Israeli Mishlachat, led by Noa and Omer, our summer Tzofim, planned an outdoor carnival with a variety of scouting activities, music, and a whole lot of ruach. Thanks to Sivan, our Young Judaea Shlicha, our Tzofim, and all of our Israeli mischlachat (delegation) members for planning this relaxing, adventurous and fun-filled program.

Wednesday morning started extra early for our Chalutzim campers as they geared up, strapped on their boots and backpacks, and departed for their 10-day Outward Bound trek in the Pisgah National Forest in the Linville Gorge area of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We know that they will all come back from this potentially life-changing experience with countless stories, memories, and skills. We are very proud of each of them and are excited to hear all their stories when they return to Camp next Friday in time for Shabbat.

Our Tsofim campers (incoming 7th graders) traveled to Camp Highlander to participate in an inter-camp sports day with five other camps called Campstock. The group met with other campers, watched and cheered at activities, and competed in some of the events. The dress code was “tie dye,” so all of our Tsofim eda were able to make tie dye shirts last week in preparation for this competition day. Thanks to Tsofim for representing Camp Judaea at Campstock!

Yesterday we waved goodbye to the Rishonim campers from Taste of CJ Bet after 10 incredible and fun-filled days with us! They will definitely be missed, and we hope to welcome them back to CJ next summer. On Monday we will meet new Rishonim campers and begin Taste of CJ Gimel. We can’t wait!

Last night, we hosted Jewish rock star, Rick Recht, in the Beit Ha’am. The whole camp joined Rick in the Beit Ha’am for a concert. We were all very excited to host Rick, who is a celebrated Jewish artist, Jewish educator, and businessman– he founded Jewish Rock Radio! The campers were able to dance and sing along to his tunes, join him onstage for a jam session, and mingle with him to ask questions. It was a special evening for us all!

Today our Bogrim and Offarim edot are working in tandem to plan this weekend’s Kabbalat Shabbat. Since pairing the groups with their BO’s (Bogie/Offie partners) last week, they’ve been begging to spend more time together! We are very much looking forward to watching them lead t’fillot tonight and tomorrow morning.

As the afternoon wears on and Shabbat gets closer, it has been nice to look back on all that we have accomplished in the last seven days. Everyone is happy and looking forward to slowing down and having a restful Shabbat and then transitioning into a brand new week. The fun doesn’t stop; in the coming days, we have more trips, guests, and special events (Hint: the Israel Scouts Friendship Caravan is on its way!) to look forward to. But for now, we wish you Shabbat Shalom.

Please enjoy the highlights from the week in this episode of CJ News!

CAMP JUDAEA NEWS 2016 – WEEK 6 from Camp Judaea on Vimeo.


Shabbat Shalom from Second Session!

Shalom CJ Family,

As our campers prepare for our first Kabbalat Shabbat, it’s time to reflect back on this first week of Camp.  It’s hard to believe that so much has happened in such a short amount of time, and yet, we are ready to wake up tomorrow and start it all over again!

After tearful goodbyes to our First Session campers, we quickly turned things around to welcome our Second Session families over the weekend.  We hosted two well-attended receptions and information sessions at the Hampton Inn in Hendersonville on Sunday afternoon.  It was wonderful to see the familiar and new faces of our excited campers– and their parents, of course– and catch up before Opening Day.

cjshoot.7.10-2818Just before 9am on Monday morning, our gates opened to live Israeli music, dancing, and eager campers flooding the entrance.  After everyone was settled into their cabins, we proudly broke ground on our new Chadar Ochel and celebrated with our Board members and guests.  Campers, parents and alumni snapped up CJ t-shirts, water bottles, hats, and more throughout the day — everyone loves to wear our swag throughout the year!  Thanks to all who supported camp by purchasing CJ sportswear.

Since we said farewell to parents and guests, our campers and staff members have been enjoying non-stop fun!  They jumped right into the swing of things– swimming, singing, dancing, playing sports, and of course, learning.  Three full days of rotational activities (six per day) plus two chuggim (electives) per day and three peulot eda (unit activities) and three tochniot erev (nighttime activities) equals a whole lot of opportunity for fun!  Keeping busy with outrageously fun activities has helped to cure any initial homesickness, and everyone is having a great time.

IMG_1582On Wednesday night the Kesher eda performed their hatzaga for the entire camp!  They worked with our rikkud instructor, Michal, to choreograph and perfect a dance and with our shira counselor, Ilana, to learn a song to sing to the audience.  Their hatzaga was called “Night at the Beit Ha’am” and modeled after “Night at the Museum.”  Instead of historical figures and animals coming to life, the Bikkurim plaques that hang in the Beit Ha’am came to life, and the Kesher campers and staff had to save camp!  Everyone had a blast.

Last night was an extra special evening for our Offarim and Bogrim campers.  Our young Offies were awakened by their Bogrim big brothers and big sisters for their BO reveal.  Each session, we pair up our youngest and oldest 25 day campers as big brothers/big sisters.  They get to enjoy s’mores at a campfire, get to know each other, and learn BO cheers and songs.  This morning, they were surprised once again when they found out they’d be going BO-Bowling!  Throughout the session, the Bogrim continue to provide mentorship, leadership and nurturing to their “littles.”

We just welcomed the rest of our Chalutzim campers “home” to CJ this afternoon from First Session at Tel Yehudah, our senior camp in Barryville, NY.  They will be with us for Shabbat and a few days following before they embark on their 10-day Outward Bound trek in the Pisgah National Forest in the Linville Gorge area of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This area is known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” The Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountain Range. More than 200 million years old, the Appalachian Mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. The highest mountains east of the Mississippi River can be found here with peaks reaching from 4,000 to 6,684 feet. This area contains some of the best stands of uncut forest in the southern Appalachian range. Our campers will find old-growth Hemlock and Yellow Poplar as well as an abundance of rare plants and animals. They may even see a Peregrine falcon, an endangered species that was reintroduced to the area in the 1980s.  We are extremely excited for our Chalutzim campers and know they will have the time of their life on this custom-designed North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) trek.  Camp Judaea’s Chalutzim experience is one of NCOBS’s oldest custom programs.  

This evening, our Sayarim campers will lead us at Kabbalat Shabbat as we welcome in Shabbat with beautiful singing and dancing. Sayarim campers and staff will also then lead t’fillot tonight and tomorrow morning.  

Looking ahead, Kesher will depart for New York City Saturday night after Havdallah.  They have amazing itineraries planned by their Trip Director and Merakezet.  Then on Sunday, the rest of camp will head out on overnight campouts and day trips.  Everyone is excited for all of the adventures ahead of us after a relaxing and meaningful Shabbat!

Please enjoy the this week’s episode of CJ News!

CAMP JUDAEA NEWS 2016 – WEEK 1 second session from Camp Judaea on Vimeo.

Shabbat Shalom from your Camp Judaea Family!

First Session 2016 Wrap-Up

By now, our first session campers have been reunited with their families and are moving on to the next phase of their summer vacations. We know our first session parents are dying to know every exciting detail about your child’s month here at CJ. One of the biggest complaints that we get is that when parents ask their children how camp was, they respond with a grunt— “good”— before passing out and sleeping for the next day and a half. Here are a few questions and topics to bring up to help combat the CJ Blues and get your campers talking…and we know they can talk!

How many times did you go down the zip-line? Climb the tower?
What was your favorite meal?
Who was your bunkmate?
Where did you go on your day trip?
Which chuggim (electives) did you choose?
What did you learn during Bikkurim?
Ask them to teach you their favorite cheers.
What was your favorite Midah (Jewish value) that we learned?
Ask them to sing one of the songs they learned in shira (the singing activity) with you.
What was their funniest moment at camp?

We hope this gets the conversation flowing for you! If your camper has extra cute or funny responses, we’d love to hear them! Email Elana:

Opening Day Pamphlet

For all of you who came through the gates on Opening Day, you were given a packet of information about the many exciting things that we are doing here at Camp Judaea. In addition to the new Chadar Ochel that will be in place next year (all of your campers were so excited to hear about it!), in the years to come we will be building a new Cabin Village, a new Arts Center, adding a teaching and sports pool as a part of our Aquatics Center, and expanding our Beit Knesset to make sure all of our campers can have enough room to worship everyday. Please look through the Opening Day Pamphlet and feel free to contact Matt Gross at with any questions.

We are happy to announce that early enrollment for Summer 2017 is now OPEN. We invite you to apply and enroll early before spaces fill up!  The Early Bird Discount applies to those who enroll before 10/01/16.

Dates and Fees for 2017 can be viewed on our website under the Current Families tab.  Scroll down below the 2016 dates and you will see next year’s information.  Applications for enrollment can be filled out through your CampInTouch account on our website.  Click HERE to enroll your camper today!

We also hope you’ll share the weekly CJ News videos with your campers, as they have not had the chance to see the finished products while here at Camp. All of the videos from first session are located in this folder on our Vimeo Channel.  The final video of First Session is attached below! 

CAMP JUDAEA NEWS 2016 – FINAL WEEK – First Session from Camp Judaea on Vimeo.


Shabbat Shalom from your CJ Family!

Another Great Week at Camp Judaea

Here we are getting ready for our third and final Shabbat of First Session– can you believe another week has gone by? So many activities happen every day, and we want to share some of the highlights with you!

overnightLast Sunday, the groups hit the road again; Offarim, Oranim, and Sayarim enjoyed amusement parks while Tsofim, Kesher, and Bogrim packed their gear for a campout overnight. Everyone returned to camp exhausted, but having had a wonderful time.

Monday morning was extra exciting as we welcomed 10 new Rishonim campers to our Taste of CJ Daled session! Their first few days have been full of activities and new experiences.taste daled

All day Tuesday, the Kesher group prepared for their Hatzaga (play) which they based off of The Fiddler On The Roof, the musical they saw on Broadway the week before. Their rendition of “If I Were a Rich Man” was re-written as “If I Was a [camp] Director!” They performed the play along with a dance and eda song in front of the entire camp on Tuesday evening. Everyone really enjoyed their performance!

Wednesday evening, we found out that camp had been invaded by GIANT bumblebees! We had to call in expert beekeepers and bee-catchers to help contain the problem. When they arrived, though, we noticed there was something rather familiar about our visitors…


Before we had enough time to question, Red Team, Blue Team, White Team, and Green Team captains came running and yelling across the field to announce that it was Bikkurim (Color War!) The bees mysteriously disappeared…

bikkurimAll day Thursday the four teams competed in sports, trivia, and cheering activities that were centered around the Middot, or values, that make a mensch. Each of the four colors which were given two middot on which to focus their ruach:

White– Gevurah גבורה (Will Power) and Malchut מלכות (Wonder)

Red– Ahava אהבה (Love) and Histakr’nut הִסתַקרְנוּת (Curiosity)

Green– Ometz Lev אומץ לב (Courage) and Rodef Shalom רודף שלום (Pursuit of Peace)

Blue– Hochma חוכמה (Wisdom) and Emunah אמונה (Conviction)

After a long day of neck-and-neck competition, the Blue Team was crowned victorious. It was a great day for everyone in camp, and we thank all of the staff members who worked tirelessly to plan the whole event!blue team

Tonight we will welcome Shabbat for the last time this session. We are trying to bring back the tradition of a “White” Shabbat where everyone comes to Kabbalat Shabbat dressed in white. We think it will be a beautiful sight in the amphitheatre overlooking the lake. We are looking forward to spending the day tomorrow soaking up our last camp Shabbat of first session before returning to the busy fun on Sunday.

In the week ahead, we will cheer on the Bogies as they write, direct, and perform their Hatzaga. We will also be treated to a Billy Jonas concert, the camp-wide Hatzaga, and, of course, a very special banquet night on the last evening of camp.

Make sure you check out this week’s CJ News!  We know you’ll enjoy it!  Shabbat Shalom…

CAMP JUDAEA NEWS 2016 – WEEK 3 from Camp Judaea on Vimeo.