Category Archives: Summer Camp News


See Why Teens are Choosing to Make a Difference with Camp Judaea’s TIKKUN Program!

Impact. Leadership. Bonding.

Sadie helping with a home demolition in Columbia, South Carolina

“Tikkun was a wonderful experience where we got to see how the less fortunate live and the results of natural disasters long term. We as a group were able to help by devoting time and energy to our projects. Building someone’s house was an experience I will not soon forget.”


Joshua working to write a peulah at CJ

“The Tikkun program at Camp Judaea was an experience that I will always treasure. Being able to go hands-on and actually see the change I am making in a person’s life, is so inspiring that I wish I could do it over and over again until everyone is helped. Although it was far away from camp, we still felt like a part of the Camp Judaea community. This opportunity to volunteer allowed me to shift from being a camper to hopefully becoming a counselor and start helping the children at Camp Judaea.”


Skyler (right) and Melissa Stein

“Every summer at CJ, my friends and I learned the importance of supporting one another along with helping our community. During Tikkun we got to utilize these skills and lessons to give back to the community in an intimate and hands on way. I can’t think of a better manner in which to conclude my time as a camper at Camp Judaea. Not only did I bond and grow closer to my best friends, we also got to work together to accomplish something absolutely incredible. My time in South Carolina was the most fulfilling experience I have ever had and I recommend it to anyone looking to push themselves and help those who not only need it, but deserve it.”


Charlie (front) with Jonathan Spier

“Tikkun is a great program to spend your summer in because it requires the leadership that is necessary in order to make the transition from camper to staff. For our experience, five days of the Tikkun program were spent fixing houses that were damaged because of natural disasters in South Carolina, but for the rest of the program we spent our time in camp being the Tikkun role models for all the other little campers spreading אהבה ןתיקון עולם (love and doing good) around Camp Judea. Yes this program was lots of fun, but it also prepared me for my future in being a leader.”


Who: Rising 11th Graders

What: Community Service and Leadership program in partnership with the St. Bernard Project

When: Pick the Session that’s Right for You!

  • First Session: Tuesday, June 11 – Wednesday, June 26, 2019
  • Second Session: Wednesday, July 17 – Thursday, August 1, 2019

Where: Camp Judaea – Columbia, SC – Asheville, NC- Hendersonville, NC

2019 Financial Aid Opportunities

Dear Camp Judaea Families,

We have put together a list of potential grant and financial aid opportunities available to our families for Summer 2019. We hope it will assist you in the process of finding financial aid. We suggest contacting your local Federations, synagogues, and Jewish Children and Family Services organizations to explore their scholarship opportunities. This list will be updated as we learn more about applications opening, deadlines, and contact information.  Thank you for your patience.

CAMP JUDAEA CAMPERS:  The Camp Judaea Scholarship Application is now available. All families interested in applying for financial assistance through the Camp Judaea Scholarship Application must be on a payment plan with Camp Judaea. To set up your payment plan, please contact Gayle Kaplan at 404-634-7883 or gayle@campjudaea.orgDeadline to apply: February 1, 2019. Click Here to Apply. If you have questions about your application or your FACTS account, please contact FACTS at 866.412.4637 

PJ LIBRARY: PJ Goes to Camp is now open for 2019! Families interested in applying for a PJ Goes to Camp grant can request a PJ Goes to Camp / One Happy Camper access code by visiting our web page at

That web page contains the rules and eligibility requirements of the One Happy Camper / PJ Goes to Camp program.  It also includes an FAQ section with answers to most questions we receive about our program.  If the answer to your inquiry that generated this auto-reply is on that page, you will NOT receive a response from our program team.

The specific eligibility of any individual is determined only in response to your request for a One Happy Camper access code.  However, if you are from a PJ Library family, a first time camper, and are attending a participating camp, it is very likely that you are eligible for a grant.

Although the level of inquires is high, you can expect an answer to your e-mail inquiry within two work days.  If your questions requires an immediate answer, we can also be reached by phone (413-276-0735), but it is likely you will be asked to leave a message.

ONE HAPPY CAMPER GRANT: First Time Campers: 

Your child may be eligible for a need-blind grant of up to $1000 this summer! With over 155 traditional and specialty programs to choose from, there is a perfect camp out there for child. Click Here to Learn more about One Happy Camper grants, whether you’re eligible, and how to apply. **Atlanta-area campers may also be eligible for a Second-Year One Happy Camper Grant.**

ATLANTA, GA RESIDENTS: Needs-Based Scholarship: The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Camp Scholarship Program helps families in metro Atlanta with the cost of overnight camp tuition. Camp scholarships are based on financial need and are awarded by the Camp Scholarship Committee as a part of an anonymous review and allocation process. All applications and inquiries are confidential. The camp scholarship program is funded through the generosity of individual donors, grants from charitable foundations, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Annual Campaign. Click Here for more information.

If you have questions, please contact Rabba Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez, Community Camp Ambassador

BROWARD COUNTY, FL RESIDENTS: Orloff CAJE provides need-based financial assistance for Jewish overnight camps to families residing in Broward County, on behalf of The Jewish Federation of Broward County, the Jewish Community Foundation and the Sonenshein Fund for Jewish Sleep Away Camps. Complete the application and return it, together with a complete copy of your most recent income tax return, prior to March 1. One Happy Camper is also available. Campers who received a One Happy Camper grant ( may also apply for need based financial assistance. Please contact Rochelle Baltuch – or at 954-660-2077.

MIAMI – DADE, FL RESIDENTS:  The Greater Miami Jewish Overnight Summer Camp Scholarship is available. CLICK HERE to apply! If you have questions, contact Inbar Cohen at 786.866.8431 or

PALM BEACH COUNTY and BOYNTON BEACH NORTH through MARTIN COUNTY, FL RESIDENTS:  The Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County provides up to $1,500 in camp scholarship for children who demonstrate financial need (for up to a maximum of 3 summers). The camp scholarship applications will be available for completion first thing in January 2019 and will be due, including all supporting paperwork, the first week in February. For more information or to access the application, please click here. Contact Samantha Miller Community Planning Associate 561.242.6608 or

BOCA RATON, DELRAY BEACH, and HIGHLAND BEACH, FL:  The Ruth and Norman Rales Jewish Family Service Center for Families and Children offers scholarship assistance to camp families who qualify and live in their service area of Delray Beach and Boca Raton.  Contact Shari Cohen at 561-852-3171 or for more information.

CHARLESTON, SC RESIDENTS: Financial aid for Charleston-based campers is available.  Please contact Sara Chesley at or call 843-614-6491 for free and confidential assistance.

ALABAMA, ARKANSAS, LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI, OKLAHOMA, TEXAS or TENNESSEE RESIDENTS:  Application available beginning November 1st at  Priority funding will be distributed by February 15, 2019. Applications will still be accepted following that date, but funds may be limited. If you have questions regarding your application, please contact Janice Zazulak at or (504) 828-6334.

INDEPENDENT COMMUNITIES: Thanks to the generosity of The Michael and Anita Siegal One Happy Camper Fund, six $1,000 incentive grants are available. Any Jewish child who would like to have a first-time experience at a Jewish overnight camp and who lives in a community that is part of JFNA’s Network of Independent Communities (small, outlying Jewish communities) is eligible to apply. The 2019 application is not yet available, but we will update this post once it is liveIn the meantime, if you have questions regarding the One Happy Camper grant application process for Network communities, please contact Edward Finkel, JFNA/Network Regional Director, at (212) 284-6530 or by e-mail at

LOUISIANA, MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA and FLORIDA PANHANDLE RESIDENTS: The Goldring Family Foundation wants to make this lifetime experience available to every Jewish child. Each of your children is eligible for a one-time-only incentive grant of up to $1,500* to attend a nonprofit Jewish summer camp. To meet the criteria for JEF funding, children must be:

  • First-time campers at a nonprofit Jewish sleep-away camp;
  • Currently in grades 1 through 9;
  • Residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or the Florida Panhandle.

Grants are not based on financial need. Both parents need not be Jewish. Temple or synagogue affiliation is not required.  Click here for more information or to apply. For more information, please contact Ellen Abrams at 504-524-4559 or

PINELLAS AND PASCO COUNTY, FL RESIDENTS:  The Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco County and the Covenant Fund are offering need-based camp scholarships for the 2019 camping season. Click here for information or to apply. For information or assistance, please call 727-530-3223.

BIRMINGHAM, AL RESIDENTS:  The Birmingham Jewish Federation offers limited need-based camp scholarships. To learn more about how to apply, contact Lynn Rathmell from Collat Jewish Family Services or 205.278-7105.

GREENSBORO, NC RESIDENTS:  Grants and Financial Assistance, including the The Greensboro Jewish Federation Stanley Shavitz Camp Judaea Camper Incentive Grant, are available only for Greensboro residents who are contributing members of the Greensboro Jewish Federation. Contact Hannah Henza, Program Coordinator of Greensboro Jewish Federation, or Betsy Gamburg, Director of Jewish Family Services, about any aspect of this information.

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENTS:  The WNC Jewish Federation offers need-based financial aid. Download the information and application.

JEWISH FEDERATION and FOUNDATION OF NASHVILLE AND MIDDLE TENNESSEE:  The Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee realizes the importance of building Jewish life and makes available on a need basis financial assistance for students to attend Jewish summer camps.  To request information on summer camp opportunities or for a scholarship application, please contact Becky Gunn at the Jewish Federation office, 615-356-1624, or by email,

JEWISH FEDERATION of SARASOTA-MANATEE:  The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, in partnership with local philanthropists, offers incentive grants for Jewish children planning to attend not-for-profit Jewish overnight camps for the summer.  There will be need-based and need-blind grants available. Applications open November 1st and the deadline is January 25th, 2019.  Click here for more information or to apply!  Contact Andrea Eiffert at or 941-552-6308.

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES:  Please check with your local synagogues and Federations for opportunities that may be available to your family. As a reminder, this year One Happy Camper grants are generally offered only through PJ Library and specific local Jewish Federations.
If you know of any opportunities that are available, but not listed here, please email Camp Judaea at

Reminder: Most granting agencies that award funds on a needs basis want to know that families have made arrangements with Camp Judaea to cover a portion of the tuition prior to applying for scholarship. If you have not already, please ensure that you have a payment plan with camp that covers a good portion of your balance. When applying for assistance, agencies will want to know that you have approached multiple sources for assistance. Besides the places listed above, synagogues and Jewish Family Services are also good places to try. We understand this process can be confusing and frustrating at times. We would like this process to be as easy as possible. If you have questions regarding the scholarship process, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 404-634-7883 or

Please consider supporting Camp Judaea Scholarships.  You can donate here or contact us at 404-634-7883 or Your contribution is tax-deductible!

A Shabbat Message to Young Judaea Families

Dear Young Judaea Parents,

We write to you today as your camp directors, educators, Jewish leaders, and parents. We share in the grief and pain of the devastating shooting in Pittsburgh.

As Young Judaea camps, in times of crisis our instincts guide us back to the place we feel safe: camp. Camp is that one place in the world where good always wins over evil, where love conquers hate, where values are celebrated, and where diversity is appreciated. These are troubling times for all of us, but children especially are challenged by these tragedies that simply don’t make sense. We wish we could bring all our campers back to camp to celebrate this Shabbat together and close the gates to the outside world. Since we cannot, we hope this email will help you bring camp to your Shabbat table as you tackle this difficult conversation.

Whether you celebrate Shabbat every week, once in a while, or never, we encourage you to take the time to sit down together as a family for Shabbat dinner this week. The Shabbat table, filled with tasty food, warm challah, and Shabbat candles sets the stage for any conversation. Just asking your kids to share their thoughts will open an honest dialogue. Children might not understand the complexities of the environment in which we live, but they can understand hate and they know the difference between evil and good. We have found that even our youngest campers can grasp that when bad things happen, a strong sense of community is needed. At camp we have all witnessed the enormous power of the camp community gathering together to support one another through conversation, prayer, song, and simply being together when someone has experienced loss or pain.

Sometimes children feel the need to react – to try to right the wrong or fix the problem. Perhaps suggest writing a letter to families in Pittsburgh, making a commitment to stop hate, or lighting a candle for the victims. Giving your children an outlet to express themselves will empower them to understand that even though they are young, they are not powerless. They can affect change whether it’s through daily acts of kindness, speaking out for those who can’t, or simply by giving a hug to a friend in need.

Shabbat, the day of rest, is the ideal backdrop to talk about peace. At camp we use this time for reflection and to check in with our campers. Through a simple game of Roses and Thorns, your children can discuss their “highs” (roses) and “lows” (thorns) of their week. These conversations can lead to the question, “What is one thing I can do to make the world a better place?” and help to develop a culture of open conversations. In turn our children will feel that they have a voice and are being heard. We have included some links below to help navigate these sometimes difficult conversations.

This week when we light our Shabbat candles, our thoughts will be with the Pittsburgh community and with all of you. We pray for the world to heal and for love to conquer hate. We pray our children will never have to live through another week like this, and that together we build a better world.

Shabbat Shalom,
Robin Anderson, Director, CYJ Midwest
Helene Drobenare Horwitz, Executive Director, Sprout Camps
Frank Silberlicht, Director, CYJ Texas
Walter Synalovski, Executive Director, Camp Judaea
David Weinstein, Director, Tel Yehudah

Camp Counselor: The Best Internship I Ever Had

Submitted By: Rachel Wasserman, Camp Judaea Head of Aquatics 2018

Recently, I sat down with Career and Life Planning at my college to review my resume. My advisor asked me to write down all of my experience, and I immediately started listing my roles from four different camping seasons at two different camps. I did not spend my summers fetching coffee for executives in a company, but instead I created real relationships and developed connections with the future of America. I have talked in front of 1000 ten through twelve-year-olds. I have organized activities for 300 campers at one time, making sure to accommodate for different abilities. I have dragged myself out of bed and put a smile on my face on the days that my body didn’t think it could. My advisor asked, “Why should someone hire you?”

If you went to camp, or worked at camp, you know the variety of valuable skills you learned at camp. You learned collaboration and conflict resolution. Without realizing it, you developed emotional intelligence and became great at public speaking. Throughout the summer, you learned about yourself; who you are, your values, and your goals. And for an added bonus, you networked and connected with other future professionals. The sports and rec counselor? He might be your doctor one day. The climbing instructor? He’s studying to be a teacher. The lifeguard? She might just become the next PR professional.

Companies want to hire former camp counselors because we are strong communicators, we are problem solvers, and we understand teamwork and flexibility. We are comfortable with taking risks, knowing there is a possibility that we might fail. As a former camp counselor, I know I can accept responsibility. After all, I have spent four summers accepting the responsibility of looking after the next generation of employees.

I am a graduating senior at Rollins College, studying philosophy and communication, with a concentration in public relations and a minor in Jewish studies. That is a mouthful to say, and honestly, I am not entirely sure what I want to do with it. However, I know I will excel at whatever I choose to do, because of my experience working at summer camp.

Camp Judaea Launches TIKKUN for Rising 11th Graders

Enroll Now!

Tikkun aims to offer our campers a continued experience at Camp Judaea based on a combination of leadership training and community service. Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, is a value that we practice at camp and hope to instill in our chanichim and tsevet. This program will be an opportunity to apply this practice and provide experience that will help participants emerge as leaders and dugma’ot ishiot (role models) — and eventually great madrichim at CJ.

We are thrilled to pilot this program with our campers’ TY summer in mind. Tikkun will begin on July 18th, after the completion of Tel Yehudah’s first session. Campers are not required to attend Tel Yehudah to attend this program.

Tikkun will include service learning, leadership development, and time to enjoy being a camper at CJ! A program highlight will be a trip to Columbia, SC for a six-day service learning mission. Our campers will be working with Saint Bernard Project (SBP), a non-profit organization committed to natural disaster relief and rebuilding. SBP has been in Columbia, SC since October 2015 aiding families who were affected by severe floods. To date, SBP has restored over 50 homes and still has a waiting list of close to 1000 families. During their stay in Columbia, campers and staff will be staying in dorm rooms at the University of South Carolina and enjoying kosher meals prepared in cooperation with Beth Shalom Synagogue. We are still finalizing additional details for this trip and working with partner organizations in the Columbia area to explore additional recreational and educational activities for that week.

Campers will be engaging in community service a total of 40 hours over the course of the program. Certificates of community service hours completed will be presented to campers at the end of the program.

Limited spots are available.

Details at-a-glance

Rates and Dates:
July 18-August 2
Tuition: $2750 (early bird) and $2850 (after October 31)

Schedule Overview:

July 18-July 21 Group bonding, pre-trip preparation, preparing Friday afternoon and Saturday activities for the rest of camp, preparing proposals for legacy projects to be completed during the last week of camp.

July 22-July 27 Volunteering on site in Columbia, SC with the St. Bernard Project. Housing will be in dorm rooms at the University of South Carolina. Kosher dinners will be eaten at Beth Shalom Synagogue.

July 27-August 2 Back at CJ for the last Shabbat, legacy projects at camp

Click Here to Enroll for Tikkun

Camp Judaea Acquires a New Torah

This year, Camp Judaea had an opportunity to purchase a very old and well-loved Torah from a small and shrinking congregation in New Castle, Pennsylvania called Temple Hadar Israel. The Jewish history of New Castle, PA dates back to the mid-1800’s and Temple Hadar Israel originally began in the mid-1870’s as a small minyan held in congregants’ homes. From there it grew to a congregation of several hundred with youth activities and a religious school. However, by the 1960’s the Jewish population in New Castle was dwindling and in 2015, Temple Hadar Israel sold its building to a local business owner. The congregation still gathers in the space occasionally, but decided to sell their one of their Torahs to a community where it would be cherished.

We were matched with this congregation through a partnership with the Jewish Community Legacy Project which is a resource for small congregations located outside of metropolitan areas that have an aging population and dwindling leadership and a desire to insure their legacy.

After we purchased the Torah, it was sent to be restored in Florida through an organization called Sofer on Site. We got some incredible action-shots of our very own Torah as the Sofer worked to restore it to a condition suitable for our community.

The Torah made its way up to Hendersonville before the summer kicked off. The CJ community enjoyed the Torah on two very special mornings during which we celebrated B’nai Mitzvot of some of our campers. We will continue to treasure the new addition to the CJ community and our journey with Jewish Community Legacy Project, and we look forward to many future simchas with our Torah.

Leah Perez (Bogrim 2018)

Ethan Fisch (Kesher 2018)

Ayelet Baisburd (Bogrim 2019)

Camp Judaea Announces New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of Camp Judaea is thrilled to announce that professional camping legend and CJ alumnus Walter Synalovski is returning to CJ as Executive Director effective August 21, 2017. After serving as the Director of Camp Judaea from 1992 to 1995, Walter was the director of Cedar Lake Camp in Pennsylvania for 14 years and will complete his seventh year as the Director of Camp Mah-Kee-Nac in Massachusetts this summer.

“Camp Judaea holds such a special place in my heart and I am incredibly excited to return as Executive Director,” Synalovski said. “The Zionist mission of Camp Judaea still resonates with me today like it did when I spent the 1984-85 year participating in Young Judaea’s Year Course in Israel. For me to be able to bring my camping experience and leadership back to where it all started is truly wonderful. I’m coming home.”

Board Chair Sam Levy said, “Walter’s hire is a home run for Camp Judaea. He’s friendly, warm, and engaging; he has a wealth of camping experience; and he’s a CJ alumnus. It’s the perfect mix that we’ve been seeking, and we are beyond excited to have found an Executive Director to lead us into the future.” Jeremy J. Fingerman, CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, commented that “hiring Walter is great news for Camp Judaea and for the field of Jewish camp. Walter has earned a well-regarded and highly-respected reputation over his 25 years in the industry. We have confidence he will help continue the outstanding performance of CJ and will contribute much to the growth of the field.”

Walter is returning to CJ at an exciting time for the summer camp. Enrollment has grown to a record high, with 650 children slated to attend camp this summer. To accommodate the growth, CJ is upgrading its facilities, including building a new dining hall that will be ready for the summer of 2017. CJ also plans to add another cabin village, build a new arts center, and complete numerous other projects in the coming years. Synalovski marveled at how much camp has grown in the 22 years since his tenure as director in the 1990s. “The new cabins and brand new dining hall are state of the art. They show that the Board is committed to implementing the organization’s strategic plan. I know that camp will be in great hands under Leah Zigmond’s leadership this coming summer, and I look forward to working together with Leah starting in August to help CJ reach new heights.”

Walter was born in Puerto Rico and received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida International University. After attending Year Course and graduating from FIU, he worked in Miami as a Young Judaea Regional Director. He is fluent in English and Spanish and has two daughters, Lizzy (22) and Rachel (20).

Camp Judaea, located on 123 acres in beautiful Hendersonville, NC, is an independent not-for profit organization serving boys and girls ages 7-16. Camp Judaea’s mission is to provide a safe, fun, nurturing community where children, teens, and young adults grow as individuals, build lifelong friendships, develop leadership skills, and establish enduring connections with Judaism, Israel, and the natural environment.

8 Ways to get to Camp Judaea’s Alumni Camp

August 4-6, CJ young alumni are invited back to camp for a weekend of nostalgia, friends, and fun! For many of our participating alumni, it has been a while since they’ve had to fill out transportation forms and make their way to 48 Camp Judaea Lane. To help them make their arrangements, we’ve put together this list.

Camp Judaea Alumni ages 22-35, Don’t miss: Kabbalat Shabbat overlooking the lake, a hysterical oneg, late-night basketball, watching the softball game from the pool, Shabbat shira, an epic rikkud party, s’mores around a fire, bagel cheers, and more! Your favorite camp memories with all your camp friends in ONE weekend.

Bring your counselor, bring your bunkmate, bring your banquet date, bring your BO, bring your spouse (but don’t bring your kids!) and tell your boss you’re #GoingBacktoCJ2017!

Click here for more information about Camp Judaea Alumni Camp
Click here to register for Camp Judaea Alumni Camp– $199 until May 31st! After this date, price will go up to $240.

Contact Elana at with questions or for more info.

What’s New at CJ?

With our summer season just around the corner, the Camp Judaea team has been working around the clock to make sure that camp is ready to welcome our 140 staff members and 650 campers!

Graded “A” and Approved!

The new Chadar Ochel (dining hall) is officially “approved for use” by the State of North Carolina’s Health Department!!!!

Click here to view the photo album of the new Chadar Ochel progress from beginning to end…



Fishing in the lake at Camp Judaea has become one of our favorite activities– it’s among the most popular of chug (elective) selections! The lake is stocked with fish and ready for all sorts of fun!








Before last summer, we resurfaced our Kadur-Sal (Basketball) Courts. THIS SUMMER we have added a new shade and seating structure behind the courts. Audiences and fans will be able to watch the game comfortably, and it is also another great option for eda (unit) meeting places. Check it out!

And last but not least: Our wonderful maintenance team was kind and creative enough to add a Chicken Condo to our Kibbutz! Now our summer feathered friends will have another shelter and get plenty of climbing exercise!



We can’t wait to show off our beautiful camp and share our 57th summer with our CJ family!

Meet Bar Landy: Rishonim “Taste of CJ” Merakez

Bar Landy returns for his third summer at Camp Judaea from Jerusalem, Israel.

In 2015, he worked on the ropes team as an instructor and was part of Rishonim and Offarim.  He enjoyed his experience so much that he returned last summer and worked as a Rishonim counselor.

His favorite Camp Judaea activity is the traditional camp-wide “rikkud” (dance party) on the basketball courts Saturday nights after Havdallah.

While he counts down the days until summer 2017, Bar is working in a boutique chocolate factory. He enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time with his friends. In recent travels, Bar had the opportunity to sleep under the Northern Lights of Ireland!

Bar looks forward to meeting all of the newest Camp Judaea campers, welcoming them to the CJ family, and getting to lead their “Taste of Camp Judaea” experiences.