A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping by Michael M. Lorge, Gary P. Zola

A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping by Michael M. Lorge, Gary P. Zola

By Michael M. Lorge, Gary P. Zola

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Extra info for A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping (Judaic Studies Series)

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The founders of Camp Yavneh in Northwood, New Hampshire, particularly bene¤ted from this buyers’ market: they purchased a sixty-acre camp site in 1943 that met all of their requirements and cost a mere $18,000. 55 But given the rapidly rising cost of land, it too proved to be an excellent investment. Finally, all Jewish educational camps enjoyed a special (and rarely mentioned) advantage during eras of conscription. Many of their best male staff members were rabbinical students, who were exempt from the draft.

Bardin especially emphasized the transformative power of camp, which is why (like the more recent Birthright Israel program) he focused on college students. In 1946 he published the following testimonial from a student at the University of Southern California, which, in his words, provided “a pertinent summary of the [camp’s] imponderable values . . ” The testimonial (minus one or two details) might have been echoed by attendees or alumni of any one of the intensive Jewish educational camps established over the ensuing decades.

Gannes and Levi Soshuk, “The Kvutzah and Camp Achvah,” Jewish Education 20 (Summer 1949): 61–109; Lisa Goodman, Camp Yavneh—Then and Now (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1994); William B. Furie, “Yavneh,” Jewish Education 17 (June 1946): 28–29; Shlomo Bardin, “The Brandeis Camp Institute,” Jewish Education 17 (June 1946): 26–27; and Samuel M. Blumen¤eld, “Summer Camp Institute Sharon” Jewish Education 22 (Summer 1951): 37–40. Additional information on the Zionist camps can be found in the literature on Zionist movements such as Betar, B’nei Akiva, Hashomer Hatzair, Habonim, and others.

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