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October 13, 2015 | 30th Tishrei 5776

Emily Grotta

Arlington, WA Site Will Also Serve as Adult Retreat Center

(Seattle, WA, Dec. 22, 2003) -- The Union for Reform Judaism, formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, has purchased a 300-acre property in Arlington, Washington, for $4.2 million to be used as a future site for a regional Jewish overnight camp and retreat center.

Camp Kalsman, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2005,* will provide boys and girls age 8-16 with a rewarding camping experience in a Jewish environment. In addition, Camp Kalsman will function as a year-round retreat center for local synagogues, youth groups and Jewish communal organizations.

"Camp Kalsman will fill an urgent need to have a permanent camp in the Pacific Northwest, while providing additional opportunities for Jewish overnight camping for our region," said Rabbi David Fine, regional director of the Union's Pacific Northwest Council. "Too often, children miss out on life enhancing camp experiences due to a lack of space," he said. "Camp Kalsman will offer camp opportunities for hundreds youngsters each summer."

A $5 million lead gift from the Kalsman-Levy family of Los Angeles made it possible for the Union to acquire the property and launch an anticipated $12 million campaign** to build the camp.

The Union's camp network includes twelve regional camps in the Northeast, Midwest, South, California and Ontario, Canada, providing camping experiences for more than 10,000 young people each year. Camp Kalsman will be the thirteenth Union camp and will serve children, adults and families in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1951, more than 500,000 people have been campers at Union camps.

The camps, which incorporate learning, recreation, and fun in a balanced program of total Jewish living, "aim to translate religious concepts into real experiences as campers develop an awareness of the presence of God in all life," said Rabbi Daniel Freelander, vice president of the Union. "Many of the Reform Movement's rabbis, cantors, educators, and lay leaders trace their commitment to Judaism to their camping experience," he said. Plans for Camp Kalsman include full recreation and arts facilities including a pool, athletic fields and tennis courts, as well as the life-long benefits of Jewish learning and celebration.


The Union for Reform Judaism is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, providing vision, leadership and programmatic support to more than 920 Reform congregations in North America, perpetuating and advancing Reform Judaism to 1.5 million Jews. The Pacific Northwest Council of the URJ is comprised of thirty-three congregations serving approximately 7,000 households.

* The camp is now scheduled to open in the summer of 2006.

** As of December 2004, the campaign is expected to total $17 million.


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