Summer Youth Experience

Summer Youth Experience

Charred remains of the physical location of URJ Camp Newman beneath hazy skies with mountains in the background and a painted Star of David still visible on them

The Jewish star on the hill that overlooks Camp Newman has survived. What a fitting symbol for this moment. 

Alaina Yoakum
Wooden gate over the trees at URJ Camp Newman reading MAY YOU BE BLESSED AS YOU GO ON YOUR WAY SHALOM

The Reform Jewish Movement received devastating news last night upon learning that URJ Camp Newman's physical location was all but destroyed by wildfires.

Kate Bigam
View from behind of two young girls in bathing suits jumping into a lake with a thick forest along the banks

Rabbi Brenner Glickman of Temple Emanu-El in Sarasota, FL, recently witnessed the tremendous impact that a summer at camp can have. 

Elena Paull & Deb Spencer
URJ VP of Audacious Hospitality April Baskin stands in a classroom and gestures with her hands as she teaches a room full of participants in the URJ Keshet training partnership

A year-long initiative, the URJ-Keshet Youth Leadership Project, aims to improve inclusivity in our Reform youth programs. It is the largest implementation yet of Keshet’s work

Toby Singer and Rachael Brill
URJ summer interns with Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Ten college students interned at the URJ this summer – whether to boost our experience or get nagging parents off our backs.

Deborah Spencer
Group of campers

Our collective efforts to engage young people in meaningful Jewish life has met with incredible successes of which we all can be proud.

Miriam Chilton

A few months ago, writer David Brooks penned an op-ed in The New York Times entitled

Alexa Broida

There’s a controversy surrounding ga-ga: Where, exactly, did this game originate?

Stephen Silver (Tablet)

They left Africa for the first time, to connect with other Jews in Wisconsin, and the experience has been warm and affirming.

Rob Golub (Jewish Chronicle)

You can have your summer destinations of Nantucket, the Hamptons, or Lake Michigan.  I’ll take Kunkletown, Zionsville, and Oconomowoc!  Some head to the beaches or the mountains; I head to camp.

More than 14,000 young people are leaving home this summer, immersing themselves in new environments and connecting to Jewish community in a URJ summer program. The midrash tells us that if we can open ourselves up to new experiences, we can discover inner clarity. These young people are discovering themselves – what motivates them, what matters to them, what challenges them. They return home – and to our congregations – with a new sense of identity and purpose.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs