We are thrilled to share that many of our 9,000 campers have arrived and are making memories to last a lifetime. We are now solidly in the middle of camp season and our 3,000 dedicated staff are working to ensure that our campers are enjoying the friendship, smiles, ruach (spirit), growth, and love that are all part of the camp experience, while also keeping everyone safe and healthy. While we are enjoying seeing our campers once more, and most of them are having a wonderful time at camp, we would be remiss if we pretended that COVID has not presented unique challenges for campers and staff this year at URJ camps, NFTY in Israel programs, and Jewish camps throughout America, Canada, and Israel beyond the URJ. Through our ongoing consultations with the Foundation for Jewish Camp, other camping movements, independent camps, and the American Camp Association, we know that COVID continues to present unprecedented challenges and disruption for all camps this summer.
Despite the challenges COVID poses, we know that our campers and communities need camp now more than ever. Thanks to the dedication of our camp leadership, staff, and stakeholders, there are abundant blessings happening in each of our camps every day. We are so grateful for the leadership of our directors, the guidance of our medical teams, and the support of our communities in making this summer a reality.
We also couldn’t do any of this without the hundreds of congregational rabbis, educators, cantors, scholars, and artists in residence at camps, who we owe an immense debt of gratitude. These people are all helping create the blessings and lifelong memories that are an integral part of the URJ camping experience while also taking on the task of looking after campers’ and staff members’ physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.
Happy Summer and L’shalom!
Ruben Arquilevich (he/him/his)
Vice President, Camps and Immersive Experiences