New York, NY | May 22, 2014 – Camp Harlam, the Union for Reform Judaism's regional overnight camp based in Pennsylvania, announced today that it has received the largest gift in its history. The Weidhorn Family Foundation of Manalapan, New Jersey, has donated $1,000,000 to fund an endowment supporting needs-based scholarships for families with multiple children attending Camp Harlam.
Aaron Selkow, Director of Camp Harlam, said, "We couldn't be more thankful for this extraordinary gift. Camp Harlam, and Jewish residential camp in general, has a profound impact on the Jewish identity of its campers and staff. It is one of the most effective tools we have for promoting Jewish continuity, and a great answer to some of the findings of the recent Pew Study. But affordability is an issue for most camps, including ours. This tremendous investment by the Weidhorn Family Foundation immediately helps us to break down the cost barrier for members of our community, and will enable more families, and more children from those families, to benefit from the Harlam experience. This amazing act of tzedekah will have a far-reaching effect on Harlam campers, their families and the Jewish community as a whole."
The Weidhorn Scholarship Program will directly address affordability, specifically for families with more than one child at camp. Under the program, families with two or more children attending camp will receive scholarship money for the duration of their years as campers. This ongoing needs-based scholarship program will complement two other existing funds – the Mitch Perlmeter Scholarship Fund and the James & Linda Wimmer Scholarship Fund – that currently allow Camp Harlam to assist some families.
A meaningful percentage of campers attending Camp Harlam receive scholarship assistance. This aid comes from Camp Harlam itself, individual congregations, congregational sisterhood groups, and local Jewish Federations, such as the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
Peter Weidhorn, President of the Foundation, immediate past Chair of the Union for Reform Judaism, and Vice-Chair of the Foundation for Jewish Camp said, "We were very fortunate several years ago to be able to send our two children to Camp Harlam. For many families, though, cost is an obstacle. We believe it is critical to remove that obstacle, especially for families with multiple children, to help as many families as possible experience Camp Harlam. We know it will change their lives, and those of future generations. We also hope our gift will motivate others who care about the Jewish future to think about what they can do to help Camp Harlam."
Rosanne Selfon, Chair of the Camp Harlam Council, said, "We are beyond grateful for this powerful act of philanthropy by the Weidhorn Family Foundation. This will truly change lives by making the Harlam experience available to children and families for whom affordability is an issue. The entire Camp Harlam community appreciates this extraordinary commitment and legacy."
These scholarship programs are part of Harlam's comprehensive development efforts, which include a capital campaign, as well as legacy and other estate planning programs. Camp Harlam's current capital campaign priority is its "Build a Bunk Campaign," which is focused on the renovation of all cabins in the girls' village and the construction of the Fendrick Leadership cabins for senior staff. To discuss capital, scholarship or legacy development opportunities, please call Campaign Chairs Dan Pliskin, Alan Prushan or David Olinsky or Rachel Steinberg, Development Coordinator, through the Camp Harlam office at 610-668-0423. To learn more about Camp Harlam and how to apply for a scholarship for one of its summer programs, please call the camp office or visit www.URJCampHarlam.org.