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Why Jewish summer camp?

Caring for Animals at CampLearning Torah at CampShabbat at CampConcern for the Environment at Camp

The Jewish Camp Initiative supports young people to attend Jewish Camp and Teen Summer Experiences to strengthen their identities, learn new skills, and build friendships that may last a lifetime.  We seek also to strengthen the Jewish community in the process. Our immediate goal is that every teen in the Ithaca area who would like to attend a teen summer experience, or every child that wants to attend a summer camp, is able to do so. 

The Jewish Camp Initiative focuses on encouraging youth to consider going, and families to consider sending their children to Jewish camp and teen summer experiences. We also are committed to providing financial awards when needed to help make that possible.  We’ve articulated some of the Jewish values that guide our work. You can view them here or by downloading the PDF below.

We invite you to join us: spread the word and consider contributing your volunteer and financial resources. Choose a camp and register, ask for financial assistance if needed, and apply for a Camp Award from IAUJC. Contact us at

Background Research on Jewish Camp:

The Foundation for Jewish Camp’s study, Camp Works: The Long Term Impact of Jewish Overnight Camp, indicates “…there is now compelling evidence that overnight Jewish camp is a proven means of building Jewish identity, community and leadership…”

But, you don’t have to take our word for it! See what has been written about the power of Jewish Summer Camp experiences:

Why Camp?   Foundation for Jewish Camp website
Ingall, Marjorie. "Camp Puts Jewish Values to the Test". Tablet. 17 Jun 2014. Online. Accessed 7 Jan 2016

Ingall, Marjorie. "Camp for Everyone. The Blessings of Jewish Camps for Special-Needs Kids". Tablet. 2 August 2010. Accessed 27 January 2016

Wertheimer, Jack, and Sarah Benor. "Generation of Change: How Leaders in Their Twenties and Thirties Are Reshaping American Jewish Life". New York, NY: AVI CHAI Foundation, 2010. Print. Online. Accessed 27 Jan 2016.

Sales, Amy L, and Leonard Saxe. "How Goodly Are Thy Tents: Summer Camps As Jewish Socializing Experiences". Hanover: Brandeis University Press in association with the AVI CHAI Foundation, published by University Press of New England, 2004. Print.

Camp is a transformational experience and we want to help all the Jewish youth in Ithaca have the opportunity to experience it for themselves!

PDF icon Core Jewish Values38 KB