Summer Camps

Content type
Collection
Collage with Maroon Background and Illustrated Young Woman Carrying a Menorah

“All Too Well”: How I Went From Embarrassed to Proud of My Jewish Identity

Amanda Xinhui Malnik

What if there was a short film of my life with captions describing each stage of my relationship with Judaism, like Taylor Swift’s film for her ten-minute version of “All Too Well"?

Collage with Prayer Book over Background with Illustrated Fists in the Air

“Good Humans”: Leading a Mini Feminist Revolution as a Camp Songleader

Talia Bloom

Women can add, and have historically added, so much to Jewish culture and faith; I wanted this to be reflected at my camp, starting with the prayer books we read from.

Photo of Maddie Nowack with Camp Havaya Friends Over Background with Pomegranate Pattern

Marking My Growth as a Feminist, Asian, and Jewish Woman with My Camp Shirts

Maddie Nowack

My camp shirts represent a timeline of my growth into a proud, strong Chinese and Jewish woman.

Collage of teenage girl, background of Jewish stars and backpacks, pencils, computers

Jewish Schools Aren't Making the Grade

Rose Clubok

If we want to engage young Jews, we need to rethink how we educate them.

Juliette Pary

Born in Odessa, Juliette Pary moved to Paris in 1925 and became a respected translator, journalist, and author. She also played important roles in summer camps, youth hostels, and the development of modern educational practices. During World War II she worked closely with child refugees.

Marshmallows Over a Campfire

Encountering Homophobia at My Jewish Summer Camp for Girls

Judy Goldstein

There aren't outside pressures from patriarchy in the all-girls camp bubble; but that doesn't mean that bigotry is eradicated.

Decorated stones and sentimental items gathered in memory of Michael

The Power I Don't Have

Eleanor Harris

None of us had the power to save Michael, but we did have the power to come together as a community and make each other a little more whole.

Topics: Summer Camps
Grandmother coloring on paper with her grandchildren. They sit on and around a red couch.

My Time on the Line

Neima Fax

ENFP. Extraversion, intuition, feeling, perception. Four words that, according to the Myers-Briggs personality test, define me as a person.

Young woman wearing tefillin and holding a prayer book during a service. Surrounded by fellow campers.

On the Sanctity of My Tefillin

Hannah Landau

For two hours a day, three days a week, the Orthodox rabbi led us through the strict and meticulous process of tefillin-making.

Topics: Summer Camps, Prayer
Milk Carton

Open Conversations and Dairy Products

Ilana Jacobs

“Where are you thinking about going to college?” I’ve been asked this question by almost everyone I know. It feels like after your bat mitzvah, there’s a second rite of passage that no one tells you about: college decisions. Since the winter of Junior year, every conversation seems to take a turn towards schools. The question, “How are you?” has been replaced with, “How are the applications coming?”

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Molly Pifko at Camp

The Challenge of Teamwork

Molly Pifko

Competitions can bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, they can also bring out the worst. Team competitions, even silly camp ones full of crazy outfits and team cheers, require leadership, and unfortunately, some leaders don’t value everyone’s voices equally.

Topics: Summer Camps
2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Katy Ronkin at Camp

From Camp Gyno to Women’s Health Activist

Katy Ronkin

The summer of 2013 was when I taught my bunk at Camp Young Judaea that girls have more than two holes “down there.” Now for those uninitiated with the workings of a girls’ bunk, this may seem crazy or even obscene. However, for us, this was just another lesson in a long line of facts about the female body I had told my bunkmates that summer. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Diana Myers Wearing Tefillin

Binding My Religious and Feminist Identities Together

Diana Myers

I started wearing tefillin at camp. I was fourteen and I had a lot of ideas about overthrowing patriarchal Judaism, and I thought it looked cool. Tefillin are traditionally worn only by Jewish men who have reached bar mitzvah age (thirteen), although Conservative and Reform Judaism, some of the more liberal sects of Judaism, are very accepting of women wrapping as well. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Emma Bauchner at Camp

Deciphering the Code

Emma Bauchner

Dress codes. If you’ve been on the internet in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that teenage girls tend to butt heads with them quite a bit. You may have read about how blatantly discriminatory dress codes are when it comes to gender. You might already be informed about how they contribute to victim blaming, are a form of slut shaming, and reinforce rape culture.  Indeed, dress codes have become a sort-of gateway into feminist thought for teenage girls. For me, they were certainly a rude awakening.

Delaney Hoffman with a Camp Friend

On Feminism’s Place in a Conventional Summer Space

Delaney Hoffman

My summer camp has rats in the walls and rotting wooden decks and haunted basements. My summer camp is hot and cold, made up of love and hate and freedom and restriction and myth and reality. My summer camp is more corrupt than the Brazilian government but still comforting enough to call it a religion. My summer camp is where I grew up two weeks at a time. 

Camp Ramah

People of Valor

Hani Fish-Bieler

It's Friday night. I'm sitting in a big tent, surrounded by some of the greatest friends I've ever made. The smell of chicken soup wafts under our noses. A man walks to the front of the room, and we smile and link pinkies with the people next to us. This is it. The moment we’ve been waiting for all week. I take a deep breath and close my eyes as he begins in Hebrew...

Topics: Summer Camps
Rising Voices Fellow Noam Green at the People's Climate March Cropped

Moving Past My Passivity

Noam Green

I was a relatively passive preteen. I was stuck in this mentality that my life wasn’t really going to start until I was older, that everything until then was just filler. Looking back at it now, I can acknowledge the internalized adultism that clouded my perception of the world, but am still regretful of this period of stagnation in my life. 

Jill Albert

A True Leader

Adina Karpuj

Jill Albert was radiant. She had an unmatched presence that could be felt by anyone touched by her warm embrace. She had a way of making all of the girls in my troop feel welcome, appreciated and unique. But her brilliance extended far beyond our small group of girl scouts: she baked cookies for her garbage men and always had a bowl full of Double Bubble in her car to give anyone who may have been having a bad day. Jill encapsulated the ultimate role model.

Couple and their shadows holding hands photo

Victoria's Secret, Shabbos Walks, and Interrogating Rape Cultures

Mimi Arbeit

I love guerilla feminism. And I love that this group of feminists from Baltimore used online guerilla feminism to critique Victoria's Secret and promote consent. And I’m not the only one who loves this stuff! I love the celebration of consent. I love the celebration of bodies. I love the way in which the campaign directly connects the concept of consent to our bodies—by putting it on underwear—showing that to touch my body, you need my consent.

Adrienne Cooper, 1946 - 2011

Beyond her extraordinary artistic accomplishments, Adrienne was a mentor, resource, and role model to so many who have lived, or at least sojourned, in Yiddishland.

Etta King with Her Campers, 2004

My journey to love my legs and understand the Feminist movement

Etta King Heisler

“How could you?!” Esther screamed.
“What? What are you talking about?” I asked.

Sophie Gerson, 1910 - 2006

In her later years, Sophie was a tireless activist with the National Council of Senior Citizens, fighting for universal health care and defense of Social Security. A woman of charm and passion, she developed ties with a range of local activists, including nuns and other local Catholics.

Sara Blum, 1910 - 1986

Before anyone ever dreamed of feminism or women's liberation, Sara embodied for her campers the absolute model of female strength, purpose and achievement ... [she] had the uncanny ability to really know people and to uncover that uniqueness within each one that made her or him feel special. The only demand Sara Blum ever made in return was that you pushed yourself to be the best you could be.

Helen Herz Cohen, 1912 - 2006

When I pick up this pen to use it, I will remember so much of what you taught me, not the least of which is to dare to try. To go for it. And I will remember the lessons you taught me of believing in myself, of responsibility and honor and consideration for others and how we must give back, and, of the endless possibilities of creativity. And, oh yes, to have fun….

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