Summer Camps

Content type
Collection
View of mountain range on a pink checkered background

Why Do I Cry at Services?

Sonia Freedman

With all the joy in the room, I didn’t understand why my eyes would begin to water.

Illustration of Campers Sitting on a Log Side-By-Side

Social Dates, Gossip, and Exclusion: Combating Toxic Hookup Culture and Heteronormativity at My Jewish Camp

Talia Bloom

I'll admit that my time as a camper was sadly tainted with anxiety and self-deprecation as I tried to navigate the toxic culture, and I currently see the same feelings developing in my young campers.

Episode 80: Toxic Hookup Culture in Jewish Youth Groups and Summer Camps

Jewish summer camps and youth movements are a time-honored tradition—tens of thousands of Jewish teens participate. But a group of young Jews is calling out what they say is a “toxic hookup culture” in many of these institutions. In this episode of Can We Talk?, Jen Richler talks with Dahlia Soussan, Ellanora Lerner and Madeline Canfield, three of the founders of Jewish Teens for Empowered Consent, about how they hope to change the culture. Please note, there are sexual references in this episode.

Colorful Illustration of Women Leaning on Each other

Jewish Summer Camp and The Book of Ruth: The Power of a Jewish Woman's Support

Ilah Ross

While my first go at standing up to a man in a position of power may not have gone as planned, I've recognized in the events that followed the power of Jewish women, like Ruth and Naomi, to lift each other back up.

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.

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