Re: Jewish Summer Camps #usa

Leah Cook

The Joseph Eisner Camp for Living Judaism in Great Barrington , Massachusetts changed my life.  It's where I learned how to play guitar (and later became a Jewish song leader), it's where I learned leadership skills (which led to becoming a teacher), and it is where my Jewish identity was solidified.  The camp had been the prior estate of William Walker, VP of Eastman Kodak.   The camp was founded in 1959.My nephew recently moved to Great Barrington, so there must be some connection there. 

I also went to the Schenectady Jewish Community Day Camp throughout most of my childhood.  I learned how to swim and dive and make crafts and learn Jewish music.

After high school graduation I was a counselor at Camp Schodack in Nassau, NY -- the best summer of my life (and I made enough money in tips to purchase a Martin D-28 guitar).

Another noteworthy Jewish camp is Surprise Lake Camp in Cold Springs, NY attended by Eddie Cantor, Larry King, and Jerry Stiller.  My cousin, a camper 40 years ago, still works at the camp during his summer vacation.  His brother went to Surprise Lake as well, as did his two sons, one of whom met his future wife at camp. This camp is part of our family.  The camp was founded in 1902.

Jewish summer camps were an integral part of my life -- they were especially important because there was considerable antisemitism in my community at the time.  My strongest childhood memories are of Passover seders and summer camp.  Camp is where most of my secular and Jewish learning took place.  If you have children, please send them to a Jewish summer camp.


Leah R Cook
Florida, USA
Jewish Genealogical Society of Southwest Florida

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