Summer Spotlight 2013: An HUC-JIR Summer

Every year, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) alumni and students join us at camp, in our NFTY regions and in Israel, helping to engage the future leaders of the Reform Movement in Jewish discussion, learning and community building.

This holy partnership continues to be a vital component of our participants’ Jewish growth. Take a look at how HUC-JIR alumni and students helped shape the summer of 2013!


Hebrew bracelets at Camp George

Hebrew bracelets at Camp George

Israel & Hebrew at Camp

Lori Sagarin, RJE, knows the Chalutzim program at URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) is one-of-a-kind: a 7-week intensive Hebrew program in a Jewish summer camp that takes the campers on a journey of discovery.

Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) has brought back Hebrew programming as part of its daily schedule! HUC-JIR student Matti Barzilai explains how campers are experiencing the fun of Hebrew.

Inspired by HUC-JIR cantorial student Shanna Zell’s love of Hadaya, staff members at Camp George made bracelets with meaningful Hebrew sayings on them to remind each other of what is important for a successful summer!

How could we ever teach about all of Israel in 24 days of camp? Rachel Heaps shares how, at Jacobs, Hebrew words and phrases are used every day in order to bring Israel to camp.

At Greene Family Camp, the mischlachat (Israeli emissaries who spend time at camp) partner with education staff to bring Israeli news home. Take a look:


Torah In Our Youth Programs

creatingsacredconversationsFor the participants on NFTY in Israel, important conversations (and arguments!) happen everywhere—on the bus, on top of a mountain, and in downtown Tel Aviv. Read how Rabbi Rich Kirschen encourages these discussions.

Rabbi Mark Covitz and the staff at GUCI recognized the importance of taking care of our children first this summer and are completely committed to it in all aspects of camp life.

At Camp Coleman, Rabbi Bill Tepper had a realization: yes, we need time at camp to toss the frisbee, hit the pool or lake and unwind in our bunks, but there is always more to learn.

This summer was third year rabbinic student Elle Muhlbaum’s first time at camp. Despite some nerves, Eisner Camp proved itself to be a community that feels like family, where even mistakes are embraced as a learning experience.

Watch as Crane Lake Camp ceremoniously welcomes their new Torah, donated by a local congregation:


Reform Jewish Leaders & Their Journeys


david1-300x199Serving on faculty at 6 Points Sports Academy is a unique experience for a rabbi. Rabbi David Spey is taking the opportunity to show the campers that rabbis are people, too.

Each moment in Jodie Gordon’s life, from serving as a NFTY leader to spending summers at Eisner Camp and beyond, led her to where she is today: ready to graduate from HUC-JIR and embrace being a Reform Jewish leader.
216073_220860877929715_4967957_n-258x300For Rabbi Paul Kipnes, six years at Kutz Camp set his life on a course that would weave together an intense love of Judaism and a deeper appreciation of himself.

Watch a group of clergy discuss the power of camp, reminisce about their own experiences and encourage their congregants to view camp as part of the Jewish lifecycle.