May 27, 2024
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May 27, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Camp Nesher Soars to New Heights

As Modern Orthodox Jews today, we are blessed with many options. Where to daven, where to buy groceries, where to send our kids to school and which summer camp to choose. While the choices are both impressive and abundant, they are not all alike. Camp Nesher has been a household name in the Metropolitan area and beyond for over two decades. While the core vision of Camp Nesher remains the same, there are many exciting enhancements to share.

Jeff Braverman, who has been Camp Nesher’s director for 22 years, believes Camp Nesher offers kids an opportunity to feel like they are part of a bigger family. Since its inception, the focus of the camp has been to foster a feeling of friendliness and inclusion. “The goal has always been to create a team that would offer a phenomenal program combined with a sense of warmth and closeness,” explained Braverman. “It is a utopian feeling of bein adam l’chaveiro (camaraderie between man and his friend) that we strive to create throughout Nesher.” While maintaining these fundamental values that Nesher was built upon, Braverman is excited to introduce new innovations as well as notable staff additions.

Nesher is an inclusive environment that offers something for everyone. From sports to aquatics to art, campers are engaged in an exciting curriculum on a daily basis. At Nesher they have created a choice-based program, allowing campers with different interests to participate in activities they enjoy most. “Who says you can’t have it all,” exclaims Braverman. At Nesher you can be an athlete, a swimmer, an artist or even a chef. Last year, Nesher introduced its brand-new state-of-the-art culinary facility, offering campers an opportunity to learn cooking skills under the leadership of acclaimed chef and cookbook author Susie Fishbein.

Nesher hosts about 350 kids per summer and prides itself on the ability to know and acknowledge each and every camper on a regular basis. “It’s a place where everybody knows your name,” Braverman remarked. The program itself, while exciting and versatile, is not what sets Nesher apart, but rather it is the caring environment that permeates throughout the camp and is felt by campers and staff alike.

It is that feeling that has brought many previous-generation campers back to camp as staff members who want to once again be a part of the Nesher family. Among the exciting new faces at Nesher is newly appointed Assistant Director Johnny Shlagbaum. Shlagbaum started as a camper in 1998 and quickly climbed the ranks to counselor and finally assistant athletics director. Perhaps his best accomplishment at Camp Nesher was meeting his wife, Alana Rosenbaum. Johnny and Alana live in Teaneck with their three children and are excited to join the Nesher community. “In returning to my Camp Nesher family, I am hoping I will be able to be a positive role model and offer campers an experience they will cherish forever, as my counselors did for me,” expressed Shlagbaum. A celebrity in the Jewish music world, Shlagbaum intends to use his musical talents to amplify the ruach that fills the air at Nesher.

Also joining Camp Nesher this summer is Moshe Sanders, who will serve as boys’ head counselor. Although new to Camp Nesher, Moshe is no stranger to the world of summer camp. His previous 11 summers have been spent working at the Neil Klatskin Day Camp at the JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, New Jersey, where he served as inclusion director, unit head and, most recently, program director. Joining Moshe at Nesher is his wife, Jen, who is currently the athletics director at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for girls, and their three children. “My wife and I are extremely excited to embark on this new adventure and be a part of what everyone calls an amazing summer experience,” Sanders commented.

As if the girls’ campus wasn’t incredible enough under the leadership of Head Counselor Deborah Goldberg Fiorino, now in her 8th year, Nesher has announced Michele Farbman will join her as assistant head counselor. Having served as a division head at Camp Mesorah for four years and more recently as girls’ head counselor at Ruach Day Camp in Long Island, Michelle brings her infectious enthusiasm and energy to the Nesher family. Michelle and her husband, Steven, live in Cedarhurst with their three children.

“It is so so exciting for my family to be joining Camp Nesher this summer. It is thrilling to be a part of a camp that guarantees EACH camper a summer to remember,’’ Farbman said.

What better testament to what Nesher stands for than the commitment of former campers to continue the chain by sending their own children there. “So many past-generation campers are sending their kids to Nesher so that they, too, can indulge in the beautiful home-away-from-home experience that personifies the atmosphere at camp,” Braverman explained. Most staff members describe working at Nesher as a family experience more than a job.

Nesher was the first Orthodox summer camp to open its doors to a wheelchair-bound camper, Nathaniel Cohen, in 1997. Unfortunately, Nathaniel passed away. In his memory, Sports Director Ira Stern created Yom Nate, a competitive sports tournament that welcomes over 1,500 campers from various sleepaway camps to participate. Yom Nate represents a day of unity, allowing the kids to come together in a competitive environment yet not forsaking the fact that this event symbolizes acceptance and kinship.

In the spirit of inclusivity, the following summer Nesher introduced a division in camp for Yachad members. In keeping with the framework of the camp’s smaller and intimate feel, Yachad campers are completely part of the Camp Nesher family. An integral belief at Camp Nesher is that everyone should feel safe and respected no matter their background or abilities. This concept is embodied within the staff and campers alike.

With the rising cost of living expenses, camp has become a luxury many families are taxed to afford. Through various grants, Nesher has managed to lower their tuition, thus enabling more families to consider their program. A camper can attend one session for slightly more than $2,000 and the full summer program for a bit more than $5,000. Short-stay options for younger first-timers are also offered. Through program and affordability distinction, along with the continued mission to appeal to all campers, Nesher hopes to welcome many new faces to camp in 2017. For more information about Camp Nesher, please visit campnesher.org or call 973-575-3333.

By Andrea Nissel

 

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