Do you want to build a log cabin? Interested in honing your basketball skills under the tutelage of an Israeli pro basketball player? Is mountain biking your passion? Prefer aerobics and dance? Culinary arts? Ceramics? Do night seder and lively “tisches” draw you in?
Whatever your children love to do outdoors—or even indoors—Camp Mesorah has the activities that all campers love! Over 800 campers will come together this summer on over 500 acres of picturesque natural terrain in Guilford, New York, for a summer filled with fantastic activities during the day, phenomenal and exciting programming at night, time to catch up with friends from past summers and a chance to make new friends as well!
Since it was founded in 1990, Mesorah has always been known as a camp focused on its campers, making sure that they have the most extraordinary summer experiences—and over the past nine summers, under the directorship of Rabbi Ari Katz of Bergenfield, Camp Mesorah has expanded exponentially to include state-of-the-art facilities for both sports and learning.
By the time Summer 2017 starts, Rabbi Katz explained, all the campers’ bunks will either be brand new or have been completely renovated to best suit the needs and comfort of today’s campers. In addition, over the past several years Mesorah has built a sports pavilion on Boys Campus, a covered sports complex that houses two hockey rinks; four basketball courts; two professional-grade baseball fields; a brand new multi-level ropes and obstacle course with ziplines; and—for this summer—two brand new softballs fields for Girls Campus (including stadium lighting) and major renovations of the basketball, tennis and volleyball courts on Girls Campus.
Last summer was the debut of the beautiful new Mesorah dining room. Now located in the middle of camp, the dining room is one large room, allowing everyone to see each other and interact while eating, say “birkat hamazon” together and sing zemirot together on Shabbat. Beautifully designed with great wooden beams and large floor-to-ceiling windows with an amazing view of the grassy fields, the dining room has the feel of the outdoors, while still having all the amenities of being inside. And on the lower level of the dining room is the new canteen, which is more like a restaurant/lounge. In addition to the regular canteen fare of ice cream, snacks, cookies and drinks, every night there are more substantial choices—pretzel chicken, pizzas, steak sandwiches, poppers and Thursday night cholent to name a few.
This summer will also mark the introduction of “Midreshet Mesorah”—the Beit Midrash Program, which will have a beautiful home on Girls Campus. Directed by Bracha Katz of Teaneck, and also staffed by Girls Teen Head Counselor Tali Pfeiffer, Midreshet Mesorah will be an opportunity for the Teen Counselors, who are returning from their year in Israel, to continue their learning in the camp environment, and to bring that learning to their campers and inspire them and all the other campers of Girls Campus.
Camp Mesorah‘s outstanding kollel, headed by Rav Meir Goldwicht, Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University’s Mazer School of Talmudic Studies and head of the Stone Beit Midrash, has been drawing young men returning from their gap year in Israel for over 20 years. Adding to the Torah learning environment found throughout the camp are the Boys Beit Midrash Program, led by Rabbi Daniel Hartstein of Yeshivat Lev HaTorah; the special Waiters/Learning Program, led by Shua Katz of Teaneck; and special shiurim from the camp rabbi, Rabbi Donald Bixon of Miami Beach.
This summer, Mesorah is excited to welcome a fantastic team of head counselors. In addition to Tali Pfeiffer heading Teen Girls, Ronit Wenger, who lives in Bergenfield and is a teacher in the RYNJ pre-school, is Girls Head Counselor, and Rabbi Chaim Hagler of Elizabeth, who is also dean of students at Magen David Yeshiva, is the Boys Head Counselor. Rabbi Tzvi Yaakov Miretzky of Teaneck, who also serves as director of student activities at TABC, is the Teen Boys Head Counselor.
There are many other New Jerseyans on Mesorah’s Upper Staff. Deena Katz of Bergenfield and RYNJ Morah is a camp administrator, Rabbi Avie Schreiber of Bergenfield and Yavneh is chinuch director, Lauren Adler of Teaneck and teacher/coordinator of instructional technology at Moriah is a Girls Campus division head and Rabbi Yair Menchel of Yavneh is programming coordinator. Nutritional coach Gila Guzman of Teaneck works with the camp chef to make sure that all of our campers’ special dietary needs are being met and that no camper leaves the dining room hungry. Navi Schreiber of Bergenfield is camp nurse, Ahrona Amar of Teaneck and Frisch HS swim coach/teacher is director of girls waterfront and Batya Danzer of New Milford is the canteen director.
Keeping parents up to date with what their campers are doing is very important at Mesorah—besides the hundreds of pictures uploaded every day to the camp website, division heads, head counselors and camp moms are constantly texting parents pictures of their kids involved in their many activities throughout the day, and assuring them their kids are doing great at Mesorah!
Besides having campers that come in from Florida, Texas, California and Toronto, many Israeli staff members and campers come every summer, bringing a special flavor to Camp Mesorah. While integrating into the American culture and perfecting their English skills, they are sharing their own Israeli culture with their peers, inculcating a love and appreciation of Israel that remains with the campers and for many may be the driving force in their opting to spend a gap year in Israel.
In addition, Camp Mesorah incorporates a huge Yachad contingent into its mainstream camping program, run by Chani Herrmann, director of NJ-Yachad and a resident of Teaneck. Yachad participants are integrated into the bunks and serve in vocational programs within the kitchen, arts and crafts studios, sports arenas and camp office.Yachad students take prominent roles in Zimriya and Color War. Last season, four vocational staff served as Color War generals to the cheering and encouragement of all.
Director Rabbi Ari Katz and Operations Director Michael Pelikow invite parents to entrust their children to Camp Mesorah this summer. ”We promise to provide your children with a sensational experience in sports, learning and following their dreams by ‘creating their own summer’ through the myriad of exciting opportunities that this creative, state-of-the-art campus offers.”
For further information about Camp Mesorah 2017, visit their website at www.campmesorah.com, call 845-362-7778 or contact [email protected].
By Pearl Markovitz