July 17, 2024
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Jewish Historical Society Plans Summer Camp Reunion Exhibit

With notable exceptions that turn up later as satirical memoirs or comedy scripts, summer camp is a happy part of childhood, and a time treasured in memories all our lives. These happy memories and some of the people who made them possible over the years for the children in North Jersey will be celebrated at the newest offering at the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey, “Summer Camp Reunion Exhibition.”

The campers reunion and exhibition opening celebration is on Sunday, October 29, at 1:00 p.m. at the Society’s home at 17-10 River Road in Fair Lawn. The exhibit will be displayed through December. The public is invited and welcome to bring photos or memorabilia from their camp days in the North Jersey area, wherever they be, but especially at Veritans, Teen Trails, Passaic/Clifton Y, Hi-Ho, New Jersey Y, Ramah, Belle, Brae Bank, Pine Crest or Knights.

“This will be a wonderful opportunity to reminisce and reconnect with camp friends about our fun camp experiences,” said Ina Harris, Society member and reunion chairperson, who was a counselor at Camp Veritans. “The days we spent in camp were such an integral part of our lives that we have memories to last a lifetime.”

Photos and memorabilia from the Society’s collection will be on display. The Opening Day Summer Camp Reunion celebration will feature speakers representing various Jewish summer camps in North Jersey: Mickey Gilbert from the Passaic/Clifton Y, Arthur Minsky from Hi Ho, Amy Cooper from Ramah, Janet Fleigelmen from NJ Y camps and Mark Murray from Veritans. There will be plenty of time to reminisce and meet fellow campers.

A Society member, Alan Peck of River Edge, remembers Camp Ramah in East Hampton, Connecticut. “My summers in Ramah were among the best in my growing up. Funny story—I am 13 years old, first day in camp, throwing around a baseball with one of my new friends, an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, in Hebrew! I was totally shocked and scared; within two weeks, we all got used to this new strange thing.”

“I met so many friends at camp who are still my friends, 50 years later,” said Society member Andy Zettler from Hackensack. Andy attended Veritans and Teen Trails. “Whether as a camper or counselor, as much as I loved school, it was only the bridge to get back to camp!”

Society member and reunion team member Debbie Grossman of Caldwell remembers, “I didn’t cry when I sent my son to sleepaway camp. I was so glad he was going to have that opportunity.” Debbie attended Veritans and Y camps.

Joy S. Kurland, executive director of the Jewish Historical Society is looking forward to the participation of all guests in helping to identify campers in photos. “We have boards and boards of camp photos, an extensive collection, but many are unidentified. It is our hope that faces will be linked with names at the reunion,” she said. Joy attended Camp Belle.

Admission: Members in good standing and children under 12 are free; others are $10 per person. Please RSVP by contacting JHSNJ at either 201-300-6590 or [email protected]. Visit our website https://jhsnj.wordpress.com/.

The mission of the Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey is to collect, preserve and make available the documentary heritage of Jewish life and culture in Passaic, Bergen and Hudson Counties. The Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey originated in 1979 as an oral history project at the Charles Goldman Judaica Library at the YM-YWHA of North Jersey in Wayne. That year, a dedicated group of volunteers under the direction of librarian Sylvia Firschein began to document Jewish life in the area by recording the personal reminiscences of people from Paterson and vicinity. Realizing that much of this long, rich, vibrant story was in danger of being lost to time, Y oral history committee chairman Jerry Nathans soon undertook the larger work of collecting and preserving the historical record of Jewish communities in North Jersey. The Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey (JHSNJ) was formed in 1982 to carry out this archival and advocacy mission. Currently located in Fair Lawn, the JHSNJ continues its work of safeguarding our common past for the sake of the present and future generations.

The society opens its doors to visitors, scholars, researchers and students Monday and Wednesday from11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and at other times by appointment. It is located at 17-10 River Road, Suite 3A, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410; telephone: 201-300-6590; email: [email protected]; website: jhsnj.wordpress.com.

 

 

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