We are so blessed in Southern California to be surrounded by so many wonderful Jewish Camp opportunities. Every camp places a strong focus on community building, judiac programming, and fun, but each camp has their own unique draw, which I (Daniel) have highlighted to the best of my ability. If you have questions about which camp might be right for your child, feel free to call. Check them all out below.
Evenings and weekends are spent building community during dinner followed by supervised nights out on the town. Hope on a Big Apple Bus tour, cheer on the NY Mets at Citi Field, take in a Broadway show- all the best of summer fun in the city. Every night is something different. On weekends, slow down and take some time to relax with our progressive, pluralistic, inclusive Shabbat experience. Saturday, enjoy a late wake up and indulge in one of our morning reflective electives. Saturday afternoons offer you to choose your own adventure in and around NYC in a safe, chaperoned visits to local museums, central park, food festivals, music festivals, taking advantage of what NYC has to offer. Sunday is your chance to make a difference in our community by participating in our Jewish Service Learning projects, offering you the opportunity to earn 30 hours of Community Service credit by participating in acts of Tikkun Olam (help repair the world). Activities vary from serving food to the hungry, engaging the elderly with activities, music and conversation or helping to cultivate the earth in some of New Yorks nearby urban farms and gardens.
Jewish camping has been found to be one of the most effective methods of Jewish education, ensuring a Jewish identity in adulthood. It is so effective because it is a complete immersion experience where Jewish values are lived and modeled by the staff, where the rhythm of the week is anchored by Shabbat, and Jewish culture is brought to life through song, dance, and experiential education. Great for kids who love Israeli Dancing! This is the premire Israeli dance camp in the nation.
Camp Gilboa- San Bernadino, CA Website
Camp Gilboa (Machaneh Gilboa) is a Jewish overnight camp for boys and girls ages 9 to 17, located near San Bernardino, California. We have served the western states since 1936. Camp Gilboa is sponsored by the Habonim Dror Youth Movement and is one of several North American Habonim Dror camps. Camp Gilboa is affiliated with Ameinu, and HaNoar HaOved VeHalomed in Israel.
Camp Gilboa offers summer and winter overnight camps, and also sponsors year-round programs in Los Angeles, Irvine, San-Diego, San Francisco, South Bay (Sunnyvale, Mountain-View, Palo Alto), and Las Vegas. Activities (Peulot)include Friday night Shabbat programs (Oneg Shabbat), Tikkun Olam (Social Justice) activities, picnics and other fun and educational activities. For those who have completed the 10th grade, we have our leadership training program in Israel, Machaneh Bonim Israel.
Camp Mountain Chai- Angelus Oaks, CA Website
Camp Mountain Chai expands and enriches Jewish identity by establishing an atmosphere of knowledge and love for Jewish culture, traditions and religion. Through sports, arts, outdoor adventure and aquatics, campers build life-long friendships, independence and self worth.
Camp Mountain Chai is the realization of a dream of a number of committed leaders in the San Diego Jewish community. After years of searching, the current facility in Angelus Oaks was purchased in 2004 by the Jewish Community Camp and Retreat Center, Inc.Formerly Alpine Meadows Conference Center and Camp Osceola, Camp Mountain Chai opened its doors to Jewish children from San Diego and other southwestern communities in 2005. Majority of Beth Israel kids go here. Only camp with a lake and lake activities.
Camp Newman- Santa Rosa, CA Website
At Camp Newman, we strive to create sacred communities of living Judaism that endow children, youth and adults with a positive Jewish identity and community, personal growth & self-esteem and lifelong friendships & role models. All of the activities and programs at URJ Camp Newman are age specific. Each session at camp has its own daily schedule which allows for our campers to have a unique programmatic experience that is designed for their age group. While at any time we will have between 400-500 campers at camp, we strive to provide each camper an experience that is personally catered to their needs.
Each day the campers have time at the pool, the field, two cabin activities, and an activity of which they are able to choose from a list of 11 diverse options. They sign up for these activities upon their arrival to camp. All of our activities are experienced exclusively with their age range. Our 7 year old campers will never have an activity with our older campers.
In order to accomplish these programmatic goals, we have established a system that calls for 24 hour supervision. There is a staff member with our campers during every activity. From playing at the pool, to meals, and going to sleep at night, we always have staff supervising and supporting our campers. We support our 400-500 campers with approximately 200 staff members. Only URJ camp in California. Kids who go here know the most people going into NFTY.
Camp Ramah- Ojai, CA Website
Established in 1956 in Ojai, California, Camp Ramah provides year-round opportunities for campers, staff and program participants from across the United States and around the world to expand their own creativity, learn from dynamic teachers and specialists, explore being Jewish in today's world and experience the beauty of nature. Young people at Ramah develop leadership skills, lasting friendships and a strong Jewish consciousness. Ramah is more than a camp; it is an extended family where friendships forged and experiences gained last a lifetime.
Each summer Camp Ramah in California makes a life-long impact on approximately 1,300 campers through a safe, fun and Jewishly engaging program. At Ramah campers enjoy a variety of activities - sports, swimming, arts, outdoor adventure - while learning to be independent, strengthening their Jewish identity and forming friendships that carry into adulthood. Camp is affiliated with the conservative movement. Great for kids looking for a stronger Judaic connection.
JCA Shalom- Malibu, CA Website
For nearly 60 years, Camp JCA Shalom has been the “Camp for All Seasons.” Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, thousands of campers and staff experience the magic of Camp JCA Shalom. Camp’s vision of Tikkun Olam – creating a better world – is fulfilled through a positive Jewish living experience in the natural setting of the Shalom Institute. In our warm and supportive environment, campers experience living, learning and playing in a group setting that encourages personal growth and self-discovery.
Campers also have fun! They participate in a variety of programs and activities daily, they make new and lasting friendships, and develop a wealth of new skills and interests. Our campers go home with a lifetime of cherished memories, new skills, and a positive self-image. It is truly an unforgettable experience for all! Great for kids who love the outdoors, nature, and social action.
Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps- Malibu, CA Website
Camp Hess Kramer/ Gilding Hiltop Camp
About Camp Hess Kramer
Driving north on the Pacific Coast Highway, it is hard to miss the huge menorah on Rabbi Alfred Wolf Inspiration Point, the true symbol of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps, specifically Camp Hess Kramer. Camp Hess Kramer creates a community through the energy and spirit, the ruach, of the 350 people that live at camp during any given session. Camp Hess Kramer is known for the relationships formed in cabins and in units as well as its small and large scale programming. Camp Hess Kramer sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean which provides easy and safe beach access through a tunnel under the Pacific Coast Highway; being so close to the beach and the Pacific Ocean proves over and over again to be a highlight of being at Camp Hess Kramer. Great all-around camp in idealic conditions. Also rumored to have best camp food.
About Gilding Hiltop Camp
Gindling Hilltop Camp is such a unique, beautiful, fantastic site for a camp! Set on a coastal ridge 750 feet above sea level the site provides a spectacular view of the ocean and the surrounding hills and canyons. We pride ourselves on our close knit community and our ability to provide the time of your life! At just 150 campers and staff, this small community ensures that everyone knows everyone! Gindling Hilltop Camp has a sense of intimacy that you cannot find anywhere else. Through the close relationships campers form with their cabinmates, other campers, CITs, staff and administration they experience what it truly means to be part of something extraordinary. Because of the small number of campers, this camp creates an amazing community.