Below are remarks from the Director of the URJ Camp and Israel Programs, Paul Reichenbach, on the occasion of Camp Kalsman’s 5th Anniversary Celebration, July 10, 2011.
It is a wonderful honor to be with you all today in this gorgeous setting. Thank you for attending the quadrennial gathering of all of Lenny Thal’s cousins!
Mark and Peachy Levy, Jani Levy and Bill Pauli, Janice and Marshall Brumer, Rabbis Lenny Thal and David Fine… ALL those gathered here who were so instrumental in transforming this extraordinary vision into reality. This is a moment of tremendous pride and celebration. Look at what your labor of love has created. Your passion, your tireless efforts will enable almost 600 children, from 40 congregations across the Pacific Northwest, to joyfully experience their Jewish identity in a warm and welcoming camp that is second to none.
Here, a generation of Jewish kids for whom Judaism is one of a myriad of choices in their lives, are inspired to embark on a lifelong journey of meaningful engagement… filled with a love of Jewish learning, Jewish community and the Jewish people.
Camp Kalsman is about nothing less than the continued creative survival of the Jewish people. Camp Kalsman is about sharing with our chilrden and grandchildren our precious and sacred legacy.
I want you all to know that you are not alone on this amazing adventure. In just the last seven years, more than $60,000,000 has been raised to establish, renew and refurbish our 13 URJ Camps across North America. Who would have ever believed this was possible?
In the last six years, our overall camp registration has grown by an astonishing 25%. This summer, breaking all previous records, 10,450 different children from more than 600 Reform congregations will participate in our URJ Camp and Israel Programs. Camp Kalsman is a big part of this remarkable story.
Tremendous credit goes to our exceptional camp professionals who care for our children and make the “magic” happen each and every summer. Thank you David Berkman and Briana Holtzman and your team for all you do with such competence and caring.
At the conclusion of their summer and session, our campers will have made new friends, acquired valuable skills for living and iwll return home feeling proud of themselves and their people. What more could we ask for? We are all blessed by the privilege of being partners, builders of something truly special that all those who become part of this community will never forget.
On behalf of the leadership of our Movement, thank you all for your vision, your courage, your leadership.
With deep respect and appreciation,
Paul J. Reichenbach
Director, URJ Camp and Israel Programs
Article from Everett Herald posted on MSNBC.com regarding the 5th Anniversary Event and the last 5 years.