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February 24, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 24, 2012 PAGE 3B Thanks to financial aid, Jewish summer camp enrollments n'se, despite economy By Dan Klein NEW YORK (JTA)--BilIs or bug juice? With the economic recov- ery still struggling to take hold, many American Jewish families are finding they face a difficult question as deadlines for summer camp enrollment approach: Can they both pay their bills and send their kids to Jewish overnight camp? "It's a difficult decision," said Shelly Zemelman, a school psychologist in Cleveland with four children. Her 16-year-old daughter, Batya, has spent four summers at Camp Stone. a modern Orthodox camp in Sugar Grove, P,a., that charges $3.500 for a four-week session. Other Jewish camps charge as much as $1,500 per week. "It's not a necessity like school it's a luxury," Zemel- man said. "If we had to send all four kids at the same time. I don't think we could have done it." She said she knows several families who are considering dropping camp; one family made it work by alternating the years their children attend camp. Jewish summer camp is not for the faint of wallet. But with new studies suggesting that the camp experience is a key com- ponent in boosting the Jewish identity of American Jews. it shouldn't be expendable, say champions of camping. A 2011 study "Camp Works: The Long-Term Impact of On Tuesday evening, Feb. 28, Chabad will host a com- munitywide lecture on the Comedy of Marriage by Rabbi Manis Friedman. Rabbi Fried- man is a world-renowned lecturer, author, counselor and philosopher. He has been seen on CNN. BBC. A&E. and PBS to name a few. Rabbi Friedman is known for his brilliant ability to connect Jewish Camp," paid for by the Foundation for Jewish Camp and conducted by Steven M. Cohen, Ron Miller, Ira Sheskin andBernaTorr, found that Jew- ish campers were much more likely to feel attachment to Israel, attend synagogue at least monthly, light Sabbath candies and donate to a Jewish federa- tion than those who had not gone to Jewish summer camp. The study, which controlled for past Jewish experience, also found that camp attendance was correlated with moderate. increases in the size of one's circle of Jewish friends and the importance one ascribes to Jewish identity. The study found that 70,000 kids attended Jewish overnight camp in 2010. For many parents, the an- swer to the dilemma is in financial aid. Camp industry insiders say applications for financial aid have risen sharply since the economic crisis hit in 2008. "Absolutely there's been an increase in request for financial aid," Jeremy Fingerman, CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, told JTA."There are cur- rent campers who have fallen on hard times and families that want to join camp for the first time but can't make it an affordable choice for them." The 150 nonprofit camps in the FJC's networkhave reported increasing scholarship alloca- tions by 25 to 100 percent-- often in addition to support offered by local foundations, federations or synagogues. Yehuda Rothner, director of Camp Stone, said that requests for financial aid at his camp have gone up by 10 percent, but that the amount requested has gone up significantly more. "People are asking for more money," he said. Over the last five years, the camp has more than doubled - the yearly allocation for schol- arships, from $100,000 to $220,000. There also has been a slight increase in "bad debt." in which the camp makes ac- commodation for families who between the first and second payments find themselves un- able to pay. Ramah, the Conservative movement's camping wing with eight overnight camps and three day camps, has increased scholarship giving to $4.3 mil- lion in 2011 from $3 million in 2008, accordingtoAmy Cooper, Ramah's national director. The Ramah scholarships, which include funds raised by local boards, synagogues, federa- tions and foundations like the FJC, have benefited 500 families among the 6,500 attendinl Ramah camps each summer. Not all aid is doled out ac- cording to financial need. Over the last four years, the FJC says its Happy Camper program has provided 30,000 financially blind grants of up to $1,000 to entice first-time campers. "There are some families for whom the money is critical to deciding to go to Jewish camp," Coopersaid. "Our commitment Nir Landau/Foundation for Jewish Camp Campers at Camp Ramah in Nyack, N.Y., get ready to cool down in the lake during a hot summer day. is that every child who wants to go to Jewish camp can." Despite the weak economy, camp enrollment has contin- ued to climb. The 150 nonprofit camps in FJC's network have grown by 4 to 5 percent over the last four years. Fingerman attributed the increase in part to a drop-off in enrollment at for-profit Jewish camps, which tend to cost more. Many credit the mixofschol- arships and grants for boost- ing enrollment. Rothner said another factor may be at play: parents who are sending their children to Jewish camp instead of the Jewish day schools, which cost more. "As day school prices in- crease, it is forcing a difficult situation down parent's throats, and they're having to make those decisions," Rothner said. Some camp administrators say the recession hasn't had much of an impact on enroll- ment because their constitu- ency is mostly high-income families. Howard Saizberg, who has co-owned the for-profit Camp Modin in Maine for the last 32 years, said that enrollment at the camp--which costs $6,300 per four-week session--hasn't suffered at all. Lighten Up - The Comedy of Marriage ancient wisdom and modern wit as he captivates audiences around the globe. "The subject of marriage is one that rarely gets boring," states Devorah Leah Dubov, co-director and program manager of Chabad of Greater Orlando. "A Good Marriage is one that we hope lasts forever and a bad one is heaven forbid one, everyone hopes to avoid. Nevertheless, there is a never ending source of advice and practical counsel that we can all use to better a marriage or start another one on a better note", she concludes. This lecture is open to the entire Jewish community and is not-limited to married couples only. All singles, mar- tied and previously divorced are welcome to attend. The talk with Rabbi Friedman will include humorous facts. great advice and deep insights to the dynamics and success of marriage. Chabad hosts a speaker's bureau every year with several guest speakers on topics of popular interest. Chabad is an educational, social service and outreach organization that serves the needs of Jewish people of every denomination and affiliation. The organiza- tion boasts that it is non- judgmental and welcomes every Jew regardless of affili- ation background or creed. In efforts to educate and increase Jewish pride and awareness. Chabad offers education on all levels for all ages. A private VIP dinner and question and answer session "People forego other things before they won't send their kids to camp," he said. Forthe campers themselves, how their parents pay for camp is easily forgotten once they're there. "I've never made friends like that--they were the people who have made the most impact on my life," Batya Zemelman said. Asked if she'd known anyone who had trouble affording camp, she paused as if she hadn't considered the question before. "There were a few," she said, "but there were scholarships available." with Rabbi Manis Friedman will be open to sponsors giving $180 or more. The dinner will take place at 6 p.m. followed by the lecture at 7:30. To reserve a place at the lecture or to attend the private dinner prior, log onto Re- freshments will be served and an $18 donation per person s suggested. *.I " p The Road to Wellness is paved or The JCC, it's not just for Pre-schoolers anymore The Jewish Community Center at the Jack & Lee Rosen Campus in Southwest Orlando has started the new year out with a whole host of whole body wellness offer- lngs. As part of the free adult programming, the JCC has developed a monthly wellness series featuring speakers from around the Central Florida community. Wellness comes in many forms, some people would like to deepen their understand- ing of how to reduce stress holistically, and others want more guidance in terms of healthy eating, and some- times people justwant to enjoy an introduction to another life philosophy that they may not be predisposed to. The Wellness Series ad- dresses all of these needs and more. Since the launch of the program in September 201t, the JCC has welcomed Edible Orlando and Orlando Brewing Company, a Whole Foods eating specialist, a visualization expert and a leader in the field of Vedic Sciences. The next six months will bring in even more semi- nars including speakers from The Center For Natural and Integrative Health. a Chinese Energy Workshop as well as more traditional preventative healthcare lectures. In addition to the Wellness Series. in 2012. the Rosen JCC is welcoming in a monthly cooking series featuring local restaurants and a monthly art class entitled WineARTS. where people can unwind and learn a new artistic skill. This series includes everything from drawing, jewelry making and painting. It's a low-key way to engage in community and the arts with an emphasis on a more social and relaxed environment. All of these classes and seminarswere de- veloped with the intention for people to bring more joy into their lives. Monthly programs also include Dinner Club. Book Club and Laughter Yoga. The weekly free class sched- ule has grown too. We've added to the already popular Belly Dancing, Ballroom Dancing, Mah Jong, Poker and Yoga by bringing in Tai Chi. Qi Gong, knitting, meditation and pre-natal yoga. The JCC will be sponsoring Specialty Sundays too. Golf Clinics offered by Windermere Country Club and Fencing Clinics hosted by Winter Garden Fencing are the first of such professional partner- ships with the JCC's Rosen Campus. Keep an eye out for the Drop N CroP Scrapbook- ing Sunday as well as a Mah Jong Tournament. Wellness does come m many forms. By expanding your mind or trying a new experience or food or maybe just getting back to something you used to loveto do. we begin to feel more whole. In an attempt to show gratitude towards JCC mem- bers and to welcome all members of the community into the facility, the JCC's new adult program schedul e has embraced a diverse array of classes and times to suit most people. Most of the JCC Rosen Cam- pus's adult schedule is free to members and have a minimal interested in teaching a class or demo at the JCC. please contact Candace Martin at Candacem@or- charge for non-members. Some classes may require a materials fee. If you'd like to try any of the JCC's classes or are