Celebrating Years

Since we first opened…

Camp Havaya has been, and continues to be, a refuge for thousands of kids to experience individual growth, explore their Jewish identity, and be part of an incredibly accepting and diverse community. Explore this page to see what we’re planning throughout our anniversary year and join us in celebrating this important milestone!

Twenty Years
By the Numbers


states and provinces our campers and staff come from


Havaya Israel alumni


Shabbat Unplugged performances


donut holes eaten


havdalah spirals formed


BunkNotes received


awarded in financial aid


international staff members from
24 countries

friendships made and strengthened

support the
Fund for the Future

One of the most important ways you can celebrate with us is to make a gift to Havaya’s Fund for the Future. Any gift — big or small — is an investment in giving more kids the opportunity to experience transformative summers at Havaya year after year. Help us reach our goal of $200,000 and, together, we can ensure the next 20 years of life-shaping and community-building summer magic.

Our Goal $200,000 $170,496

Our story
The History of Camp

We picked out some highlights from the last 20+ years and we want to hear your stories, too! If you’re a former camper or staff member and you haven’t yet filled out our Alumni Database, please take a few minutes to share your memories with us.


First national gathering of Reconstructionist teens convenes, led by Rabbi Jeffrey Eisenstat and Marilyn Price.


JRF Education Commission creates a Youth and Camping Committee with Rabbi Jeffrey Eisenstat, RRC student (now Rabbi) Jason Klein, Rabbi Jeffrey Schein, and Betsy Teutsch


Camp JRF officially launches at the JRF Convention on November 2.

Larry and Rabbi Ruth Smith are hired as first Co-Directors of Camp JRF.


26 teens attend weekend retreat at Camp Henry Horner in Ingleside, IL.

Rabbi Jeffrey Eisenstat is hired as JRF Director of Youth and Camping.


On September 27, the Jewish Reconstructionist Camping Corporation (JRCC) is incorporated, with Sam Kelman z”l as President and Daniel G. Cedarbaum z”l, David Nerenberg, Stanley Newman, Rabbi Jeffrey Schein, Rabbi Eitan Weiner-Kaplow, and Judy Wortman as first Directors.


Camp JRF opens for its first summer at Camp Henry Horner, with 39 campers and 13 staff.


The Harold Grinspoon Foundation provides a grant to kickstart a capital campaign to purchase our own campsite.


After looking at dozens of camps over the past three years, JRCC purchases Camp Pocono Ridge in South Sterling, PA.


281 campers join us for the first summer on the Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Campus -- our own home in the Poconos.


Havaya Israel (then called the No’ar Hadash Israel Experience) launches as a capstone experience for campers.


Rabbi Isaac Saposnik becomes Executive Director.


Multi-award-winning Eco-Village opens, increasing enrollment capacity by nearly 30%.


With an eye towards growth and capacity building, we are accepted into the first cohort of Project Accelerate.


Foundation for Jewish Camp, with funding from the Jim Joseph Foundation and AVI CHAI Foundation, makes a $1.4M grant to open a new arts-focused camp on the West Coast.


Having talked about it for years, we choose a new name and tagline -- Camp Havaya: Be you, boldly.


In the midst of a global pandemic, camps across North America aren’t able to open. We go virtual – and our families and supporters step up in all sorts of amazing ways to help us joyously reopen the following summer.


Join us as we
celebrate 20 years!