Synagogue Nets Camp Honor


North Shore Synagogue was honored at the Eisner/Crane Lake Camps’ Fifth Assembly for sending more than 10 campers to one of the three Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) camps in the local area: Eisner Camp, Crane Lake Camp and Six Points Sci-Tech Academy.

The Eisner/Crane Lake Assembly is a yearly event held at either Eisner or Crane Lake where donors and clergy gather to celebrate the camp’s accomplishments and learn about the summer’s activities at the URJ camps.

The URJ camps are a close network of 14 camps centered on creating memorable experiences for Jewish children each summer.  The first camp opened its doors in 1951 and the URJ camps are now the largest Jewish camping system in the world.

For more than 55 years, the URJ’s Eisner Camp, located in the Berkshires, has provided children with the best combination of an outdoor summer overnight camping experience with a vibrant Reform Jewish living and learning environment. The staff encourages the growth of Jewish values in campers, and programming is carefully created to nurture a positive Jewish identity.

Crane Lake Camp, also located in the Berkshires, has provided the same experience for the past 18 years, and this summer was the first camp season at Six Points Sci-Tech located outside of Boston. Sci-Tech provides the same Jewish values and has an added focus on science and technology.

During the course of the summer, clergy members are invited to visit the camps. North Shore Synagogue’s own Rabbi Deborah Bravo had the unique opportunity to serve as a member of the staff at both Sci-Tech and Crane Lake camps this summer.

Rabbi Bravo shared that “an experience at a URJ Summer Camp is unique and impacts our youth not only during the summer, but for the months and years to follow. Our campers learn how to integrate Judaism into their everyday lives, and return home loving Judaism, and become real ‘menshes’ as one parent recently shared with me. I look forward to sending many more children to experience URJ camping in the future.”

Denise Levine, a North Shore member who resides in Plainview, is a member of the Eisner/Crane Lake Camps Board. Levine, her husband Jeff, who is also Brotherhood co-President at the synagogue, and Cantor Rich Pilatsky were on hand to receive the honor and visit with campers.

“North Shore Synagogue is a great supporter of URJ Camping and Israel Programs and promotes both at synagogue events and youth group events,” said Levine. “Our youth group is very successful, keeping many of our teens engaged throughout high school. Our program is recognized throughout the Reform movement and we have many kids that hold leadership positions both in the synagogue, regional and North American level. Children are encouraged to participate in both youth group and camp from the time they join the temple.”

For more information about North Shore Synagogue’s youth program and Jewish camping, contact full-time director of youth engagement, Emily Besthoff at

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Steve Mosco, former editor-in-chief at Anton Media Group, is a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections. He fancies himself a tastemaker, food influencer and king of all eaters.


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