Recognizing the powerful impact that Jewish camp experiences have on Jewish identity, The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati will provide additional funding to enhance the Jewish Overnight Camping Program, nearly doubling previous first-year incentive grant amounts. For the summer of 2013, the Foundation will fund grants of up to $1,800 for Cincinnati Jewish children attending their first year of an overnight Jewish camp. These enhanced incentives are being made available for this summer while the Jewish Foundation continues to develop a more comprehensive plan for investing in overnight Jewish camping, the details of which will be announced later this year.
“Numerous studies confirm that overnight Jewish camping powerfully contributes to life-long Jewish identity, Jewish education, leadership development and connection to Israel,” said Jewish Foundation Vice President J. David Rosenberg, who chairs a Jewish Camping sub-committee. “This year’s incentive grants put Cincinnati at the forefront of American Jewish communities encouraging overnight Jewish camping. The Jewish Foundation trustees hope our investment results in increased participation in Jewish camping by our community’s youth.”
Grants are available for all children in the Cincinnati Jewish community, regardless of whether or not they have previously attended a Jewish overnight camp. Grants are offered to first year and second year applicants. They are not need-based and are not contingent on other scholarship or financial aid dollars. The application deadline is May 1.
This summer the Foundation is providing additional funding to raise the current incentive grant amounts for first-year applicants from up to $1,000 to up to $1,800 for camp sessions of three weeks or more, and from up to $500 to up to $900 for two-week sessions. Individuals who have already applied for first-year grants in 2013 will be eligible to receive the additional funding. Second-year grants will remain intact, offering up to $1,000 for three-week sessions and up to $500 for two-week sessions. In deciding to offer $1,800 this summer, the Foundation recognizes that the number 18 has a unique symbolic value in Judaism. It represents “Chai,” which means Life. Young Jewish campers have the time of their lives, and their camp experiences often lead them to make a lifelong commitment to Jewish values and involvement in the Jewish community.
In announcing these increased incentives, as well as its intention to continue developing its more comprehensive overnight Jewish camping plan, the Foundation acknowledged the importance of the existing Jewish Overnight Camping Program, originated by Professor Getzel Cohen and administered by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. “Our community owes a real debt of gratitude to Getzel Cohen for his leadership and tireless efforts on behalf of Jewish children in Cincinnati,” said Jewish Foundation President Michael R. Oestreicher. “Getzel blazed the trail by developing the original Jewish campership program, raising the initial dollars from generous individuals like Sylvia Shor, Shelly Gerson and others, and coordinating with our congregational rabbis and Jewish Federation. Getzel is a tremendous advocate for this program.” The existing program has also benefited from the guidance of a Rabbinic Advisory Committee, composed of several local congregational rabbis. The incentive grants, funded by The Jewish Foundation, will continue to be administered by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
In addition to the enhanced incentive grants, the Jewish Foundation is working with local congregations and camps to provide needs-based assistance. “For families who are already working hard to cover the costs of Jewish life throughout the year, sending a child to summer camp is often one expense too many,” said Jewish Foundation Executive Director Brian Jaffee. “Our investment in overnight Jewish camping is consistent with our overall commitment to making engaged Jewish life more affordable and accessible for Cincinnati families.”
For more information about overnight Jewish camp incentive grants and scholarships, please contact your congregational rabbi or Michael Wagner at the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.