Our 10 Jewish Commitments
Inclusive – Exciting – Joyful – Warm
At The Cohen Camps, campers experience exciting, inspiring Jewish daily life that celebrates heritage, Israel, and community. The philosophies and values we call Our 10 Jewish Commitments guide our choices and shape our days.
Eli and Bessie Cohen founded The Cohen Camps more than 85 years ago as trans-denominational, welcoming summer homes where youth could explore their individual and collective Jewish identities and heritage–and prepare themselves for their role in the larger Jewish community and the world.
We continue this legacy today, every day, through Jewish music, learning about Israel, Israeli dance instruction, daily prayers in the Kosher dining halls, engaging cultural experiences, and special programs designed by our staff at each of our summer camps and programs. Here, Jewish life and learning are personal, connected, thoughtful, and fun!
Read about each of Our 10 Jewish Commitments:
We see these as profoundly Jewish values. We nurture in bunks, on teams and in groups the closeness, fun, sharing, working together, and resolving of issues which help campers learn how to build and sustain relationships.
We believe the culture of the camps reflects the kaleidoscopic Jewish world we all live in, and we are committed to building an inclusive community.
We emphasize the uniquely Jewish experience of Shabbat: the energy and helping to prepare, the incredible community ruach of shared prayer, song, and dance; the special closeness and leisure on Shabbat day; the sensory beauty of the Havdalah ceremony.
We want campers to deepen their understanding of Judaism – to apply Jewish thought and values to their lives, to uncover meaning in Jewish rituals, to gain inspiration from Jewish role models.
We select Jewish rituals which nurture in campers a special feeling of Jewish community, a sense of gratitude for the abundance they have, and a basic respect for Jewish tradition.
We seek to instill in campers the Jewish value of responsibility to others and to society.
We want our campers to gain a certain feel for where we’ve been as a people, what values we have stood for, sacrificed for, and tried to bring to the world, and journeys Jewish families have made.
We cultivate excitement about and personal connection with Israel both as our historic birthplace and as a real place, with culture and language, stories and issues, charisma and complexity.
We bring the vitality and wonder of the natural world into our communal awareness, adding a spiritual, reflective quality to camp life.
We encourage campers to participate actively, be creative, use and develop their skills, and take on roles of responsibility.
Jewish Life + Learning
We believe a strong Jewish identity grounds young people, contributes to their confidence and sense of self-worth, and informs the choices they make.
We view Jewish community as joyful, dynamic, and creative.
We embrace Jewish community as a wonderfully colorful mosaic which supports a range of beliefs and practices around a common core of values and commitments. We honor each camper’s personal exploration of their Jewishness as we cultivate their feeling part of something larger and enduring.
We understand Jewish life as an ongoing process: we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, draw from the wisdom and experience we’ve inherited, and try to create a world of Jewish meaning we’re proud to pass on to the next generations.
We view Jewish life as deeply connected to the broader world – with an ultimate aim of helping to improve and perfect the world.
More about... Shabbat at camp
Shabbat is a special time at each Cohen Camp. Each camp celebrates together in ways that alumni and visitors warmly remember as one of the most memorable and life-changing parts of their experiences. We welcome Shabbat each week with services: Tevya gathers in its gleaming community building open to the outdoors with screens on all sides, while Pembroke and Tel Noar meet under the trees by their lakes. After a traditional Shabbat dinner, each camp hosts spirited sessions of song and dance. Shabbat evening and morning services are led mostly by campers, afternoon activities encompass a variety of Jewish and Israeli culture themes for all campers, and Shabbat ends with Havdalah.
More about... Love of Israel
Jewish life and learning at The Cohen Camps can culminate in an extraordinary experience, the Dor L’Dor (Generation to Generation) Israel travel experience for our oldest campers, an intensive 4+ week tour of Israel. Younger campers at all three camps relish the weekly Shabbat updates sent in by the Dor L’Dor travelers. This program and its teen role models help even our youngest campers discover the deep value in connecting with the historical, religious, and cultural aspects of the State of Israel.