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A Summer Home on the Range

Visiting Jewish Ranch Camp in Colorado on our journey Across the JEW.S.A

Tablet Studios
August 03, 2023
Tablet Magazine

Tablet Magazine

Tablet Magazine

Tablet Magazine

Studies show that attending Jewish summer camp makes it that much more likely that a child grows up feeling a strong, lifelong sense of Jewish identity. In 2022, 174,700 kids attended 162 Jewish day camps and 153 Jewish overnight camps, according to the Foundation for Jewish Camp. That’s a lot of burgeoning Jewish identity.

To find out why Jewish summer camp was so effective at instilling both a strong personal Jewish identity and a sense of Jewish community, we talked to Julie Platt, chair of the board of the Jewish Federations of North America, and the former chair of the Foundation for Jewish Camp. “Two words,” she said. “Joyful Judaism.”

Platt called Jewish summer camp the “secret sauce,” explaining: “It is immersive, joyful Judaism with no homework, with no parents, with nothing but joyful living in an immersive Jewish setting.”

We wanted to check this out for ourselves. And so, after trips to JazzFest Shabbat in New Orleans and a Sephardic Tu B’Shevat Seder in Seattle as part of our journey Across the JEW.S.A., we headed to drop-off day at JCC Ranch Camp in Elbert, Colorado.

While we couldn’t pack up our stuff and spend a few bucolic weeks at camp ourselves, this glimpse inside of camp—with signs in Hebrew welcoming us, Israeli pop songs blasting from speakers, chats with the staff and even some horses—gave us a taste of just the kind of Jewish joy Platt was referring to. Come along with us in this installment of Across the JEW.S.A.

Tablet Magazine
Rocky Mountain High Notes
Ep. 374: Song Exploder host Hrishikesh Hirway’s new single, plus a trip Across the JEW.S.A. to Colorado
August 03, 2023
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Across the JEW.S.A was created with support from the Jewish Federations of North America.

Tablet Studios is the premier destination for smart and entertaining Jewish audio content. Our podcasts include Unorthodox, What Really Matters, Take One, and the limited-run series Gatecrashers, Adventures with Dead Jews, Radioactive: The Father Coughlin Story, and The Franchise.

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