Camp Yavneh in the 1960s.
Camp Yavneh flourished in the 1960’s more than ever had up until that time. The decade was marked by the growth of the Camp’s physical plant, including new bunks and Ben Tzvi, as well as an increase in its camper population from under 150 campers at the beginning of the decade, to 200 campers by the middle of the decade.
Much of the physical growth of the camp can be attributed to a small group of committed, caring and generous community leaders in Boston, led by Mort Grossman and Marty Braver. The slogan, “Mort Grossman Moshiyanu, Mort Grossman Kaspenu” was chanted frequently during the decade. The growth of camp can also be attributed to its directors, starting with Baruch Levine, ending with Abraham Yanover, and with Moshe Avital for the largest part of the decade. Moshe brought with him many campers and talented staff from the New York area.
The talented staff was the hallmark of the decade. Who can forget the talented array of musical directors- including Warren Bargard, Stanley Sperber, Joshua Jacobson, Jeffrey Labes and Matt Lazar-their mark on music at camp is still felt to this day. In Amanut, the immense talent of Arie Lamdan graced camp in so many positive ways. Tzippi Krieger and Bryna Shore…The Berkowitz Brothers…Carmi and Adina Margolis (many of us still do “the Carmi” when trying to get water out of our ears after a swim)…Paul and Roz Schneid…Whitey and Ruthie Sheinhorn.
The sports program featured many great leaders, including Les Krieger and Alan Fox. Competition with other Jewish camps, as well as Bob Cousy’s Camp Graylag, was an important feature of the sports program. Softball, Volleyball, Basketball, Swimming, Tennis. The decade witnessed Yavneh’s first victory in the Camp Tevya Tennis Innvitationals.
And of course, the educational and Hebrew component was strong and vital. The Chug study group of Prozdor students taking summer courses at camp was large. Fine educators such as Dr. Mikliszanski, Rabbi Reguer, Dr. Egozi and others will always be remembered.
More than anything, the Yavneh of the 1960’s is remembered as family. All who went there at point during the decade felt as one family. That family continues to the present, as many of today’s campers and staff are children of campers of the 60’s. Even our current director, Debbie Hurwitz Sussman, was a camper of the 60’s. This continuity is a reflection of the strength and significance of Camp Yavneh to the campers of the 60’s, a strength and continuity still felt today and which we hope will continue and flourish for the next 60 years and beyond.