Camp Tawonga

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Camp Tawonga is a 160-acre residential Jewish summer camp located on the middle fork of the Tuolumne River, a few miles west of Yosemite National Park, in the Stanislaus National Forest. The camp operates as a non-profit organization and is affiliated with the Jewish Community Center Association. The camp is located in Groveland, California, with offices in San Francisco.[1] Many attendees come from the San Francisco Bay Area.[citation needed]


Camp Tawonga was established by Louis and Emma Blumenthal in 1925[2] and was originally established in 1928 as separate camps known as Camp Kelowa for Boys, and Singing Trail for Girls at Huntington Lake just below the alpine level at 7,000 feet, located in the High Sierras, 65 miles Northeast of Fresno. Camp Tawonga moved to its current site on the middle fork of the Tuolumne River in 1963. During 2003-2007, Camp Tawonga ran the Oseh Shalom-Sanea al Salam—the Palestinian-Jewish Family Peacemakers Camp—in cooperation with the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue.[3] On July 3, 2013, a tree fell at the camp, killing a counselor and injuring several others.[4][5] In August 2013, the camp was in the path of the Rim Fire. After the camp was evacuated, a person returned to the camp to rescue a Torah scroll which had previously survived the Holocaust.[6] The camp lost three buildings to the fire; other damage was described as repairable.[7] Late 2015, Camp Tawonga announced a director transfer. Ken Kramarz, the former Executive Director, will be moving into Tawonga's future. Jamie Simon, the former Camp Director, will that Kramarz's position. Former Assistant Director, Becca Meyer, will take on a new role as Camp Director.


Camp Tawonga's capacity is about 250 attendees at one time, with about 2,000 attendees and staff participating each year.

Among its programs are a LGBTQ family weekend (Camp Keshet),[8][9] the only such program in the country.

Cultural references[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [Terror in the Holy Land: Inside the Anguish of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Judith Kuriansky, editor. Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 2006, p. 260]
  4. ^ "Death, Injuries After Tree Falls at Camp Tawonga Near Yosemite". KNTV. NBCUniversal. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ [4]
  7. ^ "Rim Fire burns three buildings at Camp Tawonga". J Weekly. August 29, 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Camp Tawonga Keshet at the website
  9. ^ Keshet Family Camp at the Hebrew Union College website
  10. ^ Which Brings Me to You: A Novel Of Confessions, Steve Almond and Julianna Baggott. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006, p. 131

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