Pinemere Camp

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Pinemere Camp
Pinemere sign.jpg
Pinemere Camp is located in Pennsylvania
Pinemere Camp
Pinemere Camp
Location865 Bartonsville Woods Road, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18360
CoordinatesCoordinates: 41°00′03″N 75°19′31″W / 41.000889°N 75.325198°W / 41.000889; -75.325198
Operated byJewish Community Center[1]
OwnerPinemere Camp Association[2]
Established1942 (76–77 years ago)

Pinemere Camp is a Jewish overnight summer camp for children in grades 2–9. Its 300 campers are primarily drawn from the United States.[3]

Pinemere is located in a mountain setting, with cabins and a lake.[2][4][5][6][7][8] It is on Bartonsville Woods Road, Stroudsburg, on Stoney Run in the Pocono Mountains in Northeastern Pennsylvania.[9][10][11] The camp is 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Camelback Mountain Resort, and about 45 miles (72 km) north of Allentown, Pennsylvania.[2][8] The camp grounds are 180 acres (4,050 square meters).[2]

Pinemere's name refers to the reflection of its pine trees upon its lake.[10] The camp was officially established in 1942.



Pinemere Camp

Pinemere Camp began operations in the 1930s.[2][12] A lake for swimming and boating was built.[10] Originally, it was a girls-only camp.[10]

Mrs. Cohen then purchased the property from the McCluskey family and Joseph Nye.[10] Shortly after the official establishment in 1939 of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), the organized youth movement of Reform Judaism in North America, Rabbi Sam Cook organized what may have been the first regional Labor Day Conclave for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) Pennsylvania State Federation at Pinemere.[13]

Subsequently, the Philadelphia Jewish Welfare Board purchased the camp.[10][11] Pinemere Camp was officially established in 1942 by the Jewish Welfare Board (which subsequently became the Jewish Community Center Association (JCCA)) to provide a resident camp experience for Jewish children in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.[1][2][3][10][12] It focused especially on providing a camp experience to children from smaller communities that did not have a synagogue.[1] At that point, it became co-ed.[10] In the late 1940s, John Bernheimer, a prominent Philadelphia attorney, served on its board of directors.[14] American interior designer and former daytime television host Nate Berkus's grandparents met at the camp, where his grandfather was the water sports director.[15]


From 1958 to 1999, Robert H. Miner was Pinemere Camp's director, leading more than 15,000 campers and young counselors.[16] In 1980, it formed the Pinemere Alumni Association.[17] In 1988, it dedicated its new Pinemere Indoor Facility.[18]

In 1991, Stephen H. Holden, a Cherry Hill, New Jersey, attorney, was elected president of the Pinemere Camp Association.[19] In 1995, the camp had 205 campers.[2] Starting in the mid-1990s, some of its buildings were used as accommodation for ski groups, including those of other faiths.[8]


In 2000, Aaron Selkow became the camp's Executive Director; he held that position until 2008.[20] In 2008, 18 campers who attended Pinemere did so with a grant from the Overnight Camp Incentive Program, a program designed to attract new campers to Jewish identity-building camps. It is a joint project of the Philadelphia-based Neubauer Family Foundation, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.[4][21][22] The program provided grants for campers in amounts ranging from $750 to $1,250.[4] The majority of the Pinemere campers who received grants chose to return the following summer.[4]

That same summer, the camp began an environmental education program. Activities include gardening and repurposing discarded items into new items.[23]

In 2008, Toby Ayash became executive director; a position she held for five years.[24] Pinemere began offering three-day sports clinics in basketball, tennis, baseball, softball, football, soccer, golf, horseback riding, lacrosse, field hockey, and wilderness survival. It brought in the full-time Athletic Director of the Pocono Mountain East High School so campers could work on sports drills.[25][26][26][27] The clinics are taught by professional coaches; the golf clinic is taught by a PGA-certified coach, and the one-day basketball clinic known as the Sixers Summer Hoops Tour is run by the Philadelphia 76ers, with visits by 76ers legends.[27]

In 2010, the camp began to offer an abbreviated option of a one-week mini-session, with 5 rising third-graders. By June 2012, 42 campers had signed up.[28]

In the summer of 2012, two dozen Jewish teenagers from Germany attended Pinemere Camp in an arrangement with the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland (the Central Council of Jews in Germany), the umbrella organization of Germany’s Jewish communities.[29] In December 2012, two dozen American Pinemere campers joined their German counterparts in the ski village of Fürstenhof in Natz in the Italian Alps.[29]

In 2013 the camp had 300 campers, about half from the Philadelphia area.[24]


Pinemere Camp has campers from the ages of 6 to 16.[30] The camp attracts children who both do and do not attend Hebrew school or synagogue, and some campers who attend Hebrew day schools.[1]

Pinemere offers boating, canoeing, pioneering, dramatics, arts and crafts, team sports, archery, and tennis.[31] The camp offers sports clinics in basketball, baseball, softball, football, soccer, tennis, golf, horseback riding, lacrosse, and field hockey.[25][26][26]

All meals at the camp are kosher, and the camp observes shabbat.[8][12][31] The camp also offers gluten-free food for campers with celiac disease and other options for various dietary needs.[32]

Pinemere offers campers the options of various sessions: either a one-, three-, four-, or seven-week session.[3][33] It also offers a 3-day "SPARK weekend," so first-time campers can try it out.[3][33][34]

The camp is owned by Pinemere Camp Association.[2] It is affiliated with mid-Atlantic region Jewish centers.[2]


The camp's executive director is Mitch Morgan.[35][36] Pinemere's Assistant Directors are Aaron Singer and Linz Etter Haft.[25][35]

Notable persons[edit]




  1. ^ a b c d Jason Collins (August 3, 2011). "Jewish Camping: It's No Bunk!". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Peterson's (1994). Summer Jobs USA 1995. Peterson's. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "About Pinemere | Pinemere Camp". February 12, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Jason Collins (March 26, 2009). "Camp Incentive Program: Building Identity Along With Those Campfires". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  5. ^ American Camping Association (1966). Directory of Accredited Camps for Boys and Girls. American Camping Association. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  6. ^ American Camping Association (1996). 1996/97 Guide to Accredited Camps. American Camping Association. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  7. ^ "Contact Us | Pinemere Camp". February 12, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d Paul Robbins (January 1995). Cheap Sleeperies '95; Camelback, Pennsylvania – Pinemere. Skiing. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  9. ^ Susan Wels (1997). The story of mothers & daughters. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780002251136. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Pocono-Jackson Historical Society (2010). Pocono and Jackson Townships, Pennsylvania. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0738572187. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  11. ^ a b James L. Apple (2005). What Kind of Job Is This, for a Nice Jewish Boy?: Memoir of a Rabbi and a Navy Chaplain. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1453594930. Retrieved May 5, 2013.[self-published source]
  12. ^ a b c American Camping Association (2003). 2003 Guide to ACA-Accredited Camps. American Camping Association. ISBN 9780876031797. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  13. ^ Michael M. Lorge, Gary Phillip Zola (2006). A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0817352937. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  14. ^ Murray Friedman (2003). Philadelphia Jewish life, 1940–2000. Temple University Press. ISBN 1566399998. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  15. ^ Nate Berkus (2012). The Things That Matter. Random House. ISBN 9780679644323. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  16. ^ "Robert Miner, 81, teacher, director of camp in Poconos". The Philadelphia Inquirer. March 22, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  17. ^ "Alumni Group To Be Formed". Reading Eagle. February 25, 1980. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  18. ^ "Camp In Poconos Forms Alumni Group". The Morning Call. July 7, 1988. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  19. ^ "Camp Association Elects New Jersey Man President". The Morning Call. January 28, 1991. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  20. ^ "URJ Camp Harlam – Meet our Staff; Aaron Selkow, Director". Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  21. ^ "One Happy Camper of Greater Philadelphia; Summer 2013". Jewish Philly. Archived from the original on April 13, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  22. ^ "Think Camp: Grants Enable Jewish Overnight Programs". Jewish Exponent. December 28, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  23. ^ Deborah Hirsch (August 17, 2011). "Camping Out for Jewish Meaning?". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  24. ^ a b "Pinemere Camp Gets a New Director". Jewish Exponent. November 13, 2013. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  25. ^ a b c Jason Collins (August 10, 2011). "Jewish Camps Seek Balance in New, Tricky Terrain". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  26. ^ a b c d Jason Collins (March 25, 2013). "What Flavor Camp Would You Like?". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  27. ^ a b "Pinemere Camp Announces New Sports Programming and Facilities for the 2011 ;". Jewish Times of South Jersey. April 22, 2011. Archived from the original on May 7, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  28. ^ Deborah Hirsch (June 21, 2012). "Gearing Up for Camp". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  29. ^ a b "Summer camp hosts exchange with German-Jewish youngsters". New Jersey Jewish News. August 15, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  30. ^ Porter Sargent (2005). Guide to Summer Camps and Summer Schools: An Objective, Comparative Reference Source for Residential Summer Programs. Porter Sargent Pub. ISBN 9780875581576. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  31. ^ a b Porter Sargent (1985). The Guide to Summer Camps and Summer Schools 1985/86. P. Sargent. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  32. ^ Johanna Ginsberg (July 21, 2010). "What to do when keeping kosher is not enough; Summer camps offer gluten-free fare to kids with celiac disease". New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  33. ^ a b Paula Chaiken (February 25, 2012). "Creating a Lifetime of Memories: Sleep Away Camp". NEPA Family Magazine. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  34. ^ Toby Ayash (January 2011). "Building Lifelong Bonds; Gearing up for the 2011 Summer Season" (PDF). Hakol Lehigh Valley. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  35. ^ a b "Year-Round Staff | Pinemere Camp". April 16, 2013. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  36. ^ Kraut, Julie (July 30, 2009). "Parents, cut the high-tech cord to camp". Deseret News; Special to The Washington Post. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  37. ^ James L. Apple (2005). What Kind of Job Is This, for a Nice Jewish Boy?: Memoir of a Rabbi and a Navy Chaplain. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1453594930. Retrieved May 5, 2013.[self-published source]
  38. ^ Elizabeth A. Schick (1997). Current Biography Yearbook, 1997. H.W. Wilson. ISBN 9780824209384. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  39. ^ Stephen Fried (2002). The New Rabbi. Random House. ISBN 9780553897128. Retrieved May 5, 2013.

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