Jul 3, 2015
First Chabad Camp Marks 60th

Rabbi Avraham Shemtov and Rabbi Moshe Lazar reunited to celebrate the Rebbe's historic visit to the very first Camp Gan Israel.

By COLlive reporter
Photos: N&M / CampGanIsrael.com

On Tes Zayin Tammuz, 5716, the Rebbe visited the grounds of the fledgling Camp Gan Yisroel in Upstate New York. Touring the installations, the Rebbe showed his great interest in every aspect of camp.

As the 60th summer of Camp Gan Israel in Parksville continues, this day was celebrated in a special way.

Immediately following Mincha, the campers entered the shul, which had been decorated for the occasion with special lighting, large screens, and state-of-the-art surround sound.

The evening began with greetings from former campers and staff, including Rabbi Shmuel Lew, Rabbi Zev Katz, Rabbi Moshe Feller and others.

Participants first heard from the Head Counselor Berel Slavaticki, then sang Ani Maamin with a video of the Rebbe and recited the Rebbes kapital with Rabbi Mottel Dubinsky. A lavish meal was prepared by chef Shloime Futerfas and the dedicated kitchen staff.

Addressing the central theme of the celebration was Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, the Head Shliach of Philadelphia and Washington, DC, who was entrusted by the Rebbe to lead the first Camp Gan Israel until this very day. During its founding year, Rabbi Shemtov served as the Learning Director.

After describing in detail the Rebbe's close connection with camp, Rabbi Shemtov shared a note that he recently found recording the directives that the Rebbe gave regarding the founding of the camp which was the basis of Chabad's international summer camp network.

Rabbi Shemtov then presented the person who took down that note: Rabbi Moshe Lazar who was privileged to be one of the founders of the camp together with Rabbi Yossi Weinbaum and Rabbi Kehos Weiss. Rabbi Lazar was also its first head counselor.

Rabbi Lazar, a Shliach in Milan, Italy who flew in for the occasion, described the Rebbe's fatherly care to each and every individual, and spoke about how Camp Gan Israel has grown from 100 campers in the inaugural season to 400 branches, with 10,000 staff and 150,000 campers annually.

A choir then then sang a song that was composed especially for this event. A sicha of the Rebbe about the importance of camp was then shown, after which a camper spoke and introduced the theme video. The theme video describes the change that camp can make in the life of each camper. Then came spirited singing and dancing.

The evening was capped off by a performance by the world-renowned psychologist and "mind-reader" Mark Salem. Salem, who himself was a camper in Gan Israel, enthralled the audience with his seemingly impossible feats.

The banquet was made possible by the efforts of our dedicated staff. Special thanks was given to Rabbi Shemtov, Rabbi Yossi Futerfas, Naftali Marasow, Shmuli Zalmanov, ECADs Yisroel Cohen and Sholom Loebenstein, and 'Shishim Shona' coordinators Dovi Pinkovitch and Tzemach Dovid Feller.

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
Naftali marosow
Great pictures. Keep up the great work!
(7/4/2015 9:23:35 PM)
Naftali Marasow
What a talented Bochur!!!!!
(7/4/2015 10:07:38 PM)
amazing pictures!!
wow naftali!! such talent!! you're gonna go places!!!
(7/4/2015 10:58:27 PM)
first chabad camp???
great story - great pics

just one thing - gan israel is not the first chabad camp - Camp Emunah is!
(7/4/2015 11:03:06 PM)
Best waiter!
Dovi pinkoitch best waiter ever!
I wonder who arranged this event!
(7/4/2015 11:52:04 PM)
Go Parksville!!!!!
(7/4/2015 11:58:04 PM)
Mendy Sufrin
Great pic of Mendy sufrin!
(7/5/2015 12:23:14 AM)

(7/5/2015 12:36:59 AM)
to 4
The first boys camp.
(7/5/2015 1:48:28 AM)
love the pics
such fine art!
(7/5/2015 4:02:26 AM)
Great photos
How can I get one of those boss t-shirts?
(7/5/2015 2:57:29 PM)
brings back great memories
I was a camper in Rabbi Shmuel Lew's bunk that very 1st year of Gan Yisroel in Ellenville thanks to Rabbi Moshe Feller. The most vivid and memorable picture till this day in my mind is when Rabbi Moshe Lazar would address all the campers in Shul before Kaballas Shabbos. It left a big impression on me watching him with his Black Kapote , White shirt ,Fiery red Beard and his face was also red as can possibly be-A very special and talented Chosid. Thanks to Gan Israel and all the people that were envolved those years including Rabbi Kekos Weiss, I went on to the field of Chinuch and Shlichus for over 4 decades. Yaseh Koach to all, especially Rabbi Feller. A pioneer camper, D.N.S

(7/5/2015 3:28:28 PM)
Looking good Berel! Head Counselor suits you well!!!

Shmuli F.
(7/5/2015 4:18:26 PM)
Zalmy Schapiro
Mazel Tov we all here many more Simchas and Nachas we want moahaich now till 120 years
(7/5/2015 4:20:13 PM)
To #8
We agree!
Zaydie and Bubby Feller
(7/5/2015 9:28:42 PM)
Than you, Rabbi Shemtov
Thank you Rabbi Avrohom Shemtov for keeping it up for all these years. No matter how difficult it was for some time, you never gave up! There is so much to learn from your selflessness and dedication to the Rebbe! No wonder the Rebbe instructed to hand it over to you in the early years even though you were so young!
Keep up your great work and with your inspiration to us all! I gained so much from your farbrengens and personal discussions in camp and in NY.

A strong admirer!
(7/6/2015 12:42:22 AM)
Go Sruli Edery
Best counselor in Gan Israel!!
(7/6/2015 12:47:18 AM)
CGI the mother ship
Go Rabbi Nachmon Dov Wichnin
the scene behind the scene.
(7/6/2015 5:01:32 AM)
To number 12.
Some minor nitpicking about your comment.1) Shmuel Lew was not a counselor at CGY Ellenville during it's first year of existence.2) Moish Lazar could not have been wearing a kapote in Ellenville as he was not yet married at that point of GY's existence.
(7/6/2015 3:23:28 PM)
Go berel!!
Good to see you.
We miss you in belgium!!
(7/9/2015 4:32:13 AM)
Can anyone tell me the names of the people who ran the Parksville, NY Camp in 1980 and 1981? I was there but can't recall the names
(4/14/2017 8:21:09 AM)
What's Your Opinion? Post a Comment

Your Comment:

Comments must be approved before being published. Thank You!

Make COLive your homepage | Contact Us
© 2018 COLLIVE.com