Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
Treasured Traditions: From the files of the Fort Worth Jewish Archives
Summer fun doesn’t get any more traditional than attending day camp. Beginning as an experiment in the summer of 1954, Camp Shalom continues today. The idea of opening a “temporary” day camp grew out of a 1952 Youth Needs Study Committee appointed by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and chaired by pediatrician Frank Cohen.
The Federation rented acreage with a spring-fed concrete pool east of Handley and advertised six weeks of rural recreation for Jewish youngsters. Some 60 children between the ages of 5 and 8 enrolled in sessions held in June and July. Dr. Cohen borrowed camping equipment from the local Quartermaster Depot of the Texas National Guard.
The day camp budget totaled $3,705, a sum that included $465 for transportation, $1,750 for personnel, $374 for snacks, and $35 a week to rent the property.
For its second summer, the day camp moved to Congregation Ahavath Sholom’s relatively new building at 8th Avenue and Myrtle Street. Swimming was at the Loring Hotel on Camp Bowie Boulevard at University Drive. By the camp’s third year of operation, 83 children attended the first three-week session and 79 the second. Campers were assigned to seven cabins. A counselor-in-training (CIT) program was instituted for children over 12. The CITs produced a camp newspaper. The 1956 Day Camp report, signed by educator Lil Goldman, recommended that summer camp become a permanent program of the Federation. “It has apparently met a real community need. … We … request that the Jewish Federation President appoint a committee to project some long range planning for a permanent site.”
When the Dan Danciger Jewish Community Center opened in 1964 with a swimming pool, tennis courts and acreage for ball fields, the summer program relocated there under the name Camp Shalom. In 1995, the JCC property on Granbury Road was put up for sale. Despite plans for the JCC to close, Camp Shalom drew 100 campers during the summer of 1996. Over the next several years, a consolidation of management and programs occurred. Summer camp was deemed a priority that the Federation would continue. After the JCC property sold, Camp Shalom moved to Ahavath Sholom’s building and campus on Hulen Street and Briarhaven Road. Camp Shalom, now in its 62nd summer, operates under the auspices of the Jewish Education Agency. The JEA also operates the Lil Goldman Early Learning Agency, which provides pre-school education and care for infants through pre-K.
The Fort Worth Jewish Archives is filled with community treasures. Volunteers are needed to continue this important project. Contact Hollace Weiner at 817-731-3685 to volunteer a few hours on Wednesdays.
— Submitted by Naomi Rosenfield, Fort Worth Jewish Archives
Arts in Israel
The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County is organizing an “Arts in Israel” Partnership2Gether experience from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5. Explore the land from Tel Aviv to the Western Galilee (Tarrant County’s PARTNERSHIP2GETHER region) and from Tzfat to Jerusalem. Be exposed to a broad range of creativity — from contemporary art to ancient Kabbalah, belly dancing to a tzedakah art project with disabled students. Make personal connections with Israelis who have made Israel the cultural force it is today. Enjoy state-of-the art museums and galleries, music, dance, theater, hands-on workshops, and fantastic culinary treats.
Here are the highlights:
- Encounters with artists, curators, and other creative professionals
- Theater, dance and musical performances
- Spend quality time with Israeli friends in Tarrant County’s Partnership region
- One-of-a-kind culinary experiences — many special dinners!
- Hands-on workshops: tzedakah project, design and cooking classes with alternative specialty tour options
- Open-air markets, unique shopping
- Architecture, graffiti, and neighborhood walking tours
- Discover the latest Israeli art organizations and movements
- Scheduled free time for exploration
Included in the trip are: professional logistic services/transfers to and from the airport; a Ministry of Tourism licensed tour guide; wonderful boutique hotels for nine nights — four nights ArtPlus Hotel Tel Aviv, three nights Sealife Hotel Nahariya and two nights Harmony Hotel Jerusalem with late checkout on final day; all breakfasts included plus nine specialty dinners and some lunches; entrance fees and special activity fees; deluxe bus transportation during all days and for specific nights out, including drivers’ overtime.
Cost for the trip is $3,999 land only. The optional add-on to Eilat and Petra, Jordan is an additional $1,299. Space is limited. A $1,000 deposit is due by Aug. 27. To learn more and sign up, contact Kim Goldberg at 402-968.7493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.