Jewish Summer Camps Ditch Cell Phones But Embrace Tech

Balancing Need for Gadget-Free Outdoor Fun With Education

Camp No-iPhone: Many Jewish summer camps are embracing technology, like this Georgia camp that live-streams its services. But many of the same camps are seeking to make sure campers set aside their gadgets and have outdoor fun.
Courtesy Camp Ramah Dorom
Camp No-iPhone: Many Jewish summer camps are embracing technology, like this Georgia camp that live-streams its services. But many of the same camps are seeking to make sure campers set aside their gadgets and have outdoor fun.

By JTA

Published March 09, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

As a way to appeal to campers seeking a more digital camp experience, Ramah in the Berkshires recently added digital filmmaking to its electives alongside traditional camp activities such as arts and crafts, cooking and nature courses.

Jodi Fleisig of Atlanta, whose two sons attend Camp Ramah Darom in Clayton, Ga., said live streaming of the camp’s Havdalah service was a highlight of her summer. Through its Facebook page, Ramah Darom invited parents and alumni to celebrate the end of Shabbat virtually alongside campers singing by candlelight.

“Watching my son during the live Havdalah service was like watching him through a peephole – giving him the freedom and independence I want him to have while still getting to see him look so free, so happy and so engaged,” said Fleisig, who hosted a viewing party at her home for the service. “It’s amazing to see your normally shy kids who don’t sing, don’t dance, literally come alive at camp.

“Technology can be a wonderful vehicle to watch your kids grow, and to know that they are getting out of the camp experience what you were hoping they would gain without interfering with their independence.”

Ramah Darom is looking into other programs to live stream this summer, including the camp play.

At Beber Camp, parents can connect through an app created last summer by staffer Brad Robison that gives parents access to camp videos, social media, schedules and activities. Beber also uses a web management company, CampMinder, to enable kids to write letters home that are then digitally scanned and uploaded to a portal parents access through the camp website. A unique barcode on the back of each letter ensures that it goes to the right account.

Camp OSRUI, a Reform camp in Oconomowoc, Wis., where teaching Hebrew is a top priority, began using the language program Rosetta Stone last summer. Campers responded so well to the program, enjoying the activity as a game while learning Hebrew at a swift pace, that OSRUI is expanding its media center for this summer, according to camp director Jerry Kaye.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.