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A Camp Comes Home

June 30, 2005 By:
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Glimpses of the new site bought by the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation in South Sterling, Pa.
Pennsylvanians who spend their summers at the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation's camp will soon have a much shorter distance to travel.

Camp JRF, as it is known, will relocate from its present location in Illinois to South Sterling, Pa., located in Wayne County in the Poconos.

Just last month at its board of directors meeting, the organization signed a contract to purchase the 150-acre property that was formerly a secular summer camp, according to Phil Goldberg, spokesman for the JRF.

The federation is still working to raise about half of the roughly $5 million price tag for the move. According to Goldberg, ownership of the property is expected to change hands in September.

He went on to explain that part of the rational behind relocating from the Midwest to the Pocono mountains is that a significant number of Reconstructionist congregations are located along the Eastern seaboard, not far from Philadelphia, where the Reconstructionist movement is headquartered.

As such, a large number of children must fly to and from the camp, an added concern and expense that will be alleviated.

Now in its fourth summer, the camp currently runs three weeks at a rented space about 45 miles northwest of Chicago. But come 2006, campers will be able to enjoy a full summer session, said Goldberg.

"These kids are not only going to live in a Jewish environment 24/7, but a Reconstructionist environment 24/7," he said. "Our camp strives to build a holy community

Plans are also in the works to build heated cabins on the new grounds, so the movement can host retreats and other events even in the midst of a bitter-cold Pocono winter.

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