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Going Really Gaga for Camping

July 1, 2013 By:


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Men’s Cabinet members relax after a day of hard labor at Camp Harlam demolishing an existing facility to make way for a brand new GaGa court that they raised funds for. (From left) are incoming vice chair Keith Joffe; Cabinet member Matt Steinberg; Alex Stroker, Federation’s interim CEO; David Reibstein, current Cabinet chair; and incoming chair Bob Landow.

When Camp Harlam began its 2013 season on June 26, the campers arriving from up and down the East Coast went “gaga” over the sight of two new GaGa courts — one made possible by the cash and sweat equity expended by members of Federation’s Men’s Cabinet.

Aaron Selkow, executive director of this Jewish overnight camp for children in grades three through 12 in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains, said that Alex Stroker, Federation’s interim CEO, called him on behalf of Cabinet members, who were looking for a hands-on tzedakah project that they could engage in. David Reibstein, Cabinet’s current chair, presented the project to the members who enthusiastically embraced it.

“Through our involvement with Federation we know the power of Jewish camping to create a strong and lasting connection with Judaism,” Reibstein said. Bob Landow, incoming chair of the group of men ages 30 to 45, added, “We thought that it would be a great project for our group because so many of us have young children and we want to create a family legacy of Jewish communal involvement.”

The group agreed and charged Cabinet incoming vice-chair Keith Joffe with fundraising for the project. Joffe had the inside track in effectively pitching the project to prospective donors.

His wife, Caroline, a Harlam alumnus, serves as co-chair of the camp’s Alumni Committee. 

While it was satisfying to raise the $10,000 needed to build the court, group members got a kick out of rolling up their sleeves and being part of the demolition process.

Stroker joined Reibstein, Landow, Joffe and Cabinet colleague Matt Steinberg in a full day’s work of manual labor and thoroughly enjoyed getting their hands dirty.

“We all felt as if we were doing something to actively impact the people we do fundraising for and it felt good to get personally involved,” Reibstein commented.

All of the men enjoyed setting a positive example for their sons and daughters, many of whom accompanied them on that spring Sunday. Brynn Lan­dow, Samara and Jacob Reibstein and Harrison and Liv Stein­berg lent a hand and learned first-hand about the importance of making a difference in the lives of others.

Federation Men’s Cabinet, along with Women’s Cabinet, prepares rising leaders in the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community to assume key leadership roles both regionally and nationally.

Cabinet members also serve as leaders within Federation and its Renaissance Group, sup­porting the group’s outreach, leadership development and philanthropic efforts for men and women under the age of 45. In the third year of the program, members are invited to join the National Young Men’s and Wom­en’s Cabinets.

For more information on regional or national Cabinets, call Rachel Sigman at 215-832-0513 or email: [email protected].

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