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Camp Closes Two Weeks Before Summer

Less than two weeks before it was set to begin, Camp Gan Israel of Morristown, NJ, one the largest Chabad day camps in North America, sent out a notice to all its staff and campers that they will not be opening this summer due to insurmountable budget constraints.

The camp was set to begin on June 23rd, and this sudden announcement leaves many counselors, campers and their parents scrambling to make alternative plans for the summer.

The camp’s administration explained in a letter that budget constraints were simply too severe to overcome, and they had no choice but to close their doors.

“Over the past few months, the Gan Israel Day Camp administration has worked tirelessly in an attempt to put together a great summer for your children. Unfortunately, due to a decrease in enrollment in many area day camps, including ours, along with a substantial increase in requests for scholarship grants, we are unable to provide the funding needed to keep Gan Israel running for this summer,” the letter says.

“While we understand that this is very late notice, rest assured that we have spent the elapsed time attempting to overcome these problems and find solutions. Unfortunately, the challenge proved insurmountable. The college will be issuing full refunds within the next seven days to any parents who have already made their deposits, cleared or in processing.”

The letter concludes with the hope that they will be able to “offer a financially secure Gan Israel in the years to come.”

Earlier this year, the camp announced the retirement of its longtime director Rabbi Mendy Solomon, whose position was to be filled by Rabbi Mendy Dubov, Shliach to Sparta, NJ.

38 Comments

  • 1. now what? wrote:

    I feel sorry for the local kids who will now be scrambling to find a camp at the last minute. 2weeks notice is not right. This camp is huge and very successful, My son was a counsellor there a few years ago.

  • 2. Parent wrote:

    How can a Moisod just close its door just like that. Where is achreius responsibility?
    Who is taking the fall for this? What should we do? Will our kids and staff just be left to roam the streets during the summer? Is this a personal agenda from some up high? It is outregeous? Ask yourself, administration, if you would have dared to do this before gimmel Tammuz?
    If you can not run a Moisod step down.

    • 3. attitude wrote:

      you are right
      the Rebbe would never agree to close a mosad and Especially camp GI which was very dear to Him

  • 4. Monsey is not that far away... wrote:

    LDC in Monsey is a phenomenal camp and highly recommended.

  • 6. A Solomon Fan wrote:

    I believe this demonstrates the dedication and effort put in by the Solomons to keep this camp running and a success all these years! The financial challenges are a constant! It’s sad that the Yeshiva could not pull it together without them….

  • 7. Why did the Solomons Leave? wrote:

    This was one of the biggest if not the biggest Day Camp in America. Why did the Solomons leave such a successful program. I would like to know if they just moved on to other programs, or if they were pushed out.

  • 9. Honestly... wrote:

    I realize that this is only a day camp, but I believe that more and more mosdos will eventually experience the same if they continue to neglect professional fundraising and rely on tuitions as the main sources of revenue.

  • 10. to #2 wrote:

    Clearly you are one of those people who just knows what it means to take and take and take and expects everything to be there for them. Have you ever run any sort of large scale organization before? If you think you can do a better job, do it. Or put up the money needed to keep the place open.

  • 11. monsey wrote:

    is happy to accept the children!!! LDC and MBCM are amazing!!!!!

    • 12. CGI Motown we will miss you wrote:

      Monsey from West Orange isn’t possible . Another unfortunate issue is the more modern children from the West Orange area were campers and Junior counselors. These kids got to spend a summer with Chabad Bachrim full of Chayos and the Rebbe’s Inyanim. But this isn’t possible for a 8-10 year old to sit on a bus from Motown to Monsey. Again there are other camps in the area.

  • 13. happy wrote:

    Many happy and fulfilled counselors passed through CGI Morrisstown,its a pity it could not be sustained.One less place for our teens to find work in the summer.

    • 14. CGI Motown we will miss you wrote:

      Well said. It was also on the Motown campus. When the counlers were not working they were surrounded by the Camp Kayitz and the local Baalei Batim. This really is a shame I felt close to tears when I realized it’s a reality.

  • 15. Parent wrote:

    To #9 yes I run a Moisod. And yes I am aware of the hardships. If you can not do it step down and get others involved. If I was not capable of doing a job I would not undertake to do it. So if someone undertakes the job, be prepared to do it.
    The drive to monsey is not an option for young children even if it is a great camp. What about the staff who are teenagers to let them roam the streets as they will not be able to find a job last minute

  • 16. Please tell us wrote:

    Is there any way to save the camp?
    I went there as a camper, and then went back years later as a counselor.
    Would love to know what needs to be done to save this amazing camp.

    • 17. way to save camp wrote:

      yes, they closed because lack of money. So if you find a millionare who agrees to give enough money for CGI to stay open it wont close

  • 20. CGI Motown we will miss you wrote:

    I am sure this was not an easy choice for the current Director. Their choice may have been very difficult and I am sure they discussed this with the local Rabbim and went to the Ohel.
    The Solomons are amazing people they put their heart and souls into CGI. My family is in debt to them and to CGI Morristown. As someone wrote they are busy with growing their Shlichus.
    It is a shame maybe the closing of the camp for one summer will motivate people for the next summer. My children are now too old to be campers.

    This is just reality, many camps have opened recently in the areas that CGI Motown campers came from. that took campers away from CGI MoTown. This wasn’t done purposely it’s just what occurred.

    Sorry this is still a sad day . My son keeps in touch with all of his counselors till this day. Weddings, Upsharins etc. That love and connection will never end.

    Thank You CGI Morristown and the Solomons for the most amazing years.

  • 21. to #2 wrote:

    Why dont you move to another community? Your kids are your responsibility. You had them be prepared to deal with the hardships. If you cant deal with it, if the drive is too hard why did you undertake the job of having and raising them?

    Come join us in Crown heights… better for your kids either way.

    And by the way if we were before gimmel tammuz maybe you would be a mentch

    • 22. Citizen Berel wrote:

      This is very special. And very wise. Especially the part about undertaking a job to have children. Oh…

      Are you Jewish?

    • 23. Ezra wrote:

      Citizen Berel, the previous commenter didn’t say anything about having to have a job (parnassah) before having children. He or she said:

      “…undertake the job of having and raising them…”

      And yes, it is a job – ואת עמלנו אלו הבנים. A rewarding one, a necessary one, but still a lot of work.

    • 24. Citizen Berel wrote:

      Hello, Mr. Ezra:

      It’s hard work, yes. And that’s completely beside the parent’s point.

      There are pernicious winds blowing in the direction of “you had the kids you deserve to suffer shut up and stop complaining — You could have opted out and would have had nothing to complain about.” That’s not Jewish.

      Only a handful of us can at the outset (or even later) financially ‘rationalize’ having a large family.

      The Jewish attitude is serve G-d and trust in him, and it will work out, or at least that’s what I’ve received from my Rebbe and my chinuch and is my understanding.

      There are good reasons why all the blaming and complaining is foolish — but “you had the kids so shut up” isn’t one of them.

  • 26. I'll miss you morristown wrote:

    my family was on shlichus in NJ and we moved to CH a few years ago. I really miss morristown!

  • 27. Fomer HC of Morristown wrote:

    As a former HC of Morristown Day camp, it truly brings tears to my eyes to see such a beautiful camp close down. No disrespect to the current director, but I think this is a testament to the amazing work the Solomons did for the camp. As a first-hand witness, the Rabbi and Rebbetzin gave literally their entire life and soul to making the camp run as succesful as it did. Sleepless nights starting months before camp began became a norm. They are truly one of the greatest inspirations, a true dogma chaya of what it means to be given over, what it means to put your heart and soul into something you believe in. With the tens of counselors and staff members, and hundreds and campers that enjoyed the greatest of the camp, I hope I can speak for all of them when I say that we are all so grateful for what you did for us!

  • 28. Suggestion wrote:

    Maybe the camp can scale down and still run. The camp was known for their trips – two a week, it doesn’t have to be that way.
    Hopefully someone will be able to pull something together!!!

  • 29. gan izzy wrote:

    as a camper and counselor of this incredible camp I am sad to see it end. the Solomon’s put their life and love into this camp and that’s what kept it running so well for so many years.

  • 30. Resident wrote:

    Stop blaming parents. Someone who undertakes to run a Moisod should be ble to do it. If you can’t, step down or ask for help. It is the easiest cop out to just close the Moisod without any regard to the consequence. Please be responsible and mature ok

  • 32. cr wrote:

    As a parent, planning on sending two of my kids to the camp, this came as a big shock and disappointment to so many of us. We do not live in morristown but spent a ridiculous amount to bus our kids there and pay a huge amount so that they have a chassidish influence for the summer. Its a big shame on many accounts.

  • 33. Another Former Head Counselor wrote:

    The Solomons put in their heart and soul into this camp (not to mention countless hours and sleepless nights) and no camp will ever come close to Morristown. It is a sad loss for all those who planned on attending this summer. Working closely with the Solomons was a privilege and an honor. May they have much hatzlocha in their shlichus.

  • 34. crazy wrote:

    i hope all who got involved in the past year arent patting themselves on the back……

    for 22 years the solomons directed the day camp with 350 plus kids each year. it was a camp for kids from west orange, teaneck etc.

    if an organization is successful for so long….. LET LIVE.
    sometimes you just dont realize what you have untill you dont have it anymore i.e. successful, responsible, smart people!!!

  • 35. why does no one realize wrote:

    that camps need $ to operate?? seems all these comments are from the parents’ point of view…what about the moisad itself? If the parents really care, they should support it financially – that means pay as much as they can for camp tuition…as a camp director I see all too often the parents going on luxurious vacations and then trying to get away with paying nothing for camp. If you want your kids to have a camp, you have to support it with money – simple as that. And if you feel your money is better spent elsewhere…how do you expect the camp to run?? The counselors/trips/instructors/buses/rent all have to get paid. I’m sorry but it’s NOT the job of those who own a moisad to fight with the parents for their money, while they are busy taking care of everything else…it’s the job of the parents who benefit from the camp to support it. A fellow director told me of a young woman who wanted to work at her camp while single, but wanted TOP dollar. In the end, the camp did not take her as they couldn’t afford it….but then a few years later when she was married with kids and wanted to send her kids to the camp…she wanted to pay less than half for camp tuition!! It’s this attitude which is causing our moisdos financial ruin.

  • 36. Rabbi & Mrs. S. B. Stock wrote:

    We at Camp Chomeish of New England understand the catastrophic impact this will have. If there are any GIRLS 8-14 that want to come to an overnight camp please call 203 816-0770 we will try to accommodate with a price you can afford. We still have some space available and even more for second month. We are located in Moodus, CT about 2 1/4 hours from Morristown.

  • 37. donations????..... wrote:

    k instead of complaining we should do something abt it!!!!!!! lets campaign!!!!!!!!!!

  • 38. crowd funding? wrote:

    it’s raised 10s of thousands of dollars for other causes. How much $$ is needed to keep the camp open?
    Can EVERY family in CH and Motown (and beyond) give at least $25 – $50? The rich should give much more and those who are struggling – it’s hard, but do what you can.
    We’ve helps so many organizations. We can save this camp too. The Rebbe would be proud of us if we did.

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