Kids summer camp in texas camp history.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

CYJ History

Our Jewish Faith & Roots

Summer camp kids texas fireworks austin hill country.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Old jewish summer camp photo.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

The story of Camp Young Judaea can be called a story of faith, dedication, and perseverance, or “When Dreams Come True.” It is the story of how one man, Rabbi Ammon Prero, had the wisdom to choose three men who would take his dream as their own. Those three men were Harry Lipshy, Morris Shapiro, and Morris Wolf. They were all active members of the Zionist Organization of America and agreed with Rabbi Prero that a Jewish camp should be built where children from all over the area would have the opportunity to learn more about Judaism and Israel. They also agreed that no children would be refused admission because their parents were financially unable to send them. And so, the great adventure began. With money borrowed from a bank and donations from concerned Jews around the state, Camp Young Judaea began in 1952.

Summer camp treehouse tree fort kids texas jewish.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Jewish summer camp for kids 6 15 texas.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Back then, about 100 kids from around Texas trekked every summer to Center Point, Texas, where the founders rented from a camp called “Camp Christian”. Though the children didn’t have air conditioning or water slides, from the start, CYJ-Texas forged a family of young Jewish campers with a lasting emotional connection to others like them who were passionate about Israel.

Overnight kids camp texas summer jewish boys girls.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Texas co ed summer camp jewish history.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

The camp continued to grow, and in 1971, due largely to a matching fund bequest of $100,000 in the will of Ben G. Barnett, Camp Young Judaea obtained its present location. Today, Camp Young Judaea’s 22 cabins sit atop 240 acres in the Hill Country of Woodcreek, Texas. CYJ has over 600 summer campers and reaches almost five thousand through year-round retreats.

Camp summer overnight ropes course.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Jewish summer camp traditions in texas.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Beginning with the Zionist Organization of America and continuing with Hadassah until 2008, loving and honoring the State of Israel has been a priority at CYJ. The special CYJ culture of Hebrew music, Rikudei Am (Israeli dancing), arts, Kosher food and sports like “ga-ga”, basketball and soccer, create the bedrock of every camper’s summer experience. There are also elective options for photography, videography, mad science, cooking, pool games, and newscasting.

Summer camp bonfire texas counselors.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Kids summer camp in texas jewish history.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

None of this could have been accomplished without support from generations of staffers, donors, campers, and parents from throughout the United States, Canada, Israel and Mexico who have sustained CYJ-Texas for the past several decades.

Kids wall camp israel summer overnight texas.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Jewish summer camp for kids in texas history.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Many of today’s campers are the children of alumni who have remembered their time at CYJ as impactful and meaningful steps toward their growth into Jewish adults. CYJ boasts its relationship-building on all levels, including the marriages of at least 30 couples who first became connected through camp.

S1d19 ac irp20306.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1
Girls summer camp texas cyj overnight.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Since 1952, CYJ-Texas has provided a supportive and dynamic environment in which Jewish youth can explore, grow and mature. Through experiences designed to encourage a lifetime commitment to Judaism and Israel, Camp Young Judaea-Texas fulfills its mission: to educate, inspire and enrich the lives of its campers.