Donor Gives Learning Gazebos

The grandson of R’ Hirsch Chitrik OBM donated new roofed structures to advance learning at Camp Gan Israel in Parksville, NY.


By COLlive reporter

On the way to Siberia you will find 2 new gazebos.

This line – not from the National Geographic – might sound foreign to most, but to the campers of Camp Gan Israel in Parksville, NY, it is a source of excitement.

New roofed structures were recently placed on camp grounds (on the way to the Bar Mitzvah Division’s area known as “Siberia” due to its distance from the rest of the camp) for the use of learning classes.

They are the result of an ongoing effort to advance the learning level in Chabad’s veteran overnight camp for boys located in the Catskills.

The wooden gazebos with an open view of the surrounding area were donated by Mendy and Leah Schurder of Boca Raton, FL, in memory of his grandfather R’ Hersh Chitrik OBM, a learned man who supported educational causes.

“I would like to thank the Schurders for this generous gift that will enhance the learning experience of the campers in sunshine and rain,” says Rabbi Yossi Futerfas, director of the camp.

Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, long-time head of the camp and a friend of the late R’ Chitrik, said: “It is an approproate tribute to a person who was always looking to provide and improve facilities for chinuch.”

The learning program for the summer of 5772 is run by Rabbi Sholom Baras, Shazi Perman and Menachem Altein. A novel addition this year was the publication of a booklet of self-written pilpulim and chidushim by campers.

Rabbi Shemtov noted the Rebbe’s comment that Gan Israel is a Yeshiva from within, a camp from the outside, adding that this one will be the first of a new line of gazebos.

This addition to the camp will be on display when parents come to Upstate New York this Sunday for Visiting Day of the second month of camp.

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Camp Landmark Comes Down

Photo credit: Mendy Soffer

Campers and Staff members in CGI gathered around a tree on Wednesday .

It wasn’t a bonfire or a survival course in the woods.

The tree which stood in the central square of Gan Yisrael was an iconic fixture for as long as people can remember.

Nailed to it were direction signs with the signature nicknames pointing to areas in the camp. “Siberia” on the right, “Turkey” and “Texas” on the left.

While it didn’t have navigation to actual points in the camp (where exactly is the “arts & crafts” pointing to?), it’s creative carvings served as an introduction to the camp’s spirit for new campers and a meeting point for bunks and groups of friends.

Wednesday, as the directors of the camp, Rabbi Abraham Shemtov and Rabbi Yossi Futerfas, were strolling the grounds, they saw a staff member leaning on the tree and noticed that it was very shaky.  A staff member was called in, and without any ado, he shoved it over. The GM’s (general managers) were then summoned to slice it up, and cart it away.

While the less sentimental ones remarked “it’s just a tree…” Others standing around watching with emotion stated it was “the end of an era.”