Gala Banquet Celebrates 60th Year
Rabbi Avraham Shemtov and Rabbi Moshe Lazar addressed the campers, and
numerous videos and songs were prepared especially for the occasion.
On Tes Zayin Tammuz, 5716, the Rebbe visited the grounds of the fledgling Camp Gan
Yisroel. Touring the installations, the Rebbe showed his great interest in every aspect of
As the 60th summer of Camp Gan Yisroel – New York continues, this day was celebrated
in a truly special way.
Immediately following Mincha, the campers entered the shul, which had been
decorated for the occasion with special lighting, large screens, and state-of-the-art
surround sound. The evening began with greetings from former campers and staff,
including Rabbi Shmuel Lew, Rabbi Zev Katz, Rabbi Moshe Feller, and many others. This
was followed by a few words from HC Berel Slavaticki, who emphasized the importance
of the day.
After singing Ani Maamin with a video of the Rebbe, the Rebbe’s kapital was read by
Following the lavish main course, prepared by chef Shloime Futerfas and the dedicated
kitchen staff, Rabbi Avraham Shemtov spoke. He shared with camp a note that he
recently found in which Rabbi Lazar had written the directives that the Rebbe gave
regarding the founding of camp. After describing in detail the Rebbe’s close connection
with camp, Rabbi Shemtov called up the guest speaker, Rabbi Moshe Lazar, who flew in
especially for the occasion from Milan, Italy, where he is a shliach. Rabbi Lazar was
privileged to be the one who founded Camp Gan Yisroel together with Rabbi Yossi
Weinbaum and Rabbi Kehos Weiss, as well as being the first head counselor. Rabbi
Lazar described the Rebbe’s fatherly care to each and every individual, and spoke
about how Camp Gan Yisroel has grown from 1 camp with under 100 campers in the
inaugural season to 400 branches, with 10,000 staff and 150,000 campers annually.
Gan Yisroel’s very own choir then sang a song that was composed especially for this
event. A sicha of the Rebbe about the importance of camp was then shown, after which
a camper spoke and introduced the theme video. The theme video describes the
change that camp can make in the life of each camper. Then came spirited singing and
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The evening was capped off by a performance by the world-renowned psychologist and
“mind-reader” Mark Salem. Salem, who himself was a camper in Gan Yisroel,
enthralled the audience with his seemingly impossible feats.
The banquet was made possible by the efforts of our dedicated staff. Special thanks go
to Rabbi Shemtov, Rabbi Futerfas, Naftali Marasow, Shmuli Zalmanov, ECADs Yisroel
Cohen and Sholom Loebenstein, and Shishim Shona coordinators Dovi Pinkovitch and
Tzemach Dovid Feller.