Video: Documentary to Premiere at 94th Agudath Israel Dinner in Honor of 75th Anniversary of Camp Agudah

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Back in 1942, while the guns of Europe were still blazing, Reb Elimelech Gavriel (Mike) Tress, together with several other young Agudah activists, saw the need for Jewish children to spend their summers in a healthy, Orthodox Jewish environment, as opposed to “hanging out” on the city streets. Thus, Camp Agudah was born.

In the early years, the camp attracted, predominately, campers from non-religious homes, as well as young refugees from the ravages of Churban Europe. The “ruach” of Camp Agudah proved to be a spiritual, as well as physical, lifeline for thousands of Jewish children, in those early years.

Today, as this summer’s 75th year of Agudah camping approaches, many of those responsible for the founding, and subsequent success, of Camp Agudah throughout the years will be feted at the 94th Anniversary Dinner of Agudath Israel of America at the Hilton NY on Sunday, June 5, 2016. This is not just a historical milestone, it is a testament to the heroes in our history who rose to face the challenges of a fledgling religious Jewish community in the United States – and created a response that sparked a revolution – the impact of which is felt, even today, by every frum child who attends camp, anywhere. And it is an event which we hope you will join.

Highlighting the evening will be a documentary film, produced by Aryeh Gelbard, with footage dating back to the 40s and early 50s, shot in Highmount, and then in Ferndale, NY. Some of the ‘stars’ featured in the video include: Mike Tress, Rabbi Boruch Borchardt, Rabbi Yaakov Teitelbaum, Rabbi Syshe Heschel, and Rabbi Chaim Yisroel Belsky zichronom l’vrocho. Also featured prominently is Meir Frischman, whose extraordinary devotion as director of the camp for the past 40 years will be marked at the Dinner.

Appearing in the video include such notables as Rabbis Nosson Scherman, Paysach Krohn, Mordechai Finkelman, Michoel Levi, Naftuli Hertz Basch, Yisroel Gelbwachs, Yehuda Frankel and Yehuda Oelbaum, as well as a slew of camp veterans who have made their marks in Klal Yisroel, in part, as a result of their positive experiences at Camp Agudah.

A short video trailer has been released to whet your appetite; no one who has ever benefited from Camp Agudah, or its offshoots, should miss this historic gathering.




  1. Rabbi Simcha Kaufman, the legendary Rabbi Kaufman, was a master at his craft. Anyone Zoche to be in camp and witness his passion when telling stories of Gedolim at the Shabbos Seudos, or the old days of the contata where all the lights were out in the social hall except for 1 small desk lamp shining on Rabbi Kaufman as he somberly shared stories and truly wept for the Churbon Bais Hamikdosh. His huge smile when he danced at a simcha. The care and concern that every camper and the entire camp have a summer befitting true Bnei Torah. Oh my oh my how awesome this man was in camp.

  2. Agreed. Rabbi Kaufman lived and breathed Camp Agudah for 50 years, and played a primary role in helping agudah become an elite camping experience. His lessons, many of which guide me till today, have left a lasting impact on thousands of campers.

  3. Wow, what an amazing clip! Seeing Rabbi Kaufman on that short video announcing the winner of color war brings back such wonderful memories of my summers at Camp Agudah. I truly envy all the zechusim that my 7th grade Rebbi has, for the tremendous impact he had on so many of us, both in the classroom and in the summer months. Rabbi Kauman’s mussar, hashkafah, torah, and yiras shomayim seeped into our neshamos, and has not left us even many years later.

  4. matzav may be holding back comments- i loved camp , my mentor was rabbi wolf what a tzadik , he was my choson teacher, tutor, and everything in between i am writing an ad and mailing it TO RABBI KAUFMAN it expresses my hakaras hatov . i urge everyone to do the same

  5. Very nicely done, Aryeh.
    Time flies. Nice to see so many faces from the past, many impossibly young and some sadly no longer with us.

  6. Oh do I miss those summer days! The melava malkas with Rabbi Trenk jumping , the Elmira pioneers game, Shabbos zmiros with Rabbi Brustowski and Yitzy Bald, the amazing grand sing, visits from Gedolei Yisroel, the erev Tisha Bav speech from Rabbi Kaufman to try to get us to feel the churban, Mrs Lankry’s delicious meals and kokosh cake, and so many other special moments that come to my mind. As a child, I did not realize the life lessons that I absorbed while in Camp Agudah, but there is no question that camp molded me into the person I am today. Special thanks to Rabbi Kaufman. I can still repeat to my children the stories of the gedolim that Rabbi Kaufman told us, as well as many of the Friday night stories that were woven with amazing lessons. I hope that my son, attending Camp Agudah this year, will learn as much as we did back in the good ‘ol days!! Ah I cannot wait to visit on Visiting day!

  7. Great video. Aryeh Gelbard does it again
    Who can forget the Ruach Kudos to Rabbi K for everything he did for 48 years He loved the camp and the camp loved him I still remember all those cantatas, chazoin speeches , Zemiros , 9 days etc.
    and as Ranbi K always said will all his heart
    ” AND THE WINNER IS- Anyone who got to see him in action “


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