On June 17th, just five days before campers arrived, a fire engulfed the kitchen in the Aleph hadar ochel. Miraculously, no one was injured. Thanks to the swift response of firefighters and the timely action of kitchen staff, the fire was eventually contained. Nothing in the camp was damaged save for the hadar ochel. However, the damage was extensive. In particular, the kitchen was destroyed—catastrophically burned beyond salvage.
As you undoubtedly remember, the hadar ochel is the heart of camp. Much more than just a dining hall, it is a place where campers gather throughout the day to engage in peulot, to sing, to dance, and to hang out with friends. It is also the place where so many of us gained our first real work experience: where we learned to appreciate the challenges of physically-demanding labor, where we found joy in teamwork in service of a common goal, and ultimately, where we earned the satisfaction of knowing that together, we had reliably executed a difficult and critically-important job on behalf of the camp community. We sweated. We had fun. We grew a bit.
The loss of the hadar ochel is heartbreaking; no question about it. On the other hand, this tragedy presents an opportunity to start anew: to create a beautiful, modern dining facility to become the vibrant new center of Tel Yehudah. The goal is to deliver the new building by June of 2024, ready with open doors, polished floors, savory smells, and delicious food to welcome next summer’s chanichim.
Will you join us in this effort? With your support and guidance—together—we can usher in a wonderful new chapter for Tel Yehudah while leaving a lasting legacy for the Jewish community. Please, please help us as we rebuild the beating heart of our beloved TY.
Stu Stein, Jonathan Gindes, Barry Ableman and Bob Deresiewicz
Co-Chairs, Hadar Ochel Campaign