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As Young Judaea’s national teen summer camp, Camp Tel Yehudah has served tens of thousands of Jewish teens for over 75 years. As we move into the future, Tel Yehudah is evolving into the Center for Jewish Teen Life, a hub for Jewish teen programs from multiple youth-serving organizations, strengthening the landscape of Jewish teen programming, and expanding the high-quality, immersive and exciting opportunities available to Jewish teens.

Welcome to Merkaz: A Unique Jewish Teen Experience

Experience a summer like no other at Merkaz: a new program at the Center for Jewish Teen Life! From July 24 to August 7, 2024, we are bringing together Jewish teen programs from various organizations who will collaborate to create a unique and immersive Jewish experience for teenagers. Along with programs from three other leading Jewish teen organizations, Tel Yehudah is launching two new specialty programs.  Choose one of the five programs that interests you most and dive in. 

You will be part of a community of teens from all of these programs, spending part of the day in these high-level specialized programs, and the rest of the day and night enjoying all that Tel Yehudah has to offer including ropes course, pool, tzofiyut (scouting), shira (Israeli singing), rikud Israeli dancing), sports, fun evening activities and so much more. 


Dates Grade in Fall 2024 Tuition
July 24 - August 7 9 - 12 $3,500

Already registered for the Full Session (June 26th – July 23rd) add a Merkaz program for only $2000. Save $1500.  Registered for one Bloc, save $500 when you add Merkaz for $3000.  All Merkaz programs require a short application and acceptance before registering.

If you are currently in 9th, 10th or 11th grade you are likely eligible for a $2000 RootOne voucher for Merkaz. Read more and apply now.

*visit Rates and Dates for additional information about Tuition and Discounts.

Apply Now

Choose the Merkaz program that’s right for you:

Merkaz Tarbut

Embark on a transformative journey through the vibrant world of Jewish teen culture, connecting with peers from across the United States, Israel, and beyond, right here in Barryville, NY! This is very much Tel Yehudah’s classic camp program designed for global Jewish teens. Our program offers an exhilarating blend of immersive experiences designed to introduce you to the diverse tapestry of Jewish life. Uncover the culinary secrets of Jewish cooking. Immerse yourself in captivating sessions on Jewish television, music, and storytelling, gaining insight into the dynamic creative pulse of Jewish communities around the globe.

Engage in an array of exhilarating outdoor experiences, from Israeli scout-inspired adventures to exciting sports activities that foster teamwork and camaraderie. Deepen your appreciation for Jewish arts and culture while gaining invaluable insights into the multifaceted realities of Jewish life worldwide.

Merkaz Manhigut: The Center for Jewish Teen Leadership

Our Manhigut – Leadership Development Deep Dive is a dynamic and inspiring experience rooted in Jewish values and Young Judaea’s core pillars, designed for teens who aspire to deepen their skills and become leaders in Young Judaea and beyond. Built upon Young Judaea’s signature approach to cultivating peer leadership, this program provides a transformative journey fostering personal growth and real-time practical application. Guided by Young Judaea’s rich history of peer leadership, chanichim are encouraged to explore their own leadership potential within a diverse and inclusive environment. Through immersive experiences, leadership challenges, and meaningful discussions, you will gain valuable skills and a deep understanding of how Jewish values can guide you in becoming compassionate, empathetic, thoughtful and effective leaders. This program will not only equip chanichim with the tools to lead but also instill a lifelong commitment to making a positive impact on the world, rooted in the timeless values of Jewish tradition.  You will receive a the Manhigut Certificate for successful completion of this program. 

Merkaz Ivrit: Center for Hebrew Language

Merkaz Ivrit, offered by Kayitz Kef through the Consortium for the Teaching of Hebrew Language at Brandeis University, is a one-of-a-kind Hebrew immersion experience. It blends camp life with an authentic taste of Israel, providing an immersive environment for learning Hebrew and connecting deeply with Israeli culture. This isn’t your average language program—it’s a hands-on journey that transforms every moment into an opportunity to enhance your language skills. Imagine confidently conversing with Israeli friends, understanding current news, and enjoying Israeli movies without subtitles. Merkaz Ivrit is your gateway not only to speaking Hebrew but to living the language and culture of Israel.

No prior Hebrew experience is necessary for campers, and participants will receive a completion certificate from Brandeis’ Consortium for the Teaching of Hebrew Language and Culture. More than just a language course, Merkaz Ivrit offers a unique chance to improve your Hebrew in the most immersive and authentic manner. It’s an experience that reshapes the way you learn and experience Hebrew and deepens your connection with Israel and its people.

Merkaz HaZamir

Experience all the joys of HaZamir’s immersive musical community and the best summer has to offer at Merkaz HaZamir!  From barbershop quartets to vocal coaching, jam sessions to a capella and fun performance opportunities, we’re bringing the HaZamir experience to camp!  HaZamir: The International Jewish Teen Choir, is a musical youth movement rooted in the rich tradition of Jewish choral singing. In fun-filled masterclasses and workshops, teens will make music and memories together. Whether singing Israeli music in four-part harmony or belting at an open-mic night, chanichim will have a blast and deepen their vocal skills.

Teens will take their singing to the next level.  They will be ready to apply their newfound knowledge to any musical program and will emerge a more confident singer having experienced a variety of personalized musical training. You will return home ready for any audition and who knows? You might just be up next at Carnegie Hall!  This summer experience is perfect for the seasoned HaZa-teen and new singer alike — no prior HaZamir experience required — and is sure to make any musical teen’s summer a dream come true.

Merkaz Q

Merkaz Q is a summer camp experience for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary, and queer teens and allies interested in the intersections of Jewish and LGBTQ+ identities. Learn more about yourself, make new friends, grapple with ideas that matter to you in a safe and fun environment.

Maybe you’re a member of a Tzelem group, maybe you’ve attended a Keshet Shabbaton, maybe you have never met another Jewish teen who identifies as LGBTQ+ or an ally yet – this two-week camp experience is for you!

Keshet and Moving Traditions are joining together to offer this new program built for teens like you: all the BEST OF CAMP and an INCLUSIVE SMALL COMMUNITY within camp that centers teens who may not always feel centered in school and other camp settings. Open to rising 9th through 12th grade LGBTQ+ TEENS AND ALLIES who are interested in exploring gender and sexuality identity through the lens of Jewish experience and culture in an affirming and supportive community that celebrates our full selves.

 Moving Traditions emboldens Jewish youth to thrive through the pursuit of personal wellbeing (shleimut), caring relationships (hesed), and a Jewish and feminist vision of equity and justice (tzedek). Keshet works for the full equality of all LGBTQ+ Jews and our families in Jewish life. We have long collaborated to offer Tzelem groups for LGBTQ+ teens and are so excited to now be partnering on Merkaz Q.

More information about Merkaz:

Program Features

Merkaz campers will:

  • Meet and live with other Jewish teens from around the US and world
  • Participate each morning their chosen Merkaz high-level specialized program
  • Explore another Merkaz program for an hour each afternoon
  • Experience camp’s activity areas
  • Enjoy fun-filled evening activities
  • A unique Shabbat experience each week
  • World famous TY Rikud and Live Noah Wilker concert every Saturday night
Sample Merkaz Seder Yom (Daily Schedule)

This is what a “day in the life” of Merkaz might look like:

Time Activity Description
8:00am Boker Tov (Wake-Up)
8:45-9:15am Aruchat Boker (Breakfast) Sit with your bunk to start the morning together over a hot, fresh and delicious breakfast
9:20-9:50am T’fillot (Morning Prayers)/Alternative T'fillot/Intenion Setting You will partake in a meaningful morning ritual to start the day(by Merkaz program)
10:00-1:30 Merkaz Program Participate in your intensive Merkaz Program
1:30-2:15pm Aruchat Tsohorayim (Lunch) Come for the delicious, healthy and kosher meal; stay for the Shira (singing) or Rikud (dancing) session in the Chadar Ochel (dining hall)!
2:15-2:45pm Nikayon B’Tsrif (Bunk cleaning) Check your bunk's work-wheel and see what your cleaning assignment is for today and get to work to keep that bunk spiffy!
2:45-3:45pm Chofesh (Open Choice Activities) You can choose activities and spend time with friends under general staff supervision. Specialty areas, including the pool, are open during this time to offer special options, so you can enjoy more of the activities you love!
3:45-4:45pm Zman Bechira (Elective Period) You can choose from a variety of recreational activities ranging from team sport activities, video-making, jam band, arts & crafts, Israeli dance, etc.
5:00-6:00pm Merkaz Exploration Explore one of the other Merkaz programs
6:15-7:20pm Bunk Time: Low Ropes Course Your bunk is heading to the low ropes course for bonding and team building
7:30-8:30pm Aruchat Erev (Dinner) Sit with your friends in other chugim and enjoy a themed camp-wide dinner
9:00-10:15pm Peulat Erev (Night Activity) What's your “fun” group, evening activity tonight? Your chug is having a Mediterranean themed pool and dance party under the stars!
10:30-11:15pm Peulat Laila Tov (In-Bunk nightly activity) End the evening with this nightly activity to bond with your bunkmates and wind down before heading to bed
11:15pm Laila Tov (Lights Out) You've had a long, fun day and you need your sleep to get ready to do it again tomorrow!
What Is Included?
  • Room and board within our furnished cabins
  • 3 healthy, nutritious and kosher meals a day
  • $10 stipend for snacks and treats from our camp canteen
  • 24/7 professional medical staff that can dispense first-aid and prescription medicines
  • Dynamic and trained camp professionals
  • Regular laundry-service
  • 24/7 on-site security services
  • Transportation to/from Newark International Liberty Airport on opening and closing day
Is Merkaz right for me?

Yes! If you are…

  • Currently in 8th through 11th grade
  • Looking to intensely explore your interests
  • Looking to spend your summer with other Jewish teens
  • Ready to build your own summer and choose how you spend parts of your day at camp
  • Interested in living with Jewish teens from around the US and the world

Apply Now