August 2011
JData Revealed


Jewish Camps Across America
Power of JData & Overnight Camps
Strength of the Field
I Believe in Camps...But Show Me the Data
Filling Beds
New Insights, New Opportunities
JData & The Jewish Camp Movement



New JData profile forms available on September 1. Get ready to enter your data! 


Learn more about the profile forms here. 









September 2011


Sept. 8: Power of JData----

     Getting Started


Sept. 12: Power of                      JData in                        Greater  

             Los Angeles     


Sept. 14: Power of                      JData in                        Greater  

             Los Angeles  


Sept. 14: Power of  

            JData---- Getting 



Sept. 22: Exploring the 


             of Jewish 


 October 2011  


Oct. 5: Power of JData----

           Getting Started


Oct 27: Exploring the 


           of Jewish




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Letter from the Director  

It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to the inaugural issue of JData Revealed, a monthly newsletter with information and ideas from Developed at Brandeis University with the generous support of the Jim Joseph Foundation, JData is a public repository of information about the organizations that comprise the Jewish education system in North America.


Below you will learn about the 2010 data from the world of Jewish summer camp----enrollments, budgets, staffing, and other data that define the size, shape, and health of the field. These data were retrieved on August 15, 2011. Note that JData is a dynamic system and numbers may change as more data are entered.


Dan Brown, founder of, discusses the value of the camp data from the perspective of the funder community and the wider world of Jewish education. Jeremy Fingerman, CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, explains how FJC is using JData for its annual camp census. The FJC-JData partnership has been a valuable one for all concerned, enabling us to gather data from 147 Jewish overnight camps and to make the information widely available. Paul Reichenbach, director of the URJ's camp programsand Steven Weinberg, director of the Habonim Dror Camp Association describe how JData is contributing to their efforts to strengthen the camps within their respective systems.


We hope these data highlights will pique your curiosity about JData. To learn how the site works, watch the video on our Homepage. To explore the camp data on your own, go to JData's Research page. To enter data from your organization, create a sign-in and then go to Profile. JData is based on the premise that "the more you put in, the more you get out."


We're eager to hear your reactions to JData Revealed. If you have any questions or suggestions, please write us at


And now, read on!


Amy L. Sales
Project Director
Senior Research Scientist, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

JData Revealed: Jewish Camps Across America  

Nonprofit Jewish summer camps are central institutions in the Jewish educational system in North America. Known for cultivating fun, friendships and creativity, summer camps are also settings in which children, teens, and young adults are immersed in Jewish life and Jewish learning. The JData Directory has contact information for 147 Jewish nonprofit overnight camps in North America---- independent and community camps, as well as those that operate under the aegis of a denominational or Zionist movement. These camps span the religious spectrum from secular through Modern Orthodox and Chabad. Included in the Directory are camps located throughout the United States and Canada.


Figure 1: Regional Concentration of Overnight Camps



 Retrieved August 15, 2011, from 


The largest concentration of camps and campers is in the Northeast, especially in the New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania area (Figure 1). The emergence of new camps is particularly notable in the West, an area of the country previously described as lacking a "camp culture." In fact, seven of the 20 camps established most recently are sited in the Mountain or West Coast regions.  


The Power of JData & Overnight Camps                       Jeremy Fingerman, CEO, Foundation for Jewish Camp   


Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) sees JData as an essential tool for the field of Jewish camping. This new communal resource can help FJC, camps, and the field in planning, communications, public relations, recruitment efforts and more.


FJC is now using JData for our annual camp census which we execute each fall, following the camping season. JData provides an easy and comprehensive method for camps to record information which they will be able to use for their individual purposes as well as for us to aggregate information about the field as a whole.   


 Read more... 

JData Revealed: Strength of the Field 

JData's key indicators depict the strength of the field. This "dashboard data" for Summer 2010 can be accessed from JData Research. Beginning in Fall 2011, the information will also be available in time-series format.


Table 1: Dashboard Data for Overnight Camps

No. of Camps Reporting






Operating budget 





 Retrieved August 15, 2011, from


As seen in the dashboard (Table 1), the nonprofit Jewish overnight camps are a significant enterprise. Camps constitute over $150 million dollar annual industry with more than 31,000 acres of prime rural land, at least 49 square miles of territory. Each summer tens of thousands of Jews of all ages attend camp.



I Believe In Camp...But Show Me the Data             Dan Brown, Founder,

Jewish camp is a key part of the Jewish educational landscape in North America. And now, with the release of the first report from JData, we're able to look at the overall size and health of the field. With the continuing emphasis on measuring impact across the philanthropic world, the data being collected will become invaluable not only to the camps but also to the funder community, who will be able to search---- by geography, interest and more---- and compare the various areas they fund.



JData Revealed:                                                       Filling Beds----A Critical and Ongoing Challenge

Every summer, camps need to fill bunks. The greater the enrollment, the greater the income from tuition, a camp's major source of revenue. Higher enrollment also means more children with a Jewish overnight camp experience and more staff hires. Filling beds is thus critical to a camp's financial health as well as to its potential to fulfill its educational and Jewish mission.

The field has engaged in several strategies to meet the enrollment challenge. JData contains data relevant to each of these strategies:


Retention rate  

Session options
Incentive grants  

 "Taste of Camp" programs  


New Insights, New Opportunities                                   Paul Reichenbach, Director of Camping & Israel Programs,                     Union for Reform Judaism 

For many years, those of us in Jewish camping labored in relative anonymity, not truly taken seriously by the organized Jewish community or the philanthropic world. Through extraordinary effort, Jewish camps are now universally recognized as radiant centers that joyfully explore Jewish living and learning and inspire lifelong Jewish journeys. This new reality poses significant opportunities and challenges. We cannot afford to function in a vacuum, ignoring the accumulated wisdom, best practices and data that can help shape our vision and strategies for excellence. Much is at stake.



JData & The Jewish Camp Movements                           Steven Weinberg, Executive Director, Habonim Dror Camp Association

Habonim Dror

The managers of the Jewish camp movements need information in order to maintain a sense of how their individual camps are doing relative to each other and to see if, as a movement, they are reaching certain enrollment and other strategic goals. It is no small challenge to create a management information system that can be all things to all Jewish camps.  


Read more...  

JData is operated by Brandeis University with generous support from the Jim Joseph Foundation 

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