We hope this letter finds you doing well and getting ready for Chanukah.
We are still glowing from the success of our Annual Gala on November 19, at which we honored Camp Charles Pearlstein and recognized 36 years of Jewish residential summer camping in the Southwest. The sacred responsibility of sustaining the only residential Jewish summer camp in the Southwestern United States is something for which every member of our congregation should feel great pride. We are grateful to our committee and families for participating in this most successful evening.
One of the highlights of the event was the screening of a video which included the voices of our campers sharing the impact camp has had on them and the profound Jewish experiences enjoyed as a result of a summer at our camp. In addition to the campers, the video included accounts from Jerry Lewkowitz and the four of us. Jerry Lewkowitz, one of the founders of the camp in 1975 and a past president of our Board, and each of us in our own way, spoke to the power of camp; its rich and vibrant history which was bequeathed to us; and our generation's duty to carry the torch and ensure the legacy of the visionaries who made the camp possible. Of course, among those venerated, founding leaders of the camp was another past president, Irv Pearlstein. Indeed, we take this obligation seriously and we are deeply committed to sustaining such a vital entity for Jewish life in the Southwest.
In this spirit, we are thrilled to announce that CBI members Jill and Jay Stein have pledged a major gift to our camp to honor Jay’s parents, Daisy and Harry Stein. Jill and Jay’s commitment to Jewish summer camping and building on the success and perseverance of our sacred camp in Prescott these past 36 years is a testament to fulfilling the vision of “passing the torch,” to the next generation.
To honor Jill and Jay for their generosity and commitment, the Board of Directors passed a motion at its November 30, 2011 meeting to enable Marc Lerner to execute an agreement with the Steins. This agreement would include changing the name of our camp to Camp Daisy and Harry Stein (Camp Stein) in the near future.
To be sure, given the magnitude and emotionally charged nature of such a decision, we assure you that the Board of Directors has acted with the utmost thought, professionalism, sensitivity and respect throughout this process. It is important for everyone to know that there was ongoing consultation with Irv Pearlstein regarding the gift and name change from the earliest stages of this discussion. Not surprisingly, and with our deepest appreciation, Irv responded with great menschlikite and takes comfort in knowing that the camp's future is secure.
The Pearlstein name will remain part of the legacy and future of the camp and our Congregation for many generations to come. To that end, the Board unanimously approved naming the camp’s outdoor Chapel the “Irv Pearlstein Chapel,” to ensure that campers for generations to come will see this most sacred place as perpetually linked to the Pearlstein name.
We will also retain the name “Camp Pearlstein Road” as the physical address of the camp for as long as the United States Postal Service allows us to. That means that every piece of mail, coming or going, and every piece of marketing material with the camp's address, will include the Pearlstein name.
We all understand that the renaming of Camp Charles Pearlstein is the result of Congregation Beth Israel’s effort and desire to ensure the financial and spiritual future of Jewish residential summer camping in Prescott; and in a broader sense, in the Southwest. We feel that the gift from the Jill and Jay Stein family will allow us to endow the camp substantially for future generations, perpetuating the camp's legacy of building Jewish minds and fortifying Jewish identity. Most of all, the gift represents the “next generation” of Jewish communal leaders who – like those who came before us – will become active participants in the ongoing success of our community.
We want to give our most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to Jill and Jay Stein, along with their children Sadie, Mischa, Asher and Talia for their generosity and vision. Their commitment to our Jewish community and the generations yet to come is inspiring and uplifting. Jill and Jay are keenly aware that the positive emotional, spiritual and physical experiences people enjoy at camp require our dedication and love. Perhaps more importantly, they recognize that this gift really matters, allowing all of us to guarantee a brighter future for the Jewish People, enriching our community's ability to successfully raise Jewish children and grandchildren. Camp Daisy and Harry Stein (Camp Stein) will continue to be a sacred space for our children to share in the majesty and spiritual uplift which can only be achieved at a Jewish residential summer camp. We ask
for God’s blessings on the entire Stein family that this Mitzvah will continue to be a gift for our congregation and community in the years ahead.
More information about the transition will be forthcoming. We look forward to sharing in this special time for our congregational family. Please join us in wishing Mazel Tov and continued strength to Congregation Beth Israel and the Stein family.
Rabbi Stephen Kahn
Marc Lerner, President
Steve Bandler, Immediate Past President
Jodi Woodnick, Camp Director