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Remembering My Camp Experience

The Jewish Journal emailed a bit ago, looking for anecdotes about camp pranks. As a former camp director, head counselor and camper, I have many (mostly) fond memories of some rather creative camp pranks. One of my favorites was highlighted in the Jewish Journal this week:

“Camp is a place of freedom, where everything is measured against fun. Is it fun? Are we having a good time? Pranks are a part of that,” said Rabbi Paul Kipnes of Congregation Or Ami in Woodland Hills, who directed Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu, and still goes up to the Reform movement’s camp in Santa Rosa to teach every summer.

Kipnes’ favorite prank happened when he was the head counselor at Kutz Camp in the Catskills in the late 1980s. Kipnes came back from a day off to find his personal belongings carefully placed on his bunk floor, surrounded by wall-to-wall Dixie cups full of what he soon found out was toilet water.

As head counselor, he got back at the perpetrators — all of them now prominent rabbis in the Reform movement — by scheduling them for double night-watch duty followed by early morning breakfast set-up.

Thankfully, camps now control the pranks (or so say my children) such that they are tame and fun. Isn’t that what camp is all about?


  1. Anonymous says:

    It was a very funny prank. No harm done. That said, there are reputations to protect and… I still may want to pull my own prank on them now. As such, mum’s the word!

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