Camps & Education | Federation grant boosts Camp Newman expansion plans

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URJ Camp Newman, the Reform Jewish sleep-away camp that serves 1,400 campers each summer and even more at year-round retreats in the Santa Rosa hills, has received a $1 million grant from

the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.

The money will go toward the camp’s $30 million campaign to improve infrastructure and create additional housing and program space. The camp has now raised $12 million toward the total, and construction on the housing has begun.

Counselors create a “shelter of peace” over campers at Friday night services. photos/courtesy of camp newman

Already completed are core infrastructure updates, including to the electrical and plumbing systems, using a $5 million grant from the URJ. Five new cabins will be ready for campers this summer; 16 are planned in all. Plans also include a new retreat center that would triple capacity for use during the off-season, and a welcome hub and wellness center with on-site health care practitioners.

In the off-season, Camp Newman serves 3,500 adults and children for retreats each year. With the new retreat center, camp administration anticipates being able to serve 13,000 a year. Construction will be completed in phases, administrators said, to avoid interfering with summer or off-season uses. The camp has been located on the 500-acre Santa Rosa site since 1997.

Teenagers help develop and maintain Newman’s model of sustainability, Kibbutz Yarok — “Oky” to campers.

Daryl Messinger, Camp Newman’s board chair, said the camp was “honored” to receive such a large contribution from the JCF. “It is wonderful to have the federation as a partner in ensuring that everyone can be a beneficiary of the immersive magic of camp.”

Jennifer Gorovitz, federation CEO, said Camp Newman — which draws campers not only from California but also from Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii and Texas — represents the type of Jewish experience the Jewish community needs to invest in — both for children and adults. The camp is “realizing a vision of a camp environment open to the entire community year-round,” said Gorovitz.

“Our endowment fund represents the legacy of hundreds of members of our community and exists to ensure a vibrant Jewish future. Given the vital role that camp plays in building a strong Jewish identity, Camp Newman is an essential part of the fabric of our community,” she said. “This grant will ensure that it remains so for generations to come.”

For information on Camp Newman, visit

Emma Silvers

Emma Silvers is a former J. staff writer.