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In 1983, a young Rabbi David Shenker was motivated to do something for the Jewish community in memory of a young friend who tragically passed away. A grassroots approach to reach out and provide joyful, experiential Jewish programming for youth in the Long Island area began.  

The initial programs included Shabbaton weekends, JIL (Jewish Individualized Learning) branches and Hebrew School Visitations. By 1985, these start-up programs evolved into a full-fledged organization, the Jewish Education Program (JEP) of Long Island.

In 1988, Rabbi Shenker had a vision to create a summer camp program for the kids and families involved in JEP, and Camp Nageela was born. The first Camp Nageela opened that summer with 17 girls (the boys camp began a few years later). For its first 12 years, Camp Nageela rented space in hotels and campsites in upstate New York each summer. In 1998, Camp Nageela purchased the site of a former country resort in Fallsburg, New York as their very own campgrounds. Camp Nageela moved in for the camp season of 2000 and has been there ever since.

In 2006, a group of special individuals in Chicago were looking to open a Jewish overnight camp modeled after the success of Camp Nageela in New York and provide a positive and experiential Jewish overnight camp for families in the Midwest. Hosted on their own beautiful campgrounds in Marshall, Indiana, Camp Nageela Midwest opened its doors the following summer (2007). Quickly growing to serve hundreds of kids every summer, CNM is the premier Jewish overnight camp in the Midwest.

In 2008, former Camp Nageela East and JEP Staff Member, Rabbi Dani Locker who had moved from the New York area to Las Vegas, dreams of a Camp Nageela West. With the signature Nageela spirit and determination, Camp Nageela West opened its doors for the summer of 2009.

In 2011, the first Nageela day camp began in Boca, Florida. Camp Nageela Boca began as a program of the Jewish Education Center (JEC) of South Florida - well-known in the Boca Raton community for their outstanding programs to serve the needs of Jews of all backgrounds. Nageela Boca offers very flexible scheduling with the ability to choose any or all of the 6 week session. Local campers can choose a package including a Nageela overnight camp session and Nageela Boca day camp for the remaining weeks.

The national network of Nageela camps and year-round programming operate under the umbrella organization Nageela Joyfully Jewish Experiences. Today, Nageela is a well-known system of Jewish camps and youth and teen programming servicing thousands of individuals every single year. New programs and projects are developing constantly! Get involved- we are so happy to welcome you to our Nageela family


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National Nageela: Joyfully Jewish Experiences
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