Jewish Seniors Rock on at U.S. Summer Camps

Senior summer camps have been created throughout the northeast United States, offering campers a variety of activities including dancing, kayaking and painting.

Inside the main hall of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, seven campers formed a circle and tried their best to dance in step to the lively beat of a do-se-do coming from a boombox.

Their instructor, Sylvia Rosenblatt, found them wanting.

Senior campers
Senior campers at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.Nate Lavey

“No, listen to me,” she said sternly. “You’re mixing it up with the ‘Boot Scootin’ Boogie.’”

This was not a dance lesson from your third-grader’s summer camp. Most of the guests at Isabella Freedman’s annual Senior Summer Camp were in at least their 70s and 80s. At 73, Rosenblatt herself hardly resembled a spritely camp counselor with a whistle around her neck.

The two-week session at Isabella Freedman for Jewish seniors is one of a handful of similar programs in the Northeast, including the nearby Berkshire Hills Emanuel Adult Vacation, Block and Hexter Vacation Center, the Kislak Adult Center and the Circle Lodge.

Read more on the Forward.