Alumni Funds
Honor the past with camp for the future.

Alumni Funds

Since 1920, the impact of NJY Camps has been widespread, and for some, this impact continues to live in the form of a scholarship fund created in their memory. Making a donation to one of our named scholarships funds is a way of celebrating their legacy and ensuring that future generations of campers can have the same opportunity to experience Jewish summer camp at NJY Camps.

Steve Zawel Theatre Arts Scholarship

Steve Zawel headshot.

As Cedar Lake Camp’s Theatre Arts Director from the early 1960s and into the 1980’s, Steve Zawel embodied the passion, dedication, creativity, and charisma that it took to build this program into a show-stoppingsuccess, one that even led to staff productions.

Steve created a professional workshop experience, producing alumni that have gone on to successful careers on Broadway, in TV and film, as opera singers and radio personalities, and in other professions related to the performing arts. Steve taught campers self-confidence, grace under pressure, and the art of presentation.

To honor this award-winning director, teacher, friend – and recipient of the 2011 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award – the CLC Theatre “Kids” created this scholarship fund to pay homage to this important mentor.

Steve Landis and Jenny Meadows Fund

Steve Landis headshot.

Jenny Meadows headshot.

Steve Landis and Jenny  Meadows were campers together in the late 70’s until the mid-80’s. They were the kind of camp friends that made you want to come back every summer – to do it all again.

Steve was tall and skinny with long hair and a mischievous smile. He wore bandanas and was passionate about music. He had a sense of humor that left no one out of its reach. He was crazy wonderful and deeply kind and generous all at the same time.

Jenny was a beautiful, bubbly, curly-haired girl with her own unique sense of style and pizzazz. She was generous with friendship and her smile. She was the ultimate camp friend – fantastic, fun, and free, always making those around her feel special.

Steve passed in 1991 and Jenny in 2013, both leaving us far too soon. The mention of their names means so much to so many NJY Camps alumni who had the privilege of knowing them, laughing with them, loving them, and calling them friends.

Steve and Jenny’s friends set up the Steve Landis and Jennifer Meadows Scholarship Fund to help send children the chance to meet a “Steve”, or a “Jenny” at camp.

Seymour “Sy” Farber Memorial Fund

Sy Farber headshot.

Sy’s relationship with NJY Camps began when he was 16 years old and joined the Cedar Lake Camp staff as the Assistant to the Assistant in Arts and Crafts! He would later return to Cedar Lake Camp in 1956 as the Arts and Crafts Counselor, along with his wife Helen, a camp nurse, who he met at Camp Mah-Kee-Nac.

Sy would later become a Division Head, followed by the Director of TAC (Teen Camp) in 1961, and then finally the Head of the Service Department, a position he kept for the last few years that he worked at camp.

Sy worked in the New Jersey school system, holding positions as an art teacher and vice principal until he retired in 1989. During his retirement, Sy joined the NJY Camps Board of Directors and became the organization’s unofficial historian due to his impeccable memory of names and dates. No board meeting was ever complete without a Sy Farber history lesson. Sy sat on the NJY Camps Board for over 15 years and was a vital member until his passing in 2015.

Sy and Helen had two children, Barry and Sharon, both of whom were NJY campers and staff, and their grandchildren attended camp as well.

Matt Elson Memorial Fund

Matt Elson headshot.

Matt was regarded as one of the foremost authorities in the field of overnight camping and received numerous awards for outstanding work in Jewish communal service. During his 29 years as Executive Director at the NJY Camps he accomplished many things for the camp and we owe much gratitude to him and his family for making the camps what they are today. When Matt first came to NJY Camps in 1950, the country had just overcome a polio epidemic and the camp was in danger of closing its gates. Matt was able to save the agency while carrying camp through this important historical time. He was also the leader in purchasing the Lake Como property which gave birth to Round Lake Camp, the Kislak Senior Adult Center, and later Camps Nesher and Shoshanim.

Nathaniel Richman Cohen "Beit Nate" Scholarship Fund

Nathaniel Richman headshot.

From the age of six, Nathaniel Richman Cohen suffered from the effects of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare congenital disorder that caused him to grow progressively weaker with each passing year. He lost the ability to walk when he was eight years old, and by his teenage years, he was a quadriplegic. Nathaniel was determined to lead as normal a life as possible, and to him that meant attending a typical summer sleep-away camp. He attended Camp Nesher when he was 11 and spent every subsequent summer there, as both a camper and staff member, until his passing in April 2007 at the age of 21.

Nathaniel was a well-rounded kid who loved camp. Whether singing in the choir, acting in plays, or discussing the weekly Torah portion, he enjoyed it all. Most of all, Nathaniel loved playing sports, especially baseball, basketball and hockey. He never let his disabilities stop him from participating. At Camp Nesher, Nathaniel’s place on the team became the norm. When other camps would see him in a wheelchair taking to the field, playing goalie on the hockey rink, or bringing the basketball up the court, they were stunned. What began as disbelief almost always ended as sheer respect and admiration for the boy who would not accept “maybe you should sit this one out.” Nathaniel spent his final years at camp as a valued member of the athletics staff, even as his abilities to physically contribute waned.

Camp Nesher has been enriched by all of its campers and staff, but without Nathaniel Cohen, it would not be the Camp Nesher it is today.

Benjamin and Rosalyn Bendit Fund

Rosalyn and Benjamin Bendit headshot.

Benjamin Leonard Bendit was born in 1925 to Eastern European immigrants. Growing up in Irvington, NJ, Ben excelled in academics, graduating with honors from high school. At 18, he served overseas in the army as an x-ray technician. Post-war, Ben continued his college education at Indiana University, completing both a bachelor’s and law degree. Upon graduation, he started his own law practice, which grew considerably and is now known as Bendit Weinstock.

Rosalyn “Roz” (Katz) Bendit was born in 1930 to Russian Jewish immigrants. Roz completed a B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University Rutgers University and received the honor of being selected for the Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.

Roz and Ben married in 1952 and moved to Livingston, NJ to raise their four children, Charlie, Felicia, Ezra, and Michael. Both were civic minded. Ben joined a group of attorneys who went to Mississippi in 1967 to help register black voters. Meanwhile Roz was active in the League of Women Voters, the zoning board of Livingston Township, and volunteered for the Livingston Student Development Program.

Roz and Ben were by nature, very caring and generous people, becoming deeply involved with Israel Bonds and UJA, but their biggest passion was NJY Camps. All four of their children attended camp and they saw firsthand the powerful impact of a Jewish overnight camp experience. Ben served as President of the Board from 1977 to 1980.

Ben passed away in 1984, and Rosalyn in 2022. Their legacy lives on in all the campers that have enjoyed summers at NJY Camps thanks to their past financial commitment and currently thanks to their children who have followed in their footsteps and continue to support the camps’ scholarship program.