May 21, 2019

Jewish Summer Camps Destroyed By Woolsey Fire

Remains of Camp Hess Kramer. Photo by Ben Poston/ Los Angeles Times

Camp Hess Kramer, its sister camp, Camp Hilltop, in Malibu Hills and Camp JCA Shalom have been destroyed by the Woolsey Fire.

“Although the full extent of the damage to Camp Hess Kramer and Gindling Hilltop Camp won’t be determined for some time, we know that it is severe,” the camp said via Facebook post, Sunday.

Hess Kramer lost Baruh Hall, Gildred Hall, the climbing wall, Leadership Library, the dance platform, and the ark, along with several staff residences and all but two of the cabins. Hilltop lost all the structures with the exception of two cinder block staff housing units.

The camp team which includes, Alberto Valner, Steve Leder, Donna Nadel, David Eshel, Doug Lynn, Seth Toybes and Jake Glucksman, reassured families and members of the community that the Torah scrolls survived the fires.

Camp JCA Shalom also went to Facebook following Shabbat on Sunday to say they had been affected by the fires.

“We now know the damage is indeed significant and devastating – many structures are partly or completely gone. We do not know about the entirety of the property as we are still unable to gain access due to the mandatory evacuation still in place,” the team wrote.

This past Sunday night, Camp JCA Shalom held a gathering at de Toledo High School in West Hills to provide comfort to those who lost their homes and summer camps in the fires.

The camps are owned by Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

“The location will be a different and temporary one, but we will be together this summer. There will be camp. Then, we will rebuild. Hess Kramer and Hilltop will endure,” Camp Kramer wrote.