• Get to know Toby, our Songleading Immersive Teacher!

    Hi, I’m Toby Pechner and I’m leading the Songleading Immersive this summer. This will be my second summer at Kutz and 17th at camp. I’m from San Francisco (huge Giants fan) and spend my time not songleading at camp, and other places. I’ve recently gotten into baking sourdough bread, so hopefully I’ll be able to […]


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  • Creating Kehilah Kedoshah Where We Are

    You’ve probably read the dozens of testimonies about how Kutz Camp turned alumni into better community members, leaders, friends, and Jews. The most beautiful part of Kutz in my eyes-- frustratingly overlooked by many in their mournings over camp’s closing -- is its long-standing inclusion program for teens on the Autism Spectrum: The Gibush Program.


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  • The Letter That Changed My Life Was Written When I Was 2 Years Old

    A year ago, I had no intention of spending four weeks of my summer away from home. When I was younger, I attended overnight camp and absolutely HATED it, and after that experience, I was determined to never spend a summer away from Arizona again. But then, a little less than a year ago, I was elected to become the next president of NFTY Southwest, and everything changed. Hours after my installation, I was sitting next to my predecessor, looking through a binder that had been passed down to regional presidents since 2003, when I came across a letter that changed my life.


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  • Coming and Going

    This shabbat, in addition to being Shabbat Shuva, the shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when we read a special and beautiful haftarah all about repentance and forgiveness, is also one of the last parshiyot of the year, Vayelech. I want to call our attention to one particular line from Vayelech (and there aren’t that many to choose from- at 30 psukim, Vayelech is the shortest parsha in the Torah).


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  • Speaking Truth To A Higher Power

    Abraham. Cain. The daughters of Tzelafchad. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. All of these people have one thing in common: passion for advocating for and pursuing justice. Cain advocated to God on his own behalf for a more just punishment. Abraham stood up to god in order to prevent the destruction of an entire city. The daughters of Tzelafchad advocated for the right of women to inherit land, for themselves and for future generations.


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  • It’s Good To Be Home: Promoting Mental Health At Camp

    Kutz is my home. I have spent just shy of 10 summers here teaching (and learning) alongside these incredible teens and staff. Two years ago, in partnership with The Jewish Board, UJA-Federation of New York, and a great group of teens I launched a Jewish teen mental health initiative. Our goal is to support mental health, wellbeing, and resilience through learning, connections, and creativity.


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  • It Works When We Own It

    Melissa Frey is the Director of the URJ Kutz Camp. Following a program on owning your own story with Pam Schuller of Here.Now., she addressed our community with her reflections on failure and growth, and how the two go hand in hand.


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  • Renewing Our Passion Through Learning Together

    We are Lee and Lizzie. We have spent the past 3 weeks together, one as a participant in the Action and Advocacy Immersive, powered by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and one as teacher of the immersive. Actually, our relationship goes waaaay back to April when we met at NFTY-MAR’s Spring Kallah. For both of us, this meeting gave future insight into what our summer experience would be like.


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  • Praying Sincerely and Singing Loudly

    For six years, I called a different camp my home. Starting when I was just 8 years old, I left my family for weeks at a time to involve myself in as much Jewish programming as I could. I grew up around my camp. I graduated elementary school and then middle school, and each year I would board the Greyhound bus that would take me to my favorite place on earth.


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  • An Interview With Peri Smilow

    This session we had the chance to sit down and talk with Peri Smilow, the Director of Program and Engagement for the Association of Reform Zionist of America. During her week as Kutz faculty, she had the chance to engage with teens and immerse herself in our Kutz community.


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