In the 1960’s into the early 1970’s, Arie Crown Day Camp in Chicago was a day camp unsurpassed by any that came before or since. Nowhere was counselor camaraderie so great, ruach so encompassing or campers so enthusiastic as during the years of “Machaneinu Arie Crown.’ The energy generated was due to Rabbi Reuven Levinson, camp director extraordinaire who offered counselors and campers alike a chance to soak up the excitement of Torah with enjoyment and passion.
Arie Crown Day Camp served the community by providing fun filled summers of play and learning for not only the religious children of our city, but for the less observant as well. Many came closer to Yiddishkeit through their intensive summer experience. There were literally hundreds if not thousands of children who went through Arie Crown Day Camp who owe part of the feelings that they have today for Judaism to the director and counselors of camp. This was due in great measure to the spirit of simcha generated by Rabbi Levinson, and then Rabbi Sam Biber, who followed in his able footsteps for the last two years of the camp. Serving Hashem through song and games, we all learned ‘the power of silver and gold may go away, but the Torah we learn will always stay.”
Camp served a purpose not only for the campers, but for the counselors as well. Despite the incredibly low pay (even for that time), counselors signed up year after year to be part of the magic of what went on each day at camp. No matter that the water at the forest preserves was undrinkable, that the spur of the moment trips could be a surprise to campers and staff alike, the magnetism of Rabbi Levinson drew them back like moths to a flame. Under the dynamic leadership of Rabbi Levinson, educator par excellence, camp was staffed with enthusiastic counselors, many of whom were either in chinuch or went on to become legendary in the profession.
The camaraderie among staff was truly second to none, and if you mention Camp Arie Crown to anyone who attended, be they former campers or counselors, you will immediately be met with a huge smile, representing the fond memories they have of those special summers.
Nearly fifty years after the end of camp, there will be a “Once in a Yovel” reunion of campers and counselors, to reminisce and give hakoras hatov to Rabbi Levinson, and take a stroll down memory lane. There is no charge for this event, which will be held on Sunday September 8, 2019 from 1-3 pm at Arie Crown Hebrew Day School, 4600 W Main St Skokie Il.
For further information and to register, please go to campariecrown.com