Camp Gilgal began in 1991 to provide Jewish children (primarily children of Jewish believers) an excellent camping experience including: opportunities for spiritual and personal growth, affirmation in their Jewish identity, fellowship with other Jewish believing children, and fun. The camp began as an all-male camp in northern California and Pennsylvania. David “Moose” Garrett is the founder of Camp Gilgal, which, since its beginning, has grown to include the Midwest, in addition to the West and East.
Here on the East Coast, Camp Gilgal began in 1991, working under the leadership of Uncle Bob (Mendelsohn). It functioned as a “camp within a camp” in connection with Victory Valley Camp & Outpost, in Zionsville, PA. That first year was also an all-male camp, but in 1992 it became a coed camp. In 1997, Josh “Speedy” Sofaer took over leadership from Uncle Bob. In 2000, Camp Gilgal moved to Albany, NY, where it now runs as a separate camp, using the facilities at Camp Pinnacle. In 2006, Camp Gilgal leadership transferred from Speedy to Liz “Twister” Goldstein. Twister was a camper, turned staff, turned director. She was part of the first coed camp in 1992! As of 2015, Rebekah “RedSox” Rood is taking the reins of leadership. Like Twister, RedSox is also a camper, turned staff, turned director!
Where Did the Name “Camp Gilgal” Come From?
The name “Camp Gilgal” comes from Joshua 3-5:12. This passage tells us of the Jewish people crossing into the Promised Land through the Jordan River. Gilgal is the name they gave to the place where they first camped. It was while the Jewish people were camped at Gilgal that they renewed the covenant of circumcision with the Lord and it was also the first time they ate from the produce of the land (bringing an end to God’s daily provision of manna). While we are “camped at Gilgal,” it is a time for us to renew our covenant to follow Yeshua, and to encourage the campers to do the same.