Achdus is Born

The year was 1999. At that time, the Orthodox Jewish community of Philadelphia was faced with a blatant void. It did not have a summer program for its children. The excellence in growth that was achieved by the students of Politz Hebrew Academy and Torah Academy during the school year was undeniably remarkable. Would all of that be lost during the ten long weeks of summer that lay ahead?As the summer drew nearer, parents of young children could be found scrambling; a camp, a playgroup, indeed, a babysitter would suffice. Rabbis Gedalia and Tuvia Goldstein, then in their high school years were motivated by the mission to fill this void and opened Camp Achdus to several young boys. In its infancy, the camp was operated out of the home of Mr. Mark and Judy Goldstein and utilized nearby ball fields for outdoor recreation.

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Rapid Growth

The camp grew rapidly. By 2001, Achdus’ success had increased its camper enrollment to thirty-five. In the winter of 2002, following Achdus’ third year of operation, the Goldstein brothers were approached by Mr. Jeff Fuchs who proposed that a partnership between Achdus and the JCC’s Klein Branch be formed. This merger would enable Achdus to collect much needed scholarship funding for those families who were unable to shoulder the expense of the camp’s modest tuition fees.

Rabbi Tuvia Goldstein with campers in 2008

Camp Achdus operated under the auspices of the JCC’s Klein Branch for six successful summers at the off-site locations of Adath Zion Congregation in Northeast Philadelphia and Young Israel of Elkins Park as its camper enrollment grew to sixty-five.

In 2008, Camp Achdus was incorporated as an organization with its own bylaws and board of directors. Its mission, however, remained the same: to make sure every child in the Philadelphia region could utilize the summer to be productive, learn Torah values, be exposed to great role models, and build magical memories.

In 2018 Rabbi Moshe Segelman took over as camp director. Each summer he outdoes himself and each year boys from around the area look forward to spending their summer at Camp Achdus. Campers range from four to fourteen and hail from Philadelphia, Lower Merion, Elkins Park, Bucks County, and Cherry Hill.

Camp Achdus boys division in 2016 with over 100 campers and staff