URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute is part of the Union for Reform Judaism family of camps and youth programs. OSRUI is located in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin and sits on over 200 acres of land adjacent to Lac La Belle — a clear inland lake over seven miles around. Over the summer, more than 1,000 campers from North America and beyond attend OSRUI. Programs are available to youngsters entering second grade through high school. Campers choose from six different program units and an off-camp trip, according to their main area of interest and grade level. Camp sessions range from five days to seven weeks depending on the particular session. Our oldest campers have the opportunity to bike around Lake Michigan on the Tour La’Agam program or travel to Israel with the NFTY in Israel program.
What if I am not a member of a URJ congregation?
URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute is operated under the auspices of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Campers who are not members of congregations affiliated with the URJ pay a surcharge, which will not exceed $75 per week per camper, with a maximum of $500 per family per season.
What is a typical day like at Camp?
While all units do their own programming and have their own schedule, campers participate in the following activities regularly: swimming, sports and physical fitness (including but not limited to basketball, tennis, archery, volleyball, softball) a Judaic activity with rabbis and/or educators, Hebrew, evening recreational programs, song sessions and electives (such as horseback riding, waterskiing, drama, dance, media, photography, etc.) and worship services. Campers also have the opportunity during their stay to climb the Alpine Tower Challenge Course, go boating, play games, participate in the creative arts, build campfires, relax, celebrate Shabbat, and make lifelong friendships. For a typical Camp schedule, click here.
How Jewish is OSRUI?
OSRUI’s mission is Jewish learning through Jewish living. While campers do not sit in classrooms and study, Judaica and Hebrew are incorporated into all of their activities. All campers do participate in daily services, Hebrew and an activity based on the “Jewish” theme of their particular session. Campers come home from OSRUI with a renewed energy towards their Judaism.
What is the main difference between Kallah and Kibbutz HaTzofim?
Kallah is what you think of when you think of camp. Kallah campers live in cabins (with a wash house attached) and eat in the dining hall. The focus is on a more general camping experience. Kibbutz HaTzofim campers live in large tents (with a cement floor and bunk beds), use port-o-potties and sinks (with a stop at a wash house each day for showers), and eat their meals outside on picnic tables. Tzofim campers also tend a garden, take care of farm animals and help prepare their group’s meals. Tzofim’s focus is more on the outdoors. Both programs offer the same activities including waterfront, sports, Hebrew, etc. As a general rule, youngsters who do better with more structure tend to do better in Kallah; children who are more independent prefer Tzofim.
Is the Camp Kosher?
URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, as a camp and meeting center of the Union for Reform Judaism, uses only certified Kosher meat and does not mix milk with meat. You can expect that no milk or milk derivatives will be used at a meat meal. We do not use separate dishes, cutlery, or serving pieces. A vegetarian option is available at no extra charge.
How does OSRUI address food allergies?
OSRUI has welcomed many campers with food allergies. We are not peanut free, but we only serve peanuts in peanut butter, which is served in individual containers. Nuts or nut oil are never used in cooking or baking. When required, campers eating peanut butter may sit at opposite ends of the table from those with a severe peanut allergy. For campers with celiac disease or who are sensitive to gluten products, we provide a range of gluten free food (including bread, pasta, cereal and desserts) and parents are welcome to send other foods as necessary to be stored in the kitchen. We can accommodate other food allergies as well. When registering for camp, please indicate that your child has a severe food allergy and a member of our Special Needs Committee will contact you.
Who are the counselors/staff at Camp? What is the staff/camper ratio?
More than two-thirds of our counselors have grown up at OSRUI as campers and staff. All counselors are college age or older and are required to submit recommendations and have a personal interview before they are hired. Specialists and unit heads are highly skilled professionals who in most cases have already graduated college. Our overall camper/staff ratio is one to three, and the counselor ratio is one to seven. For information about being on our staff, click here.
Is scholarship assistance available for Camp?
URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute provides “campership” assistance through the Samuel Sherwin, Jerry & Laverne Cutler, Mimi Dunitz, Heather Kornick, and Marshall Goldman Campership Funds to any OSRUI camper. Camperships are based on financial need and are determined anonymously by a committee of the Camp Board of Governors. Families should begin by speaking with their own Rabbi regarding scholarship assistance from their congregation and then contact the Camp office. Applications are available around October 1st and are due by November 1st for campers registering in September or October. Scholarship forms for campers registering after November 1st are due within 2 weeks of your registration date. Campers must be registered for a session (with deposit) in order to apply. Please contact Susan Alexander, Associate Director, for information on OSRUI Camperships: 847-239-6980 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Many cities also have Jewish Federations which provide additional funds. And the Foundation for Jewish Camp provides scholarships to 1st-year campers spending three weeks or more at a Jewish overnight summer camp (go to www.onehappycamper.org for information). Please see our Tuition Assistance page for more information.
Does my child need to be immunized?
Yes, the Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized. For more information, read the URJ Policy Statement on Vaccine Status.