New Farash Institute kicks off with two programs: “One Happy Camper” and “The Freddy Fund”

Rochester, NY – How do you promote life-long Jewish learning, engagement and identity? By making it fun! Studies show that teens who attend Jewish summer camp and/or participate in immersive travel programs to Israel are more likely to value their heritage. The new Farash Institute for Jewish Education wants to make both of these rewarding experiences more accessible through its first two programs: One Happy Camper and The Freddy Fund.

“Summers spent in either of these ways turn Jewish youth into spirited and engaged Jewish adults, laying the groundwork for strong Jewish communities,” says Farash Institute Board Chair Beth Bruner, adding that participation can be life-changing. “We’re so excited to announce that applications for both programs will open via our website in the fall of 2015 for their 2016 summer debuts.”

One Happy Camper is a North American program of the Foundation for Jewish Camp (, with whom the Farash Institute is partnering to offer a Jewish summer camp experience to children throughout nine counties of the Greater Rochester area. Currently in more than 40 U.S. communities, One Happy Camper provides an incentive grant to every first-time camper attending a Jewish not-for-profit overnight camp. The program requires the participation of a community funder to underwrite the costs of administering the program and to provide a portion of the incentive grants – enter the Farash Institute.

“The kids go for the fun, but they get so much more out of it. Besides connecting with their Jewish heritage, they acquire life skills like independence, confidence and cultural values,” explains Executive Director Judith S. Azoff, formerly Assistant Executive Director of the Jewish Community Federation of Greater Rochester. “We know that the other important tool in building life-long Jewish identity is travelling to Israel.”

The Freddy Fund, established by the Farash Foundation in honor of the late Fred Silverstein, will work to increase the number of Greater Rochester area teens who participate in immersive travel/study programs in Israel. Teen travel to Israel was a passion of Silverstein’s, who was an original Farash Foundation Trustee and a close friend of Max Farash. The Fund will provide financial assistance to teens who could not otherwise afford the experience. It will also give a monetary gift to every teen who chooses – over countless options open to them – to participate in an organized travel program to Israel lasting a minimum of three weeks.

The Farash Institute for Jewish Education was established by the Max and MarianFarash Charitable Foundation in the summer of 2014 to develop and implement programs that reflect the Foundation’s strong commitment to Jewish education and engagement.The mission of the Farash Institute – a separate, not-for-profit entity that is funded by the Farash Foundation – is to support and promote all types of life-long Jewish learning and engagement opportunities – formal, informal, cultural and religious – through local, national and global programming. As an implementing organization rather than a granting one, the Farash Institute is already working on ideas for other impactful projects in the areas of Jewish education and engagement to undertake in the future. It hired Program Coordinator Sharon Gray in March of 2015.

The Institute’s Board of Directors also includes Vice Chair Richard Goldstein (President/CEO Mapco Auto Parks), Treasurer Kenneth Bell (Farash Foundation Trustee), Secretary Isobel Goldman (Farash Foundation Director of Grants and Special Projects), Rina Chessin (community volunteer), Michael Dobkowski (Hobart and William Smith Colleges Professor of Jewish Studies), Kevin McGowan (Brighton Central School District Superintendent), Matthew Ryen (Jewish Community Center President, Attorney), and Louis Spiro (Temple B’rith Kodesh President).

“We are delighted that the Farash Institute is off and running,” adds Farash Foundation Board of Trustees Chair Nathan J. Robfogel. “It will become a focal point of life-long Jewish learning for our entire community.”

Media please note: High-resolution photos are available, and interviews as well as photo/footage opportunities can be arranged. More organization and program information is available at