CGI Florida announced the purchase of a new 100-acre, 600 bed campsite in Central Florida, dedicated in memory of 17-year-old Dovi Fellig.
Dovid Levi – dleviphoto.com
Camp Gan Israel Florida Embarks On An Exciting New Chapter With Historic Purchase of 100 Acre Expansive New Campsite.
Camp Gan Israel Florida, is pleased to announce its expansion with a new 100-acre, 600 bed campus in Central Florida. Under the visionary leadership of its founder and Executive Vice President, Rabbi Yosef Y. Biston, this significant development is a milestone in furthering the camp’s mission of giving as many children as possible a summer of inspiration and growth in a Chassidishe environment.
The new campus, located in Fruitland Park just north of Orlando, boasts 26 separate buildings and over 600 beds, offering a unique blend of modern facilities and natural beauty. Rabbi Shuey Biston, Director of Development For Chabad of North Broward & South Palm Beach, highlighted the enhanced features of the new campus, including over 200 feet of a beach and waterfront, spring-fed lake, a modern Olympic-size swimming pool, a 5,000-square-foot indoor gym fully equipped with three full-length basketball courts, and a 10,000-square-foot expansive auditorium. There is an onsite ropes course, zip-line, and three illuminated sports fields, including beach volleyball,. These are just some of the exciting array of amenities this beautiful new campsite has to offer. These facilities will certainly enrich the camp experience, blending recreational activities with spiritual growth.
Camp Gan Israel has run successfully each summer, but the costs of constantly moving equipment and renting different sites has been daunting. Rabbi Yosef Biston had received many incredible Brochos from the Rebbe and encouragement to purchase grounds, rather than rent.
R’ Zalman Fellig was impacted by Camp Gan Israel Florida, where he was a counselor in the early years. For over two decades, his family has been supporters of the camp. He has always dreamed of helping secure a suitable location, giving the camp the ability to flourish. Together with the Rabbi Biston, they searched for years for an appropriate place. Opportunities presented themselves, yet none quite matched their vision of what was needed.
A few months ago, while Rabbi Biston was at the Ohel, an opportunity presented itself that aligned precisely with the dream – a sprawling campsite equipped with every conceivable amenity. It was fully operational and ready for use. Rabbi Biston, Zalman, and his brother Shloime began to secure the down payment and negotiate the deal.
Shortly after that, tragedy struck when Zalman and Mimi’s vibrant 17-year-old son passed away. Amidst the pain of shiva, a poignant image emerged of a young man whose life was filled with joy, perpetually smiling and bringing happiness to others. In the crucible of loss, the family found a renewed purpose. The dream of Dovi’s Camp Gan Israel would not only materialize but take on a profound meaning, representing the spirit of their beloved son, with a heart of gold and loved by all.
That dream has now become a tangible reality. It stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment of Rabbi Yosef and Shuey Biston and Zalman and Shloime Fellig and families to honor the Rebbe’s legacy and an embodiment of their enduring love for their son and his spirit, and will bring happiness to every child who graces its grounds.
Camp Director, Rabbi Yossi Goldblatt, added that with the increased capacity, they are tremendously excited to launch a new bar mitzvah program specifically for 13-year-olds. They are aware of the high demand for a program that caters to this demographic and look forward to offering a camp experience that helps bar mitzvah bochurim in their learning while providing them with an excellent recreational structure.
Over the past few years, the South Florida Jewish community has experienced explosive growth. Yudi Hercenberg, who is naming the Camp Shul, expressed the importance of ensuring that our local children know they will have a space to go to camp.
This significant investment in the new campus reflects the Rebbe’s teaching that a summer, in a 24-hour immersive environment of Yiddishkeit, can have a more profound impact on a child than an entire year of formal schooling, said Tzvi Gellman, a lead donor to the new campsite.
This historic purchase was made possible by the following lead donors who have made this dream a reality: Rabbi Zalman and Mimi Fellig, Shloime and Suri Fellig, Tzvi and Simmie Gellman, Yudi and Simcha Hercenberg, Morris and Lillian Tabicinic, Rabbi Moshe and Rivka Kotlarsky, Rabbi Dovid and Gittel Fisher, Mendy and Chani Fisher, Rabbi Meir and Frumie Kessler, Yossie and Estie Duchman, Getzy and Aliza Fellig, Ben and Rachel Federman, Levi and Sarah Touger, Mordechai and Chanale Touger, Yechiel and Chanie Biston, and Mendy and Leah Fischweicher. A special thanks to the many other donors who generously contributed to the purchase.
This new chapter in Camp Gan Israel Florida’s history opens with great promise, poised to enrich the lives of Jewish children with memorable and spiritually uplifting experiences for generations to come.