Shoresh was founded in 1979 as a small summer camp in Frederick, MD by Rabbi Morris Kosman, the Rabbi of Congregation Beth Sholom. Rabbi Kosman founded Shoresh with the single goal of bringing Jewish children closer to their roots through a rich Jewish studies program with an extensive range of physical activities – designed to create a total Jewish experience for body, mind, and soul. Shoresh was a small operation, with 19 campers, all from Frederick. In 1981, Rabbi David Finkelstein assumed responsibility for Shoresh’s daily operations, and by 1984 he was running all of its programs as well as brainstorming about how to increase the number of children and families who participated. Rabbi Finkelstein is a professional Jewish educator who understood how to relate to children, and camp enrollment grew exponentially. The 2014 camp season that just concluded had 417 campers from five states. Over the years, additional programming was added, often in direct response to overwhelming demand from Camp Shoresh families. Since the camp began, it hosted informal monthly social and educational events for campers and their families. More formal programming was added gradually, with a Teen Torah Center introduced in 1986. An Adult Education component, with courses ranging from Hebrew reading to classes in Kabbalah and how to raise Jewish families was added in 1990. Currently, Shoresh serves more than 1,000 people a year through the various programs and events that take place on the Shoresh campus and in cities around the MD/DC/VA area.
For years, Shoresh rented space from public schools, Congregation Beth Sholom and other facilities to house its programs. In 1999, we realized a decades-long dream of building a campus. This houses our summer camp and year-round programs and includes facilities such as a 17,000 square-foot Community Center, Bunk Houses for daily study and overnights, a pool and a pool house, many sports fields, an Arts & Crafts Center, game room, ‘50’s Diner, dance studio, Challenge Course with 2 zip lines, and a new Family Cabin.