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Gates of Camp Initiative

Congregation Gates of Prayer is excited to announce the Gates of Camp, or GO-Camp initiative. Beginning with the Summer of 2023, all J-FLEx students will be eligible for an award totaling 50% of the cost of their tuition to Jewish sleep away camp. 

This award is available to anyone who is a member in good standing of our congregation and J-FLEx. To determine a student’s standing in J-FLEx, we’re turning to a tried and true method of engagement: the Phil Shekel. 

Each student must earn 100 GO-Camp Phil Shekels throughout the school year. They can be earned through J-FLEx attendance, attending services and holidays, participating in the youth group, or any number of meaningful community activities. Parents can earn Phil Shekels for their kids as well by serving on committees, singing in the choir, or joining the Brotherhood or Sisterhood. A full list of opportunities to earn Phil Shekels is on our website. 

Studies have proven that children who attend Jewish summer camp are more likely to be members of a congregation, observe Jewish rituals at home, and support Israel. With the GO-Camp initiative, we hope the children of our community will have impactful summers at camp and meaningful Jewish lives with our congregation throughout the year. 

To learn more, you can reach out to Rabbi Gerber. Please click this link for more information and to sign up for J-FLEx!

F.A.Q. About Go Camp Program

How are we able to do this?
The GO-Camp initiative is possible thanks to a generous donation by an anonymous donor. 

Which camps are eligible?
All sleep away camps affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) are automatically eligible. Other Jewish sleep away camps may be considered at the discretion of the donor. 

How do I earn Phil Shekels?
Phil Shekels are earned through engagement with the congregation. There are 27 sessions of J-FLEx and each day is valued at 4 Phil Shekels, so your child can earn all 100 shekels by attending regularly. For those who cannot attend every Sunday, shekels can be earned through attending services, life cycles, volunteering…etc. Our list of engagement can be found here.

How will we be keeping track of the Phil Shekel totals?
In addition to taking attendance at J-FLEx events, we will be using a loyalty program code that can be scanned when you attend various events. Please click HERE or scan QR code below to sign up for the Go Camp loyalty scan code. Make sure to add your child's scan code to your Apple Wallet or Google Pay App. Find Rabbi Gerber or Phil Gaethe to scan your code while attending worship/programs at CGoP.

Apple IOS instructions:      

Use same link/QR Code above if using Google platform. 

Are Go Camp Phil Shekels the same as the printed Phil Shekels previously given out on Sunday mornings?
No, the printed Phil Shekels given to J-FLExers for acts of loving kindness and strong participation during J-FLEx are not the same as the Go Camp Phil Shekels. Go Camp Phil Shekels will be given out digitally through the Go Camp Loyalty App.
J-FLExers will continue to receive printed Phil Shekels on Sundays which can be used at the J-FLEx Shuk (store). 

Does the child have to be enrolled in J-FLEx
Yes. 50% of Phil Shekels must be earned through J-FLEx either on Sundays, or J-FLEx Shabbats/Retreats.

Is this needs based?
No. Think of this as a birthright for children of Congregation Gates of Prayer

What if I don’t need the award?
If you decline the award, you may choose to donate the amount you would have received. You can donate it back to the GO-Camp fund, or another fund at Gates of Prayer that you value. We hope that through this you can learn the value of tzedakah. 

Can I still apply for other scholarships?
Yes…in fact you must apply for any scholarship that is available. This includes the Brotherhood and Sisterhood Campership awards. You can apply by clicking here. 

What about Olim?
The New Orleans Jewish Community offers a scholarship for those attending Olim at Jacobs Camp that already covers half of the tuition. If your child is eligible for Olim, they must apply for this scholarship. GO-Camp will cover 50% of what the camper owes after the Goldring Scholarship is awarded. 

When can we begin earning Go Camp Phil Shekels? 
J-FLExers and parents may begin earning "Go Camp Phil Shekels" beginning July 1, 2022 with worship and study opportunities at Gates of Prayer. 


Wed, May 31 2023 11 Sivan 5783