The Kamp Kewanee Knocker
lately? He lived in Potomac, MD, and was in my tent back in 1949. He still has a voice mail, but he never replies.
(a) the names of those other camps?
(b) what body of water the swimming events were held at when such competitions occurred on their turf ('away games', NOT competitions at KK & Manataka Lake)? i.e., Bullhead Bay, Susquehanna River, Lake Carey, etc.,
__/__/1969 vs Camp ___________ at Lake/River ___________
__/__/1970 vs Camp ___________ at Lake/River ___________
OBITUARY FOR CANTOR DONN R. ROSENSWEIG
On December 9, 2020, Cantor Donn Roger Rosensweig passed away in his sleep at the age of 74 from lung cancer. Born into a close family in Kingston, PA, the son of Dr. William and Lois Levy Rosensweig, he grew up singing – around the piano at family gatherings, in synagogue, eventually forming a folk music trio in high school and going on to perform in many musicals throughout college and his later life. After graduating from Hobart College in 1968, Donn earned his Master of Arts in Teaching from Oberlin College, where he met Ruth Adler, whom he later married and with whom he had his beloved sons Matthew and Daniel. After stints as a teacher, chef and actor, Donn completed his cantorial education at Hebrew Union College in Manhattan. He worked as a cantor in New Jersey, then moved to Andover, MA, where he was Cantor for Temple Emanuel for almost twenty-five years. In 2010, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music from Hebrew Union College to commemorate his service. Donn was also extremely committed to supporting the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation and received a special tribute from them in 2005. He touched so many lives as an educator at the synagogue, developing close relationships with his students of all ages while preparing them for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, in addition to leading the choir and performing rites.
Following his retirement, Donn turned his attention back to secular singing and acting, performing with Acting Out Theatre Company, Spotlight Playhouse and the Andover Choral Society. Roles with special meaning for Donn include playing “Morrie” in “Tuesdays with Morrie,” and Littlechap in “Stop the World I Want to Get Off.” He was especially moved when he sang the Verdi Requiem with the Berkshire Choral Festival in Prague at the site of the Terezin concentration camp. He also volunteered to lead services regularly at Atria Marland Place in Andover.
Besides his passion for music, Donn loved baseball. He was a diehard Brooklyn Dodgers fan who eventually transferred his support to the Boston Red Sox. He also had wonderful memories of summers as a child at Kamp Kewanee in Pennsylvania, and kept up those early friendships by continuing to go to reunions as late as 2019. He loved hiking with friends and family, particularly favoring a loop trail on Mounts Welch and Dickey in New Hampshire. Above all, Donn loved his family, both immediate and extended. He tried to attend as many of the celebrations and holiday gatherings as he could.
Donn is loved and will be sorely missed by his sons Matthew and his wife Melissa Dallon, and Daniel and his fiancée Janine Gilkes, siblings Nancey, Larry and Rick Rosensweig, sisters-in-law Nora and Diane, brother-in-law Dan Arshack, numerous Levy and Rosensweig cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as the Adler family.
Donations in Donn’s memory can be made to the Sig Adler Lung Cancer Research Fund at Mass General Hospital or the charity of your choice.
Serving as captain of the 1954 Red Team at Kamp Kewanee was one of his proudest memories.
Right now my High school class of 1962 is putting a ZOOM meeting together. We started collecting names 24 hours ago and right now we are up to 37. This includes people from the United States, and the Pacific Rim. With everyone having not much to do but sit around, this could work for us. Anyone interested?
Kamp Kewanee 2019
It is hard to imagine for me that in 2020 it will have been 50 years since my final summer at Kamp Kewanee. The images are still so real in my mind: the tents, the mess hall, the flag raising, inspection, all of the ball games, color war, the lake, and the friendships. It was a long time ago, but I think most of us feel it was just yesterday. I retired from my last congregation in Canton, OH on June 30 and over the last few months packed up my office. I gave away a lot of books, wrapped up mementos, but there was one unique box that I packed. It was filled with moose—stuffed moose, canned moose, wooden moose, other moose—of various sizes and looks. Most of these had been given to me as gifts by congregants as they heard about my nickname. Except for the dozen or two that sit in various places around my home from a moose menorah to a fishing moose to a beautiful photograph of a moose, most will be in a box that I hope to give to grandchildren or some day maybe just give away.
At the final light-hearted bbq that the congregation gave for me, I told them about how I got the name from Harry Zavacky and how some younger kampers never knew my name was Jon. In July, I went on a retirement trip to Canada and glimpsed a moose and this always brings me back to Kamp. I know the property has gone to seed from what I understand, and the buildings have crumbled. It is sad because that place held such a force in us, but we all know that Kamp Kewanee is more than just the place. Like many kamps across the country, those summer days of youth place a vital role in developing our skills, our ability to live and work with others, and for me how to win and lose with grace and kindness. Kamp Kewanee helped build our characters. The camps my children went to continue to play a vital role in their lives and shaped who they are today. Kamp Kewanne is unique to us, but camp and its impact is awesome to so many.
I don’t know how many more times we will get to gather and celebrate this incredible place of our youth. These reunions have been important and worthwhile for me who came in on the last years of the kamp to meet the people and hear from the people on whose shoulders my experiences stood. None of us walked away from LaPlume unchanged. I know that my years as a rabbi, the leadership and the ability to work with others was largely formed in LaPlume, PA. I don’t mean to be somber and I could certainly tell funny stories, but at this point Kamp Kewanee is deep in my soul and that is where these thoughts come from today.
So how do you explain to the uninitiated this Kamp? Today camps try to be electronic free telling parents to keep their kids cell phones at home. Some parents don’t send their kids to camp if it doesn’t have air conditioning. Parents fret over their kids being gone for two weeks or just under four. Their kids will undergo dramatic changes and they won’t be present for those moments. We went to camp for 8 weeks. Saw our parents for one day (and many of us couldn’t wait for them to leave) and didn’t speak to them any other time. And YES! we changed—wasn’t that the point. We grew up a little and maybe became a better ballplayer or woodworker or butterfly catcher and before my time a marionette person. We may have acted in a play or spoken before a group that we just wouldn’t do at home. We canoed and sometimes got naked. We made fun of each and loved each other and cried when it was time to go home. We ate food that was at times unrecognizable, but we didn’t totally complain, but boy did we enjoy our night at shadowbrooke or at the Fleetville Fair. Does that fair still exist? (The answer is yes, but it now happens in September). We cheered each other on and got over our losses because there was another game the next day. Yes mom and dad we grew up and kamp and that is the point. We lived away from you for two months and lived with you for 10 just waiting for the next 2 again.
So let me say this—none of us knows if we will gather again, but if we do I will be here, but if this is the last one then I say thank you to those whose stories have enriched my time at Kamp Kewanee and I say thank you to those who were there with me.
With my rabbi hat on, blessings to all of you for having made my life better.
Stay safe everyone.
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