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Forty Years of Summer

Yisroel Besser

Camp Agudah’s Reb Meir Frischman, who’s been at the helm of Ruach Country for the last four decades, is gearing up for his last summer in camp.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Camp in the off-season isn’t the most comfortable place for an interview. The soda machines are empty and there’s no hot water for coffee. The pool sits empty, waiting for a paint job and the flies are out in full force on this early spring day. Meir Frischman and his hand-picked successor, Shimon Newmark, are on site, but neither of them are into effusive greetings. Rather than shalom aleichem, the veteran camp director who will be retiring at the end of this summer season offers one of the best opening lines I’ve ever heard. “I do work. I don’t tell stories.” He sits down at the worn desk with an elaborate shrug, but within minutes, we’re walking again. He pulls out a measuring tape and critically examines a stretch of wall in the dining room as he talks, tossing insights and memories over his shoulder as we walk, walk, walk the grounds of Camp Agudah. His air is proprietary, part tour guide, part proud uncle: Other than the stones strewn at the side of the path, there are few landmarks on our route that weren’t first conceived, then built, by Meir Frischman. Not bad for a kid who never went to camp.

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