One of the things we are most proud of is our history here at Camp JORI. We were originally founded as a summer site for the Jewish Orphanage of Rhode Island. When the Orphanage had to close it’s doors, the Camp as we know it today remained open. Many of our first campers were refugees and survivors of World War II.
Today we had the pleasure of welcoming Alice and Cary Eichenbaum – the wife and son of one of those campers, Raymond Eichenbaum. Alice and Cary met this morning with our LITs and CITs to share their stories and connection to Camp JORI.
Raymond came to the United States after the War and was shuttled around the country to different foster homes. When he arrived in Rhode Island, he was able to attend Camp JORI in the summer and claimed it to be heaven. For the first time in years, he was able to play in the sunshine, eat lots of food and be proud and open about being a Jew.
After attending high school, Raymond was drafted into the US Army to serve in the Korean War. When he completed his service and was on the GI Bill, he decided to return to Europe where he could get father on his monthly $110. There he met his wife, Alice who also survived the War.
They eventually returned to the United States where they raised their family and sent their kids to JORI. Their son Cary spoke today about how much he loved JORI and how it was a big part of his upbringing. He remembered his parents encouraging him and his siblings to live life to the fullest, that it was precious and that they should be proud to be Jewish. JORI gave them all the space to do just that.
Raymond died several years ago, but we were so happy to hear his story and the story of how JORI impacted his entire family today.