The ruling has just been handed down by the judge: There will be no overnight summer camps in NY this summer.

The attorney representing the camps, Mr Avi Schick gave the following statement to YWN:

“We are all incredibly disappointed that the District Court declined to enjoin Governor Cuomo’s prohibition of sleepaway camp.  We continue to believe that the overnight camp environment is better for our children both physically and spiritually. The camp directors worked hard to create plans that would ensure the safety of all campers.

The Court itself acknowledged “after carefully considering the matter, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have sufficiently demonstrated irreparable harm . . . Contrary to Defendant’s argument, Defendant’s executive orders have directly limited Plaintiffs Free Exercise rights under the First Amendment by barring overnight camps for the summer of 2020.” The Court also recognized that “Jewish overnight camps would have rigorous training on health and safety protocols developed from physicians and health policy professionals.”

That should have been more than enough to prevail.  And in normal times it would have been enough.  These are not normal times.  The Court expressed a concern that if it ruled in our favor that ruling would “apply to all overnight camps throughout the state, which may not have the appropriate resources. Overnight camps are also generally a significant distance away from hospitals and located in remote areas with limited healthcare access . . . In total, Sullivan County has approximately 169 licensed [hospital] bed and thirteen intensive-care-unit beds.”

To the thousands of parents and tens of thousands of children who are impacted by today’s decision, we can only say that we will continue to do what we can to advocate for your rights.”



Although Plaintiffs argue that Jewish overnight camps would have rigorous training on health and safety protocols developed from physicians and health policy professionals (Dkt. No. 7, Attach 2, at 15-16), Defendant’s executive orders apply to all overnight camps throughout the state, which may not have the appropriate resources. Overnight camps are also generally a significant distance away from hospitals and located in remote areas with limited healthcare access. (Dkt. No. 25, Attach. 1 at ⁋⁋ 15, 22.) Due to the general remoteness of overnight camps, a sudden outbreak would put great strain on healthcare infrastructure and resources of smaller rural hospitals, which have significantly fewer ICU beds as compared to more urban areas. (Id, at ⁋ 15.)

For example, Defendant cites to the circumstances in Sullivan County, located in the Catskills region of New York State, where Defendant estimates that approximately sixty-two percent of the Jewish overnight camps are located. (Dkt. No. 25, Attach. 1, at ⁋⁋ 9- 14.) According to Defendant, Sullivan County has only one hospital, with two locations throughout the entire county, in addition to ten Article 28 diagnostic treatment centers and hospital extension clinic sites. (Id. at 10, 13.) In total, Sullivan County has approximately 169 Case 1:20-cv-00687-GTS-DJS Document 28 Filed 07/06/20 Page 28 of 43 29 licensed beds, thirteen intensive-care-unit beds, and fifteen certified beds that can provide both acute and subacute rehabilitation services. (Id. at 11-12.) At oral argument, Plaintiffs explained that in a usual summer, approximately forty-two thousand campers attended approximately fifty to sixty Jewish overnight camps located in New York State. (Hearing Transcript.) Although a significant drop off in these numbers is expected due to a truncated summer and concerns over the COVID-19 virus (Hearing Transcript), should an outbreak occur at the camps, the situation could overrun the hospitals within Sullivan County and require hundreds of individual children to be quarantined at the individual camps, potentially hundreds of miles away from their families.

Agudath Israel of America expressed its deep disappointment with Chief U.S. District Judge, Glenn Suddaby’s ruling to keep New York State overnight camps closed this summer.

Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, Agudah’s New York Government Relations Director, said, “The impact on children is devastating. Instead of looking forward to a summer of growth, filled with learning experiences and preparation for an upcoming school year, many children of our community will now be forced to endure a continuation of the long-lasting lockdowns imposed by the State Government.”

Developing story – refresh for updates.


  1. Given the massive spike in new CV19 cases and hospitalizations in a number of states and the unexpected spike in the nearby Boston area over the past week, this was the only decision the judge could make in relation to NYS sleep-away camps. His decision is well reasoned and takes into account the camps’ arguments. Hopefully, this won’t be an issue next summer if we have a vaccine and the camps and local (Sullivan County) health facilities will have sufficient time to plan how to deal with any outbreaks.

  2. Devastating effect on the children?? How devastating was the effect of the closed yeshivos and shuls on the children?? But we didn’t hear a word from agudah. So transparently disingenuous it’s nauseating

  3. @Gadolhadorah Fact: There was no COVID spike in NYC what-so-ever even though there was protests/riots with tens of thousands of people and life is going on as usual in most of the city because most New Yorkers – especially children – already had the virus and are immuned. Opening camps will NOT create a spike.


  4. Gadolhadorah, your civil & religious rights were just flushed down the – you know what in the name of “public interest”.
    What if some “liberal” governor or legislature decides that it’s in public interest to have no more than one kid per family? “Liberals” in China did just that decades ago and our “liberals” are bought and paid for by China!

  5. Not-so Gadol HaTorah:
    Please go over the reliable “meforshim” before you “Paskey.
    No vaccine is necessary.
    Children under 10 have ZERO chance of Chas v’shalom dying. From 10 to 20, almost zero. From 20-45 limited impact.
    And there have finally been several studies that were made properly, testing the Zelenko protocol, with hydroxychloroquine, zinc and zpac, at the first notice of any symptoms, within the first five days and there is NO problem. 99.7% rate of success. 84% do not need to go to hospitals.
    The media is morally culpable for almost no reportage (CNN made a tweet about it. It should be SCREAMED FROM THE ROOFTOPS.)
    But because Cuomo refuses to allow it, refuses to promote a successful protocol for selfish monetary and political reasons, many thousands died rather than give a nod to a French study (albeit a small one) that was correct, for political reasons, not to Chas v’shalom give credit to The POTUS for mentioning it as a possibility.
    I lost a dear friend because Cuomo forbade use of the protocol outside the hospital. He suffered for 3 weeks waiting for a fever, without which they would not let him go to the hospital, without entering which they would not give him the prescription.
    He finally got a fever a week before Pesach. Called Hatzalah. On the way to the hospital he passed away.
    I then heard Dr. Zelenko on a video. Shortly after that, my brother called from Monsey. I couldn’t understand him, he was so hoarse. I asked if he had the virus. “Yes…” I asked him, pleaded with him to get the protocol prescription. He finally did. FIVE pharmacies refused to fill it!
    He finally asked his wife to drive to NJ and get it from there. He was to weak. She had to approach four pharmacies until she got it. After over a week of suffering, Baruch HaShem, and hakaras hatov to Dr. Zelenko, with the protocol wothin a week he was better and by the end of three more days he had ZERO negative issues.

  6. Given that overnight camps in Missouri and North Carolina have already closed due to Covid outbreaks, I think the ruling was expected.
    The fact that the communities that are crossing their hearts and promising all sorts of precautions are in the news cutting the locks while refusing to wear masks or social distance couldn’t have been helpful.
    Why not have the courage of your convictions and argue before the judge and Gd that Covid was a Left wing hoax aimed at disrupting our limud hatorah, and if you dont allow us to open legally well open anyway?

  7. A single unelected judge is able to make a sweeping decision that affects tens of thousands of people? Can someone please remind me what country this is, and how a constitutional republic works?

  8. everybody please read the ruling. as usual fake news YWN posted one paragraph on page 28 of the ruling (out of 43 pages) to make the judge sound like an idiot who gave an uninformed ruling. the judge actually went into great detail explaining every part of the lawsuit. covering discrimination, first and fourteenth amendment. and cited many other previous cases. after you read it you can make critique the judge. but don’t do it off YWN’s assessment of the case

  9. The decision completely ignores the fact that children do not get sick from the Wuhan disease, and having them all quarantined together for the whole summer is the best way for them all to give it to each other and develop resistance, so that they won’t give it to their grandparents when they come home. Not only should camps be allowed, I would almost suggest they should be compulsory(!) if it were not for the obvious civil liberties problem with that. Still, if we’re already violating civil liberties, how much worse would it be?

  10. No offence meant to anyone, and please excuse my ignorance…
    But what exactly is the big deal and the great need for camp?? Can’t families continue raising their children as they do the rest of the year? (If the issue is that a family is out working all day and can’t have the kids home alone, then ok I hear, but surely camp isn’t the only babysitting solution?)

  11. gadolhador, there is no spike in cases, there is only an increase of testing of people whose bodies are successfully fighting the virus by creating antibodies.

  12. > Gadolhadorah

    Seems strange to keep the children in the home – where the latest Israeli news (and likely the same is true in the US) tells us that 2/3rds of the cases are spread – instead of segregated location. away from all that

  13. If the state has determined a valid public health issue exists, why would a Federal court be involved. The only Federal issue would be if there was a discrimination issue (e.g. they allowed some overnight camps, but not Jewish ones). Since public health is a state matter, a federal court will be reluctant to get involved. Not to mention, that a state judge can be appealed twice within the state courts, and then to the Federal Supreme Court, whereas a federal judge can only be appealed once in the Federal courts, and then to the Federal Supreme Court.

    If people don’t like government policies, that are lawful but dumb, they should vote for someone else.

  14. Turning the entire case into being a “religious” issue/right was fallacious and making a total mockery of real religious issues/necessities during Corona, such as keeping Shuls & women’s Mikva’oth open.
    They were embarking up wrong path, hurting other real religious necessities.
    Anyways, between time the case was lodged and yesterday’s ruling, there has been significant rises in Corona, so yesterday is not the same landscape as was 2 weeks ago.

  15. Who says there will ever be a vaccine? Does no one here recognize this dever as being min shamayim? Even this judge’s ruling is an extension of the makah.

  16. I don’t have an opinion on the legal merits of this case, but the medical merits are clearly a win for the Jews. Some kids in sleep-away camp will get Covid that they otherwise would not get, some will get seriously ill, and some will spread it to other Jews, like grandparents, neighbors, rabbis and teachers.

  17. Besides the medical issue, what is so terrible if the kids go to day camp this one year? The askanim talk about the wonderful growth experience they will miss without sleepaway camp. But if that is so, why are we not worred about the thosands of our kids who cannot afford sleepaway and go to day camp? Is there a scholarship campaign so our yeshivah kids

    I also question the wisdom of suing and antagonizing the governor over something that is a matter of 2 months and then is history. Our community needs the governor’s good will throughout the year for more long-term issues. We need to remember we are in golus.

  18. What is wrong with people? Some of the comments are just appalling. What do blacks have anything to do with it?
    Who appointed the judge? What if C”V your child became ill in camp? What if your child brought it back home so others will be infected? 2020 has been a very tough year. B”H Rosh HaShana is just around the corner and the new year will only bring Yeshuos and Refuos, Brachos and good things to everyone. Stop complaining.

  19. Am i reading the decision incorrectly? wasnt this a ruling for a temporary injunction until the full case is heard. Bottom line it says “ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction (Dkt. No. 7) is DENIED.”

  20. Doodle jump and to all others who wonder what will happen if their child gets sick (from corona) in camp:

    1 – The same thing if their child got sick in their own home. Teenagers symptoms were very mild so there is no worry there.
    2 – Bring it back home after two months in camp? I highly doubt it.
    3 – There is no greater chance bringing it home from camp than from staying in the city. In fact there is more chance bringing it home if they don’t go to camp.
    4 – Almost all teenagers (aside from the ones that needed to be quarantined because of preexisting conditions – and they will NOT be going to camp) in New York State already got the virus and are IMMUNE.

  21. Absolutely right, we need the governor’s good will. In fact, we should keep all Yeshivas and Shuls closed permanently and forever. And also close all Frum stores and businesses. And also riot for BLM. And also demand to defend the police. How right you all are!!!

  22. Yisroel: A vaccine IS necessary before are lives and activities get back to “normal”. First, the most recent round of virus spikes in Texas, Arizona etc. is affecting younger demographics than those in the Northeast, although the youngest have the lowest risk. However, either you are totally misinformed or simply don’t care but in every summer camp there are OLDER individuals (counselors, rabbonim, nurses, kitchen help, etc) who ARE at risk from the virus. Also, these kids go home to families with older and vulnerable members. Read the Judge’s decision. He addresses each of your points and fully dismisses them.
    For those of you who want to spend the summer crying gevalt about no summer camp, have fun. Most responsible parents are making the best of it and focusing on how to protect their kids and families this fall when school starts.

  23. Isn’t funny that all the people asking “What if your child got sick?” are all old and no longer have school-age children while all the people advocating to open the camps are actually parents of such children? There is literally zero proof that children or young people are seriously threatened by this disease.

    Making matters worse, most young people I know have no issues wearing masks so that everything can remain open, its only the older people, for whose sole benefit young people have ruined their lives over the past four months, who refuse to wear a mask and instead demand we all hibernate for months at a time – which, by coincidence, is what old people were planning on doing anyway because they have nothing to do and nowhere to go.

    Et Chatai Ani Mazkir Hayom: I am slowly becoming an ageist.

  24. “Making matters worse, most young people I know have no issues wearing masks so that everything can remain open, its only the older people, for whose sole benefit young people have ruined their lives over the past four months, who refuse to wear a mask and instead demand we all hibernate for months at a time – which, by coincidence, is what old people were planning on doing anyway because they have nothing to do and nowhere to go.”
    Besalel: Yasher koach.!! Funniest post in a long time. All the “older” CR participants sitting in the basements waiting for the chevrah kadishah to arrive are thrilled to hear that the younger generation has been engaging in such mesiras nefesh on their behalf. Having to forego Thursday night chulent for over 3 months is beyond the suffering any of us could have imagined. As the Lt. Governor of Texas noted last month, older people like us should be prepared to martyr themselves and sacrifice their lives to facilitate reopening the economy. I’m sure you viewed each of the rabbonim whose hesped was published here in YWN almost every night in April and May as korbonos for the sake of reversing your “ruined lives” under public health restrictions.

  25. For some kids sleepaway camp gives them life.
    I know someone who came from an abusive home, had learning disabilities, and very few friends.
    She went to camp the first time and blossomed! She became herself, the self she never met before. Lively, talented, and loads of new friends.
    She’s married now and looks back on that first summer camp experience with the fondest memories.
    And I know her very well- she’s ME!