Our history - Camp Zeke - Sleepaway Summer Camp

As told by Lisa and Isaac, founders and directors

Lisa and Isaac live in Westchester, NY with their daughters, son, and dog. You can reach them by emailing lisa.and.isaac@campzeke.org or calling 212-913-9783. Read on for the story of Camp Zeke’s founding, in their words.

Lisa and Isaac outside at camp with arms around each other

Back in 2010, we had the seemingly-crazy idea to start a new summer camp. And not just any summer camp! We wanted to open a camp that reflected our own values: Our family cooks healthy foods together (we love farmers markets and the Whole Foods produce aisle!), we enjoy being active and staying fit in countless ways, and we love the Jewish community. We knew so many other families that shared these values, and we wanted to create a camp for all of us.

Isaac celebrating a camper's Birthday and presenting him with a cake
Lisa and the Camp Zeke dog, Shadow

Just think of the possibilities! Instead of a canteen with processed foods and preservative-filled candy bars, we’d have a smoothie bar and granola station. Local farmers would bring their produce straight into our kitchen! We’d offer activities like culinary arts, strength training, Krav Maga (Israeli martial arts), yoga, and sports. Our campers would go home with cooking, fitness, and athletic skills for life. And we’d do this all in a joyful Jewish community in a breathtaking mountain setting!

Isaac Mamaysky

I grew up attending a long-established traditional camp, while Lisa went to a number of specialty camps. When it came time to graduate from college, I told everyone that I wanted to make camp my career. That was usually met with the same response: “It’s time to grow up and get a real job!” So I did that and became a securities litigator, but somehow my mind always came back to camp. Lisa, whose background lies in finance, was one of the first people who actually thought it was a great idea!

Lisa Mamaysky

After doing a bit of research, we brought our idea for a new camp that celebrates healthy, active living to the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Agreeing that nothing like it existed, the foundation accepted us into their Specialty Camps Incubator Program, an immersive startup developer that provided seed funding, ongoing training, and a team of top-notch mentors. Shortly afterwards, the UJA-Federation of New York became involved, and the rest is history!

Lisa and Isaac in the foreground with a busy camp canteen behind them

We opened the doors to Camp Zeke in 2014 and look forward to welcoming over 400 kids and 130 staff this coming summer. As our community has grown, so too has the initial vision for the camp. Our staff, campers, and families have made the camp their own, and together, we are writing the next chapter of Camp Zeke’s history. We would love for your family to join us!

During the summer and all year round, we’re always available to our families and would be glad to connect anytime! You can email us at lisa.and.isaac@campzeke.org or just call 212-913-9783. 🦅

Our campers have made thousands of friendships, millions of memories, and lifelong skills in athletics, cooking, and joyful Judaism. We are proudly supported by:

  • Jewish Camp
  • Jim Joseph Foundation
  • Avi Chai
  • UJA Federation
  • The Jewish Education Project
  • JCamp logo

We are fully accredited by the American Camp Association