Meet Our Hiker, Rabbi Bill Kaplan: Tour de Summer Camps 2017

On Sunday, October 29th, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles will proudly hold our 5th annual Tour de Summer Camps, the community-wide cycling and hiking fundraiser that helps provide scholarships to send more of our kids to Jewish summer camp and help them build a lifelong connection to Jewish identity and values. This is the first year a hike has been added, bringing even more fun to this family and community-filled day!

This year, we are profiling a few of our riders and hikers to find out why they participate in Tour de Summer Camps and what Jewish summer camp means to them.

Meet Rabbi Bill Kaplan

Why did you decide to participate in Tour de Summer Camps this year?
I have participated every year in Tour de Summer Camps since it started. I love the event because of the impact it has on so many children who are able to experience the magic of Jewish camp as a result of the money it raises for scholarships. I also love the event for the community aspect, as it is fun to share a fall Sunday morning with so many wonderful people from all over Los Angeles.

How many miles will you be riding/hiking?
This year, I will be hiking 6 miles — I am excited, since I am a hiker and not so much of a biker.

Are you on a team?
Yes, I’m on the Camp JCA Shalom team.

What are you most excited about for Tour de Summer Camps?
I am excited to spend time with many people I know and look forward to meeting new people, which is something I have done every year.

How are you preparing/training?
I walk almost every day and/or do the treadmill at the gym. On the weekends, I go on longer hikes.

Did you attend Jewish summer camp?
Yes, I attended Camp JCA Shalom as a child and now have worked year-round at Shalom Institute, home of Camp JCA Shalom, for 27 years.

What impact has Jewish summer camp had on your life?
It had a tremendous impact on me during my formative years and it continues to impact my life every day, as I live it 24/7. Why? Because it is life-changing for so many and I am witness to it. There is nothing like the magic of Jewish camp: the friendships made, the personal and social growth, the Jewish experience, the connection to nature, and so much more. All of it has such a huge impact on so many lives. We live in a challenging world, and camp truly helps make the world a better place.

Why is it important for you to support Tour de Summer Camps?
At Camp JCA Shalom, over 300 children would not be able to attend camp each summer without the funds raised from Tour de Summer Camps. When you add in the other camps, that means that hundreds more are only able to have this incredible life-changing experience as result of this annual event.

What would you say to people who are nervous about the distance of the ride/hike?
It is not a race, so go at your own pace and have fun. Most of the time, it is the biggest schmooze ever — arrival and registration, waiting in the line at the starting gate, and especially while you are out on the route. There are also plenty of rest stops (another schmooze fest) and no rush to finish first — and lots of friends along the way to support your efforts. Come join the fun for a really great cause!

Each year, hundreds of community members fundraise for months, do training rides and hikes, and join us to bike 18, 36, 62, or 100 miles, and new this year hike 1, 3, or 6 miles, on a day filled with activity, community, and fun.

To sign up for Tour de Summer Camps, please visit Looking forward to October 29th and sending more kids to Jewish summer camp!

Questions? Please email