The URJ Kutz Camp is the place where I was convinced one summer that I will one day be a rabbi, learned the summer after to love liturgy, and this past summer worked as camp librarian and composed my first complete sidur. Kutz has never been the most financially secure of places. As NFTY’s population has declined in recent years, it has become increasingly hard to fill beds. Gas prices have also risen so sharply in recent years that Kutz’s bottom line has been seriously hurt by that as well. In the past, Kutz was open year-round as a retreat center, playing host to retreats and meetings held by area congregations, NFTY regions, other URJ departments, in addition to other renters. All of this weekend year-round renting helped Kutz to stay financially afloat. As gas prices have risen, the cost of heating has gone up dramatically and heating Kutz’s facilities year-round to accommodate rental groups has become a huge financial burden. The thing that once kept Kutz financially viable, no longer does.
In response to this, some have begun to spread rumors, to which I briefly fell victim, to the effect that Kutz would close after the summer of 2008. After speaking on the phone today with someone in a much better position to actually know what the hell’s going, I am here to tell you that Kutz is not going close! Kutz will cease to function during the winter for at least one year (2008-2009) as a life-saving measure. There is no word on how long that measure will last, but there it is. The lay-offs that I wrote about here were done for the same reason.
In the words of the person I spoke to today, “Everyone believes in Kutz’s program and mission. No one is debating that. The problem now is how that works out in terms of money.” In other words, folks, Kutz is here to stay for to foreseeable future.