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Shoshanah 2020 Cancellation


I have been praying and trying hard not to cancel this year’s program of Messianic Jewish studies at the Shoshanah Campus. I had some hope when the governor of New York State declared that the northwest area was cleared for opening up, but that did not include the northeast area where our campus is located. A couple of weeks later, the northeast section was also cleared, and I was sure that meant we could continue with the summer program.

However, I was receiving contradictory information about what the governor’s decisions meant and so decided to fly to the campus on June 8th to investigate the situation. On the morning of the 9th, I met with Gary Demers who showed me the small numbers registered for the 2020 program. The numbers did not bother me since this was anticipated in light of the fact that the internationals, including our Canadian students, would not be able to attend. My policy has always been that if there is one person willing to learn, I would be there. Hence, the low enrollment numbers were not and would not have been the reason to cancel the 2020 program.

What I learned is that the part of NY State where our campus is located is only in the second stage of the opening-up process and that no camp of any kind has been opened up or will be allowed to open up until either the third stage (some camps) or the fourth stage (the remaining camps). No specific timetable has been provided as to when each stage will be applied since it depends on the level of new cases of COVID-19 patients. So, at this point, we may not receive permission to start the program, which was supposed to begin on the first Saturday of July. Even if we did get the clearance before that date, we would be required to fulfill strict requirements, and if in one week we had ten students, we would need to hire about twenty workers to do all the extra cleaning required by NY State and its response to the coronavirus plague. There were other issues as to the use of the kitchen and dining hall, etc.

And so to my deepest regret, we will need to cancel the 2020 program. We shall repeat the same curriculum for next year so that those trying to complete the five-year program will still be able to do so.

For those of you who have paid for this year’s program, we would like to give you three options. First, if you wish to have your money refunded, this will be done once you let us know. Second, if you wish to apply the money to the 2021 program, we will do so, and if the price is raised, we will not charge you the higher price. Third, if you wish to donate the funds as a contribution to the Shoshanah Campus ministry in any specific area, then that will be done as well.

THE GOOD NEWS: We are still planning the Labor Day Weekend of studies, and details regarding the topics Mottel Baleston and I will teaching are available on our website. The weekend will begin with a Shabbat dinner and service. Then there will be three one-hour lessons each day, two in the morning and one at night, concluding with lunch on Monday. We pray to see many of you for a time of school and fellowship.

In the Messiah,

Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum