August 29, 2022


Precisely 40 years ago, at this exact date and time,

as the publication of this special edition of the Beaver Lake Bulletin, a most significant event was held in Monticello, NY

Yes, a very significant event.

Continue to scroll down and you will see why

But. first a message from Harry Wiesel - President

At our most recent membership meeting I made the following remarks, noting our 40th year. I am sharing these remarks with all our residents who are on distribution of this special edition, some of whom may not be members but, nevertheless, are an integral and important part of Beaver Lake. We, collectively, share in our success over the last 40 years and look forward to the next 40.

Membership Meeting July 30, 2022

Forty years ago, right here in the casino, at about this time, first president, Tomi Karfunkel, opened the membership meeting with our founders. Many are here with us tonight. He laid out the vision, the challenges and the road map to get Beaver Lake to be the premiere, modern orthodox summer community in the Catskills.  

I know that the founders, who are here with us today and those looking at us from above, are proud of what you have created and are especially pleased knowing that as you pass the leadership to newer generations you are assured that the next 40 years and beyond are in good hands. 

I can tell you that indeed BL is in good hands. With the support of the shareholders, the board and staff we are all committed to maintain and enhance the tradition of excellence that is our BL. 

I am not just saying this because it's good to hear… I have proof.

You have heard me say before how much we are in demand for both rentals and homes. A stream of inquiries come to us regularly. Just a few days ago the following, very simple, but telling message was sent to us via our website:

  • Hi, I came across your website and beautiful facilities. I am interested in finding out if you have any homes for sale? Please reach out to me.

Beautiful facilities for sure, lake, pools, camp, grounds, You can see that in the pictures posted on the website. But, one can only see the true BL when they come for a visit and directly experience the warm and pleasant environment that can only come from the good people of BL. In fact, people who come up for a visit, be it a day, a Shabbos or a week have nothing but praise for BL.  

Again. I can prove it.  

If you google BL you will find us listed and you have an opportunity to leave a review. There are literally dozens of 5 star reviews by visitors and residents especially noting, with glowing words, our great facilities and our welcoming hospitality. 

As president, Tomi, 4 years after the founding, wrote a letter to the membership summarizing in great detail all that the members needed to know.

He closed his 4 page letter with the following:

“We had all made great and visible progress… I recall vividly that winter day 4 years ago when George Guttman, Ossie Schonfeld and I climbed over the fence of an abandoned camp and searched for a path leading to a lake. We found the lake. We have come a long way.”

So we all stand here 40 years later being grateful to Tomi and all our founders that you have indeed found that lake.


In the begining: By Saul Feder and Tomi Karfunkel

On February 25, 1982, the campus of Camp Beaver Lake on Southwoods Drive in Monticello was auctioned for sale in the Sullivan County Courthouse in a Foreclosure Action. Camp Beaver Lake had occupied the site that had previously been run as Camp Machaniam

The property being sold contained 350 acres including one major lake and a runoff lake, a clubhouse, two pools, a camp house, and units on the boys’ campus on the owners side of the road and the girls’ campus on the tenants side of the road, a tennis court, baseball field and other facilities.

At that time, a group of Moonlight graduates, who were seeking to start their own vacation colony, had been looking for an appropriate location. The group included Heshy Spitzer and Nachman Kanovsky who ultimately split off and started Vacation Village. The remaining group included Tomi Karfunkel and Saul Feder who were joined by Moishe Puterbeutel, Ossie Shonfeld and George Guttman - the latter two located the ad for an auction of a desirable property.

Saul, Tomi and Moishe attended the auction and we were the successful bidders offering $280,000.00 for the property. 


attracting resident owners

Perspective of a new shareholder; Steven Orlow

What stands out most while visiting the site and as a first impression is "mud"! Mud, mud, mud, everywhere. Our first introduction to the Beaver Lake campus was in October, 1982. Our intention was to decide if this was to be a place we would commit to spending our family summers for years to come. What we tried to "see" was a vision of a future community that had to be superimposed upon a muddy, forested expanse with some dilapidated camp bunks. However, there was one overriding element of grace: a spectacular lake, enveloped in a ring of stupendous fall foliage. Cutting to the chase, the impression that made on both Susie and me sealed our family's fate for summers, for the next several decades! 

While there was success with some potential new members,

it was not always successful.

At the second Shareholders Meeting, when issues of methodology, hashkafah, selection of locations, sports facilities, protection of the lake, etc., were loudly discussed and debated. At one point, one of the foreign-born original Shareholders pushed his jacket back to show that he was armed- resulting in a face-to-face confrontation with another foreign born original Shareholder who reminded everyone that he showed no fear of the Nazis and he would certainly not back down from any threats in America. Although the confrontation quickly resolved itself, it resulted in the immediate fleeing from the meeting of at least three prospective new shareholders who ran to their cars never to be heard from again.

Success overall. Plenty of shareholders signed up to make enable a viable community.

Time to build

A critical meeting was held in the law offices of Saul Feder in downtown Manhattan where Harold Wolland and his partner Bob attended on behalf of the Builders; and Saul Feder, Tomi Karfunkel and Moishe Puterbeutel attended on behalf of Beaver Lake. After negotiating terms and conditions back and forth for several hours, Harold and Bob were at an impasse as to whether or not they were willing to enter into the agreement with us. Harold was in favor and Bob was adamantly opposed. They agreed to make a decision based upon the flip of a coin. We still have the quarter which landed on heads - resulting in them entering into the agreement with us to develop Beaver Lake at a cost that was in excess of 25% better than the next lowest bidder.

Development and building 

The next two years were an exciting period of time - with many of the founders spending substantial amounts of time in Beaver Lake sleeping in bungalows, the former infirmary (now the counselors’ house), and even in a trailer brought up for that purpose. In addition to enjoying the vacant land, lake and the beautiful country, they spent a considerable amount of time coordinating with and instructing the builders, and, at times, actually helping the workmen with their tasks; and they produced the next generation of Beaver Lakers while relaxing in the beautiful country weather, while spending most Sundays escorting potential buyers around the 350 acres so as to highlight to them the many benefits they would have by joining our growing family of shareholders.

Beaver Lake is becoming a reality


Can't have a community without rules and regulations

We established some Basic Laws to guide the growth of our community:

A. we will be a Modern Orthodox community; on the Sabbath no "bat and ball" sports are allowed, volleyball will be allowed, there will be mixed swimming, no dress code for the ladies, etc.

B. the community will subsidize the Day Camp. Each family will pay 1 camper tuition even if the household had no camper (a forerunner of Board subsidy).

C. all shareholders (the originals & the additional) will be equal

D. English will be the official language of the community. Hungarian will be spoken at the pool, in shul & in private residences.

Hmmmm...volleyball will be allowed on Shabbos?

Yep, after a great deal of debate the volleyball players prevailed

and continues to this day (looks like the same net?)

First priority of the membership, of course, was to protect Shabbos volleyball but it was followed closely by the recognition that the day camp is a necessary amenity and needs to be supported by the membership.

A camper's perspective; Wendy (Gertelman) Nenner

Camp went from 9:30am to 5pm. All we needed to take with us to camp was a towel because we would go home for lunch and change for general swim. We were obsessed with lanyard bracelets. At camp we played hand games such as: Miss Mary Mack, the Spades Go and Eenie Meanie Sissaleeny. We had art, music, Israeli Dance (with an end of year performance), boating and sports. We lined up in the rec room, now the Beit Midrash, for ice cream at the end of the day at camp. After camp we went to the pool and met our mothers who were already at the pool in their lounge chairs, shmoozing. Every family left their own lounge chairs folded up, against the fence, at the pool. We used to do cannon balls off the diving boards, play basketball in the pool and for those that felt really brave we would jump off from the high chair. Wednesday nights was movie night at the Casino. Cartoons for the kids followed by a movie for the grownups. The camp overnights were on the other side of the lake. We slept in sleeping bags on our lounge chairs. Some bunks even had overnights on the island. All of the counselors were shareholders or renter's kids. Most of my counselors, married adults now, like me, are still coming to Beaver Lake, living with their parents, like me! I am so fortunate that my kids have been able to grow up in Beaver Lake. 

You know that the founders had to be a little crazy. A bunch of - thinking out of the box - adventurers to have created Beaver Lake Estates. But did you also know that they were a bit crazy in unexpected ways?

A Beaver Lake Cattle Drive

Twenty-six mostly Beaver Lakers went on a very memorable event of "A Kosher Cattle Drive." Read more about this adventure, documented by Steven Orlow, in the links at the end of this Special Edition.

The entire saga of the founding of Beaver Lake was articulated by

Mindy Feder at the ground breaking ceremony, 40 years ago.

For many years we've had a dream,

With visions of sky and trees;

Where we could stroll in endless woods,

And enjoy the mountainous breeze.

And in this dream we'd all have homes,

That we could use year round;

A perfect sort of hide-a-way,

Where nature's gifts abound.

This dream was shared by many friends,

Who joined us in the quest;

To find a very special place,

One far above the rest.

This dream became reality,

A few short month& ago;

When Beaver Lake was found and bought,

While trudging through the snow.

Its wintry wonders made us swoon,

Its magic caught our eyes;

Its summer splendor shone right through,

- We knew our choice was wise.

The birth of Beaver Lake Estates,

Brought dozens to our fold;

In many states and distant lands,

Our vision was passed and told.

Our family grew by leaps and bounds,

As strangers became new friends;

And soon a brand new goal was shared by all,

- To break ground by summer's end.

We've labored long and toiled quite hard,

This dream to help create;

And that is why we're here today,

- To meet and celebrate.

Our construction work is under way,

Our homes will soon be done;

And by next summer, we'll all be here,

To enjoy what we've begun.

40 Years Later

We Reflect

 by Mindy Feder

Today we all live that dream,

We started years ago;

Our homes are filled with many guests,

We’re always on the go.

The lake and pools have been improved,

And now are state of art;

Our Camp and courts are just supreme,

These enhancements please our heart.

Throughout these years we’ve made new friends,

As homes were bought and sold;

Each new face has added life,

To help improve our fold.

But with heavy heart, it grieves me so,

To think of friends we’ve lost;

Most were here from the very start,

In our hearts they are embossed.

The pioneers can now sit back,

And watch with pride and “Kvell”;

As now our children are Moms and Dads,

We’re sure they’ll do as well.

The baton of power has now been placed,

In the hands of a younger crew;

Who have their dreams and energies,

With eagerness they will do.

May Hashem continue to bless us all,

With good health and fun and laughter;

To enjoy our beautiful and peaceful treasures,

For now – and ever after!

A partying thought: By Hershel Weber

Having spent a significant number of years in Beaver Lake, made me realize what an enterprise this institution is! How fortunate we are individually and collectively to have something like a Beaver Lake Estates in our experience. These grounds have provided an oasis whereby children come of age through a variety of experiences, gain lifetime friends, yearn for choice seating at the yearly Shareholders meeting as they get older, and ultimately graduate to bigger and better positions in Beaver Lake and beyond. It is in this incubator that relationships and friendships are formed and tested, first jobs for our children and new responsibilities, development of an independent spirit tethered to values instilled by a strong and diverse community.

Editor's note: many of the descriptions included within this special edition are abstracted from more comprehensive narratives that are attributed to several individuals. The Editor would like to thank Tomi Karfunkel, Saul and Mindy Feder, Steven Orlow, Wendy Nenner and Hershel Weber. Additional material came from Elisa Katz, Judy Welwart and Tamar Hochstein.

The full, non abstracted narratives can be found by clicking below: 

A Camper Perspective - Wendy Nenner

History of BL Part 1 - Saul Feder

History of BL Part 2 - Saul Feder

In the beginning - Tomi Karfunkel

Son-in-law Perspective - Hershel Weber

BL at 40 Perspectives and cattle drive - Steven Orlow

Click below for a bit of history

Camp Machanaim 1959

Any comments? Please reach out to

Roz Wiesel