Geveret B. (Leona Billinkoff) was an integral person in creating Camp Massad; a Hebrew speaking Jewish camping experience. She served as “eemah” (camp mother) and administrator at Camp Massad (1953-1978), the first and only Hebrew-speaking summer camp in Western Canada, founded on Labour Zionist principles and fostering Jewish culture through music, dance and skits. As “eemah” she supervised the kitchen, comforted homesick children, and developed programming. With the help and expertise of her husband Alex, she oversaw the growth of a ramshackle campsite in Sandy Hook, Manitoba to a self-sustaining entity with quality programming that is still thriving 60 years later. Without her Camp Massad would not be what it is today. Heydad Massad!
A celebration of the lives of Leona and Alex Billinkoff Z”L was held Sunday August 24, 2014 at Camp Massad camp grounds in Sandy Hook. A dedication took place and those in attendance shared memories and stories of the wonderful Leona Billinkoff and her husband Alex.
Read Mrs B: The Mother of All Camps. Written by Al Levine (Madrich 1968-69, 1971-75, 1980) on the occasion of the 1992 Camp Massad alumni reunion.
Camp Massad honoured the late Leona Billinkoff on her 90th birthday. Below are articles that capture the celebration of this one-of-a-kind eemah!
Read the article from the Winnipeg Jewish Review
Read the article from The Canadian Jewish News
Read the article from the Winnipeg Free Press