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Jacobs Camp’s Approach to Israel

by | May 28, 2024 | Summer 2024, The Jewish World

Shabbat Shalom,

As the summer quickly approaches, I want to take a moment to address the important topic of Israel with our community. While our focus at camp is on fun, friendship, and Jewish Joy, the core of Jacobs Camp’s identity has always included a loving and positive connection to Israel.

We strive for openness and transparency, and I want to be sure you know where the URJ and Jacobs Camp stand. Since October 7th, the URJ has repeatedly called for measures that ensure that Israel remains strong and secure, that the hostages are released immediately, that humanitarian aid reaches Palestinians in Gaza, and for a future in which Israel and a Palestinian state exist side by side in peace.

The URJ and Jacobs Camp support the state of Israel’s right to exist and defend itself. We wish to celebrate our homeland, and we aim to create positive connections to Israel during our campers’ time with us. We have Israeli campers and staff who are part of our community, and it will be incredibly important to create a supportive and loving environment for them. It is our hope that we provide them, and all of our campers and staff, with a break from the stress of these recent months and the relief and healing that time at camp provides us all.

We believe that we can love, support and feel connected to Israel, and still feel a sense of shared humanity for others in this time of great sadness and pain. We aim to provide nuance, and show compassion for the real human cost of the conflict in Israel and Gaza, in age-appropriate ways.

Just as we don’t dictate our community’s religious observance, political views, or thoughts about any other topic, the same is true for opinions about Israel. While some members of our camp community may not agree with our position on Israel, we expect that our staff will create an environment for engagement and education that is aligned with the URJ and Jacobs Camp. Our goal is to create an open and safe community for all, where difficult conversations among those who may disagree are supported, and where growth and learning can occur, but where hate speech and harmful words are not allowed.

The past months since the October 7th attacks have been difficult for our community for so many reasons, and for many of our campers and staff the supportive Jewish community of camp is needed now more than ever. We believe camp is a place where we can build connection, pride, and knowledge that better equips us to counter the prejudice, conflict, and unrest in our world.

Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns.