Because our community is so diverse, our campers experience just how interesting and fun life can be when everyone is encouraged to express what makes them unique.
Over the past number of years, our staff and campers have been introduced to the concept of “How We Be” (or, as you see here, Howie Bee) as a powerful reminder to each member of the Camp JRF community to be his or her best self. Howie is about taking responsibility for our actions, standing up for ourselves and our friends, and playing an active role in creating our joyful and welcoming Jewish youth community.
Our Camp community is made up of all kinds of children and adults, all kinds of families, and all kinds of congregations from all kinds of places. We believe that being inclusive of every member of our community is important and, if we’re really going to live the values that are so central to our work here at Camp JRF, we need to be inclusive of everyone regardless of who they are or where they come from. We’ve worked hard to make Camp a place where kids of different races, cultures, family compositions, and practices are not only included but welcomed.
We are proud of this commitment to diversity and aim to set the standard for creating a Jewish camp culture that is open and inclusive of the full spectrum of the Jewish community.
With the support of InterfaithFamily, we train our staff in how to be cognizant about the ways in which campers from interfaith families may experience Camp and how, in addition to supporting them, we must be equally aware of their parents’ varying experiences and expectations.
Over the course of many years, we have worked closely with Keshet and with Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the LGBTQ synagogue in New York City, to ensure that our program and community are welcoming and inclusive of campers and staff of all sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as those from LGBTQ families.
We look at, and teach, issues of identity and how the Jewish community can be inclusive of people of color (both here and around the world) in our work with Be’chol Lashon, an organization that advocates “for the growth and diversity of the Jewish people” by placing a focus on multi-cultural Judaism.
Sheira Director-Nowack, our associate director, brings more than two decades of experience working with children with a variety of special needs. With her expertise and guidance, we seamlessly integrate campers of various needs and levels into one high quality program.
In conjunction with the Foundation for Jewish Camp, local Jewish Federations, and our many donors and supporters, we work to make Camp affordable for families in all socio-economic situations.
We see camper families as our partners in setting the standard for inclusion in the Jewish camping community. Together, we create a joyful and welcoming Jewish youth community that, we know, will continue to transform the lives of our campers, staff, families, and – we hope – the world.
Camp JRF is a truly extraordinary place—your kid will feel part of something bigger than themselves, and they’ll want to experience that magic year after year.