Camp Alonim’s founder, Shlomo Bardin was one of the first Jewish leaders to use the term “Tikkun Olam” and understood it as a call to all Jews to fully participate in the mending of our broken world. For over 60 years at Camp Alonim, we have studied together and made it our goal to understand the responsibility we have to the world.
Each summer, we work to ensure that every camper, staff member, and community participant understands that we are all created in God’s image and that confronting systemic racism, inequality, and injustice is vital and holy work. We recognize the systemic racism and injustices being perpetrated against people of color, and as a community, we stand against racism and bigotry and will continue to teach inclusion, love, and acceptance.
The murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others shocked and horrified our community and our nation. We have been inspired to see so many of our campers, staff, and alumni contributing their time, voices, resources, and hearts to the pursuit of racial justice. It is the Alonim way.
We feel the absence of being together at camp this summer for so many reasons. But perhaps the most striking one is that we cannot sit together – in this complex and challenging moment – to learn and teach, to listen and share, and to build together toward a more just world.
Still, we are trying from afar.
We are working as a vital part of American Jewish University (AJU) to develop educational resources that will inform, engage, and empower our community. Following AJU’s strong statement opposing systemic racism and standing with those who advance racial justice (available here), the University mobilized its B’Yachad Together programming to host a series of conversations about structural racism and its pernicious impact on our society. They have quickly become among the most viewed conversations on this issue in the Jewish world, conversing with, listening to, and learning from leaders of color. We encourage everyone to participate in these conversations and to view past programs here and here.
Our camp and university leadership team continues to explore how we can do even more to animate our values in every aspect of camp, to build a more inclusive, diverse, and supportive environment for people of color and the entire Alonim community, and to continue to hold ourselves to the vision and values of Shlomo Bardin – justice, inclusion, and loving-kindness – which are the lifeblood of Alonim and AJU. We aim to train active participants in the struggle for racial justice. We are not simply a place that teaches about repairing the world. We must do it through the power of our example.