Blog  A Message From Jeremy

A Message From Jeremy

Each morning while camp is in session, we gather as a full GUCI community around the Old Pool (literally the former location of GUCI’s pool). We sing two songs and a prayer: Modeh Ani by Jeff Klepper and Dan Freelander, the Sh’ma by Tzvika Pik and L’takein (affectionately known as the “Na-Na song”) by Dan Nichols. This song begins with a call and response where we say:

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, ruler of the universe, who has given us the opportunity to mend the world.

In saying these words each morning, we remind ourselves that it is our duty as Reform Jews to mend the world, or practice Tikkun Olam. There is a reason we do this. As a Jewish community we take seriously our responsibility to stand up against injustice. The events over the past few weeks, in particular the murder of George Floyd, remind me once again, and are a terrifying affirmation to the Black community, of the pervasive racial injustice and systemic racism that has stained our country since its inception.   

We must do more to ensure that our GUCI community is more than just “not racist”; instead, we need to strive to be an anti-racist community advocating for the Black community.  As we work to build our educational programming for summer 2021, we will educate ourselves, collaborate with experts in relevant fields and build age-appropriate anti-racism programming into our camp curriculum.     

To our Black friends, neighbors, and valued community members, please know that we see you, we hear you, and we stand alongside you. Taking responsibility and striving to do better is fundamental to our camp mission and what we stand for.  To that end, we want to share some opportunities for our campers, staff, and families to be engaged, with the knowledge that we will continue having these critical conversations and being active participants in standing up for racial justice.

Below is a compilation of resources cultivated by the Religious Action Center (RAC), the political and legislative outreach arm of Reform Judaism in the United States.

Baruch atah Adonai, Elo- heinu Me- lech ha- olam

Shenatan lanu hizdamnut l’takein et ha olam.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, ruler of the universe, who has given us the opportunity to mend the world.

#BlackLivesMatter

Stay strong,
Jeremy

Jeremy Klotz
Director
Goldman Union Camp Institute

 

Read

 

Reflect

 

Relate

  • Explore and share the guides to allyship. You can find them on social media at @officialnfty and @theracgram
  • Begin having difficult conversations with white friends and family about racism and inequality. This resource on countering the language of “being colorblind” has great language for explaining why that stance is problematic. 
  • Think about how you might use your privilege, skills, and platform to support anti-racist work.
  • Open your eyes to see and call out systems of oppression, rather than seeing racism as individual actions.

 

Reform

Follow activists and social justice organizations in your community, so you have the latest news about

actions, policies, and protests in your city. 

  • When a racist incident takes place, take care of your friends of Color, call out racism, show up as an activist – in person at marches (safely) or in your actions. 
  • Take part in justice efforts led by communities of Color. Join the NAACP’s #WeAreDoneDying campaign, a multi-pronged effort that reminds us, “As the world faces unprecedented times and new realities during this global pandemic, and incidents of hate and domestic terrorism are perpetuated leading to routine brutalization of African-Americans, the health and safety of [People of Color] are at an unparalleled risk.” The campaign includes a petition calling for justice for George Floyd, as well as action steps related to criminal justice, economic issues, health issues, and voting rights/access.  
  • Contact your elected officials. You can go through the RAC’s Legislative Action Center, or set up a virtual or in-district meeting with the people who represent you to share your concerns. You don’t have to be of voting age to be heard. 
  • Join Every Voice, Every Vote, the Reform Jewish Movement’s 2020 nonpartisan civic engagement campaign. Protests and activism change history – AND we need people in office who are going to legislate long-term change, justice, and equity.

 

Talking About Race With Younger Audiences

We heard from some families with younger children and youth professionals who work with students across a wide age span. Here are some resources for talking about race with younger kids. It’s not too soon – studies show babies notice racial differences as early as six months old. 

  • NPR Podcast: “Taking About Race with Young Children
  • The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture just launched Talking About Race, “a new online portal designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way these forces shape every aspect of society.”
  • There are many book lists circulating with recommendations for all ages. Consider buying whatever books make sense for your family or community from one of these Black-owned independent bookstores