Camp Chi Stands (and Walks) Stronger Together
Just a few weeks ago, Shabbat morning turned into a tragic scene at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. In the weeks since the shooting, we have seen and heard about anti-Semitic incidents all around the country and world. Sadly, while the news is now reporting this as if it is a new thing, for many, this is anything but new. The question was not if we should do something, but rather what Camp Chi was going to do. And, as Jews have done for many years, we looked hate in the face and showed that we do not stoop to their level. Instead, we come together and stand taller and prouder. We are proud to stand with our friends throughout the Pittsburgh Jewish Community and people across the world to denounce all hate language and acts, and discrimination of any kind.
On Saturday, November 10, we were proud to participate in the virtual#5KforPittsburghJCC. In the aftermath of the Saturday morning massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh served as a safe haven for the families affected and as a hub for law enforcement and first responders. The JCC has continued and is likely going to continue to play an integral role in the community’s healing. This worldwide campaign was launched to help support the JCC, and we jumped at the chance to support our friends and colleagues just a few hours away.
But that wasn’t enough. We wanted to not just walk to support a great cause, but for our community as well. So we dubbed the event the Camp Chi Walk Against Hate. Like our counterparts in Pittsburgh, JCC Chicago and Camp Chi serve as safe places for both individuals, families, and communities. Anti-Semitism, bigotry, prejudice, and labeling of any kind have no place at Camp Chi. We are a community and embrace our values of kavod (respect), chesed (kindness), and kehillah (community). By embracing these values, we denounce all hate language and acts.
The camp classic Lean on Me by Bill Withers encourages one to “Lean on me. When you’re not strong.” Why does it suggest that? We turn to the next line in the song for the answer. “I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.” That timeless tune encourages us to seek help from others and come together at times when we feel low. We are stronger together. So as we move forward, keep that camp classic in the back of your mind and imbue the Camp Chi core values of kavod (respect), chesed (kindness) and kehillah (community) into your everyday life. It all comes down to how we treat one another and come together as a community in all kinds of times. As we say when the torah is lifted “chazak chazak v’nitchazek” be strong, be strong and we will be strengthened.
The Jewish Educator project compiled many great resources for helping parents and educators work with teens and you around hate, loss, and tragedy. You can access the resources here.