Chi Does Good: Justice For All
Camp Chi embraces the values of kavod (respect), chesed (kindness), and kehillah (community). Earlier this week we emphasized what we stand for: respect, treating all people with kindness, and embracing the diversity of our community. We stand for those things not just at camp, but also in the world around us.
For nearly a century, Camp Chi has taught our community how to live our values each day. We strive to create experiences that help our campers and families learn to become giving and supportive members of their society. To that end, we wanted this week’s Chi Does Good to highlight the connection between our values and the current social justice inequities our black neighbors, friends and families have been battling and the calls to make constructive changes in our country now and for the future. We also want to provide avenues and resources available to families and campers struggling to process what has happened over the last few weeks.
From the ghettoization of Askenazi Jews, to living as Dhimmi in the Sephardic world, to the genocide of European Jewry in the Holocaust, to recent synagogue shootings and public desecration of Jewish spaces across the globe, the Jewish people’s suffering was enabled by indifference and silence for thousands of years. With our history, the Jewish people have an obligation to not be silent while our neighbor bleeds (Leviticus 19:16) or be complicit with the problematic status quo.
The Jewish tradition of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, carries with it a deep commitment to social justice. That means respecting everyone in the world around us, treating them with respect and dignity, and creating better communities. The first step to create change is always to raise your family’s and your own awareness. While we are staying home, and deciding how to venture out as the world begins to open, let us all take some time this summer to educate ourselves about racial injustice. Here are some ways to do just that:
- Check out these books, shows and podcasts to help educate yourself.
- Begin to review this comprehensive allyship starter kit for a wide variety of resources and ways to help.
- Help share the subject with your children by exploring age appropriate books
- While we are home with our families, you can try creating activities using these resources for educators for your students of any age to educate them.
- Support Black owned businesses.
- Get involved with Jewish organizations who are committed to combatting racism. Here are few examples: The Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Chicago Jewish Community Relations Council, AJC -American Jewish Committee, Dimensions of Educational Consulting, Jewish Labor Committee and many more.
It can always be challenging to speak to your children about heavy topics, so we’ve collected a list of resources of to help:
- Child Mind
- Parent Tool Kit
- Yahoo’s list of 18 Children’s Books to Help You Talk About Race and Racism With Kids
In Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Ancestors), we are taught that “It is not your duty to complete the work. Neither are you free to desist from it. (2:16)” As a camp community driven by Jewish values, we continue to struggle with what is happening in the world today. We also know that although there is no one way to respond to and repair an imperfect world, our 4000 years of experience has shown us that in moments like this we are always better, stronger and safer when we reach out to stand with and embrace our families, friends, neighbors and even strangers who need us now.
In that same source, it is also said “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”. With that, we encourage the Camp Chi Family to do good now by not just being a witness and but also an advocate for others, living our values, and helping ensure that justice for all really means for all.