It’s simply how we be.
Because our communities are so diverse, our campers experience just how interesting and fun life can be when everyone is encouraged to express what makes them unique.
Check out this video (from when our name was still Camp JRF!) to see this vision come to life.
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 communities.
Our camp communities are 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, we need to be inclusive of everyone regardless of who they are or where they come from. We’ve worked hard to make each of our Havaya Summer Programs 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 programs and communities 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, camp director of Camp Havaya, 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 our high quality programs.
In conjunction with the Foundation for Jewish Camp, local Jewish Federations, and our many donors and supporters, we work to make the camp experience 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 joyful and welcoming Jewish youth communities that, we know, will continue to transform the lives of our campers, staff, families, and – we hope – the world.
Worry not! We have a new name but, deep down, we’re still the same incredibly diverse and welcoming community where kids explore Judaism in their own ways and become the best versions of themselves.