Interfaith Family? We welcome your child!
When you send your child to a URJ Camp, they will make friends that may well last a lifetime. We promise we will provide them with a nurturing and fulfilling experience.
Your child - any child from an interfaith family who is being raised as a Jew - has a place at our camp. For over 30 years, the Reform Movement has been at the forefront of the Jewish world ensuring a welcoming environment for interfaith families and their children. As Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Eric Yoffie has stated, "The non-Jewish parent raising a Jewish child is the hero of our Reform Movement, and we owe them a huge thank you."
Here are a few answers to commonly asked questions; contact us if you have other questions. We welcome the conversation about your child’s participation at camp.
What happens at a URJ Camp? What is Jewish living?
Camp is fun! Our campers experience a great atmosphere, great role models, great activities and programs, values not just taught but lived, friendships, and responsible adult role models.
When you entrust your child to our camp, he or she will experience what it is like to live in a completely Jewish environment. This complete absorption into the rhythms and calendar of Jewish living gives each child a fuller appreciation of the richness of their Jewish identity and heritage. They are taught the values of charity, justice and kindness. Experience has shown that they will bring these good values home!
Shabbat is a big event at camp. The entire camp, dressed in white clothes, comes together as one on Friday evening for blessings, dinner and song. Campers experience the fullness of a Shabbat celebration both spiritually and culturally.
Each child’s pride in their Jewish identity is nurtured, while respect for those of other beliefs is also strongly encouraged.
Will my child feel isolated or difference because one parent is not Jewish?
Not at all. Many of our camp counselors themselves are wonderful products of interfaith marriages. Each child at a URJ Camp is valued as the unique individual they are, with the wonderful attributes they bring to our community. Each child is recognized as a full member of the Jewish community whether they have one or two Jewish parents.
Will my child feel embarrassed if they don't know how to do something Jewish?
URJ Camps are a place for your child to further their knowledge of Judaism in an experiential way. Every child who comes to camp brings a different skill set and knowledge of Jewish tradition and practice. They learn from us and from their friends at camp. This is a no-stress environment, where learning the levels of Jewish living is an enjoyable and natural progression.
Will it be a problem if my child has limited or no knowledge of Hebrew?
No problem! They will pick it up at camp in an experiential way. Each child learns some basic Hebrew terms, Hebrew blessings and phrases. They’ll enjoy showing off when they return home.
When my child returns home, will he or she be uncomfortable with my not being Jewish?
Remember that many of your child’s counselors have experience with interfaith families – either their own, their relatives or their friends. We teach each child that the Torah mandates to honor thy father and mother. We emphasize to each child that this teaching is not based on the parent being Jewish – the teaching is based on honoring each parent. Your position as the child’s parent will continue to be sacrosanct. We will encourage the respect you are due as a parent, with no regard to your own religious beliefs.