Dear Harlam Community,
At Shabbat services on Friday nights at camp, our staff hold tallitot (prayer shawls) high over the heads of our campers as we join together in the Hashkiveinu blessing, creating a shelter of peace as we ask God for comfort and protection.
When Harlam articulated our Open and Safe statement, we used the image of an open tent to signify our commitment to creating a summer home that recognized and celebrated the dignity and value of all people, and where bias and prejudice will not be tolerated.
This shelter of peace is not only a symbol of the idyllic world we create each summer at Harlam; it’s a model of what we believe the world outside of camp can and should look like. Harlam was founded as an “Institute of Living Judaism,” where Judaism comes to life and where Jewish values add meaning and purpose to our lives. We create a safe space to question, to learn, to connect, and to grow so that we have tools, strength, knowledge, and allies when we leave.
Sadly, this is not a peaceful time. But it is a time where we can continue to LIVE Judaism, and take action to shape our world. Just as at camp we work to become the best version of ourselves, so must we help make our world better in this time of great pain, fear, and anguish. And as an institution, we will continue to educate ourselves and examine our own behaviors.
We stand in solidarity with all who have been persecuted, belittled, and victimized because of their race. We condemn systemic racism, racist violence, and hate crimes. Injustice and inequality have no place in the world we seek to create, a world of peace.
As our tradition teaches in Pirkei Avot: It is not on you to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.
L’shalom (in peace),
Camp Harlam Director