Survey: Summer stay might be pivotal to fostering Reform Jewish values
October 3, 2018 - summer camp
(RNS) — Want your kids to grow adult Jewish?
Send them to Jewish summer camp.
That’s been a summary of countless Jewish surveys by a years. A new survey undertaken by a Reform movement, a largest and many magnanimous of Judaism’s 3 categorical U.S. branches, adds to those conclusions by display that camps might assistance figure adult Jewish values and amicable probity commitments.
The consult found that those who participated in overnight summer camps or immersive weekend-long getaways by a Reform girl transformation were distant some-more expected to be intent in Jewish life in college and over and some-more committed to “doing good.”
On Simchat Torah, that this year ends on Tuesday dusk (Oct. 2) and outlines a execution of a liturgical cycle of Torah readings and a commencement of a new one, a doubt of Jewish smoothness is as strident as ever. Growing acclimatization and a decrease in a series of Jews who associate with any of a vital Jewish movements bluster to unmoor many Jews from their eremite roots.
But a Reform movement, representing about 35 percent of American Jews, or about 1.5 million supporters in a U.S. and Canada, wanted to weigh a impact of girl programs on Jewish adults over assemblage or membership in synagogues.
The success of Jewish overnight camps is well-documented. A 2011 study of Jewish stay alumni found that summer camps strengthen Jewish identity. Studies from a 1990s suggested a same. The new Reform consult attempts to magnitude either a use of stay and girl movements figure participants’ worldviews and behaviors.
The survey, conducted by Rosov Consulting in 2017, gave Reform leaders a clarity that immersive girl programming could broadcast Jewish values of creation a universe a improved place.
It found, for example, that 87 percent of alumni of camps and girl movements concluded that doing proffer work is important. More tangibly, 67 percent pronounced they proffer with Jewish use or amicable probity organizations during slightest sometimes.
“It unequivocally attempts to uncover that to be a successful Jew as an adult is not usually about belonging to a assemblage or lighting Shabbat candles,” pronounced Miriam Chilton, clamp boss of girl for a Union for Reform Judaism. “It’s about behaving Jewishly in a universe and a significance of holding those beliefs and requesting them in ways that align with Jewish values.”
The Reform transformation has 17 overnight camps and enrolls some 10,000 campers and counselors any year. It also has a girl module for teenagers in grades 6 by 12 that meets in temples and during inhabitant conventions several times a year.
Nearly 2,200 consult respondents, alumni of a summer camps and girl movement, pronounced appearance in a programs was meaningful:
- 81 percent of alumni pronounced “being Jewish is unequivocally critical in my life.” That’s about twice a commission of Reform Jews who answered a doubt a same approach in a 2013 Pew investigate of Jewish Americans.
- 77 percent pronounced they “often simulate on what being Jewish means to me.”
Jewish camps were combined during the spin of a 20th century to give children of European immigrants a postpone from a swarming civic allotment houses and plentiful slums. In a 1930s and 1940s, a camps served an critical health mission: to strengthen civic children from polio epidemics. It was usually after that their concentration altered to assisting build Jewish temperament by sports, crafts and outward fun alongside a unchanging use of Jewish rituals and liturgy.
Along a way, they helped children bond with one another and supposing a glue for destiny Jewish commitments.
“So most of sacrament in ubiquitous is community, right?” pronounced Mattan Berner-Kadish, 22, a comparison during a University of Maryland who started going to Jewish stay during age 10. “That’s what it supposing in a lot of ways. It was a place of interacting with people, apropos friends and carrying use with people who common it with me.”
Berner-Kadish, who did not attend in a consult though spent time both as a camper and advisor during Reform camps in Kunkletown, Pa., as good as in Israel, pronounced he volunteers during his Maryland synagogue and his college roommate is a former stay buddy.
The event to do things divided from synagogue and a probing eyes of relatives might be a large partial of what creates a stay knowledge unique.
“For a initial time in my life, it supposing me a event to make Judaism my own,” pronounced Aaron Klaus, 30, informal executive for NFTY, a North American Federation of Temple Youth, a Reform girl transformation who is formed in Michigan.
For many alumni, stay was a place where they socialized with other Jews. Ali Terkel, who started going to Reform camps during age 7, pronounced there were no other Jews outward her Tulsa, Okla., propagandize flourishing up.
“Camp unequivocally non-stop adult my Jewish world,” pronounced Terkel, 30, who now works in Chicago for a American Jewish Committee’s module for immature professionals. “It was a initial time we was in a entirely immersive Jewish community. It was unequivocally good to feel we belonged and that other kids cared about a same things we did.”