We have countless conversations with families that are curious about Judaism at CYJ Midwest. Until recently, we were satisfied with labeling ourselves as a “pluralist” camp, but it would not be accurate to describe the Jewish community of CYJ as ”a condition or system where two or more groups coexist.”
They have a clear idea of what it means to be Jewish and some campers have just begun to explore their Jewish identity. We have campers that keep Shabbat at home and for some of our families Shabbat is just what they call brachot (prayers) over candles and challah before dinner on Friday night.
CYJ is a space where a camper that is observant can feel at ease, and the child who does not know what Shabbat is can ask questions without judgment. At CYJ our campers develop an understanding of what Jewish means to them, and are informed by what it means for others. They respect each other, learn from one another, and grow together. Their growth also informs their understanding of the world.
We call our approach Connected Judaism™. It is an approach to strengthening Jewish Identity that empowers campers to explore on their own, and it is a worldview that encourages lifelong connection to all elements of the Jewish community, Israel, and to personal growth and confidence.