Shmira Initiative - Foundation for Jewish Camp
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Shmira Initiative

Ben Zoma says “Who is honorable? One who honors all others.” (Pirkei Avot  4: 1)

The “Shmira Initiative” aims to make camps safe, healthy, and respectful model communities.  Shmira, in Hebrew and in the vernacular of Jewish summer camp, means guard duty, embodying the social and individual responsibility every community member has to ensure a safe environment.

THE GOALS OF STAGE 1 OF THE INITIATIVE INCLUDE:
  • Educating and training Jewish camp staff on prevention of misconduct and harassment.
  • Providing resources and training to camp directors and boards concerning policies for preventing and confronting sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Creating programs and materials to change camp culture and language around sexuality and gender expression

The first stage of this initiative is focused on changing camp culture on all levels, implementing a shift in staff programming, training, policy and enforcement around issues of gender, sex and power.

To support camp professionals in this endeavor, we have compiled the resources below, both institutional and programmatic, to empower you to create a safe and supportive culture at your camp this summer.

We are proud to join the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation as a founding member of the SafetyRespectEquity Coalition (SRE), a new initiative to ensure that Jewish workplaces and communal spaces are safe, respectful and equitable, and that sexual harassment, sexism and gender discrimination are no longer tolerated in the Jewish community.

We will continue to add content throughout the summer and beyond.  Do you have a resource, know an expert, or have a best practice to offer the field?  Please contact us at shmira@jewishcamp.org.

STAFF TRAININGS

Below is a list of content to use this summer as part of staff training and camper programming. Some of these materials have been created by FJC, some in collaboration with other camp movements and organizations, and some by camps and movements within the FJC network. If you have other programming to add, please email shmira@jewishcamp.org.

RESOURCE GUIDES & CAMP PROGRAMMING

Below is an initial list (in alphabetical order by organization) of resource guides to help support you in navigating issues around gender identity, sexuality, and consent at camp this summer.  If you have any additional guides to share, both that you have created as well as those from outside organizations and experts, please feel free to share them at shmira@jewishcamp.org.

CRISIS & SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS & HOTLINES

Below is short list of organizations and hotlines to contact in the event of a crisis. If you have any additional crisis hotlines or organizations to add, please email shmira@jewishcamp.org.

RECOMMENDED POLICIES & PROCEDURES

We have heard your requests for sample policies and procedures around anti-harassment, consent, and more. We are interested in compiling a list of such policies and procedures from both the camping field and outside the camping field that can be used as models for your camp. We invite you to share your camp’s best practices, policies, and procedures with us to share with the field. If you would like to share any of your most successful policies and procedures here, please email shmira@jewishcamp.org.

EXPERTS

Below is an alphabetical list of organizations with whom FJC and camps within the FJC network have worked. These organizations provide trainings, resources, and support around Shmira-related topics and themes. There are many other organizations in North America, and worldwide, offering expertise in these areas. This is only an abridged list of organizations to immediately support you now. Please email shmira@jewishcamp.org with other organizations with whom you have partnered.

Please NOTE: If you would like a list of individual experts and professionals available for trainings both year-round and during staff-training and camp season, please email shmira@jewishcamp.org and we will share recommended names to best fit your camp’s needs.

  • ASAP (addresses molestation and abuse in the Jewish community by assisting in building healthy, responsible, and abuse-free environments and providing treatment and prevention resources; provides camp-specific resources)
  • CANVAS Arts Action Programs (uses interactive training programs to build a culture free from homophobia, transphobia, and sexual violence; available for camp-specific trainings for staff, leadership, and camper trainings at all ages and levels)
  • Eshel (creating community and acceptance for LGBTQ Jews and their families in Orthodox communities)
  • Jewish Queer Youth (supporting and empowering LGBTQ youth in the Jewish community; available for trainings; provides camp-specific resources)
  • Keshet (works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusoin in Jewish life; provides trainings)
  • Moving Traditions (emboldens teens by fostering self-discovery, challenging sexism, and inspiring a commitment to Jewish life and learning; provides trainings, resources)
  • Sacred Spaces (provides Jewish institutions with professional services to develop robust policies and training to prevent opportunities for abuse; provides trainings)
ARTICLES & BOOKS

Below is a list of recommended articles and books to provide context, content, and support as you navigate Shmira-related issues this summer at camp. If you have any additional articles, books, or texts to add, please email shmira@jewishcamp.org with your recommendations.

IS THIS RELEVANT TO MY CAMP?

You are the expert for your camp. The materials here are only suggestions on ways to help your camp community strengthen and grow in these areas. Please take, borrow, and adapt these resources and materials accordingly to best support your needs.

We understand that your camp may or may not allow physical touch. Our intention is that the above recommendations can apply to appropriate behavior at camp with regards to language and emotional intimacy, as well as physical touch. A culture of consent begins with mutual respect, regardless of how it manifests.

We empower you to empower your staff and campers to feel confident in speaking up and coming forward when they feel a boundary has been crossed. You will work with your camp community to clarify what will make your camp a safe, healthy, respectful environment.

IN APPRECIATION

FJC would like to thank the following people and organizations for their time, feedback, insight and recommendations in helping FJC create these initial stages of Shmira (listed alphabetically):

Abby Mintz, Assistant Director of Camper and Staff Life, Beber Camp
Alexa Broida, Director, URJ Mitzvah Corps
Ayla Lefkowitz, MSc, Co-Executive Director, Development, CANVAS Arts Action Programs
Dana Fleitman
Daniel Bahner, National Director of Education and Training, Keshet
Daniel Gofine, Former Rosh Moshava (Head of Camp), Camp Moshava Ennismore
Rabbi Daniel Brenner, Chief of Education and Program, Moving Traditions
Fran Sepler, Sepler & Associates
Guila Benchimol, PhD Candidate studying sexual violence & Former Camp Director
Heather Provencher, Stuart House, UCLA Medical Center
Jacob Cytryn, Director, Camp Ramah Wisconsin
Jamie Simon, Executive Director, Camp Tawonga
Joel Bennett, Director of Human Resources, Beber + Perlman Camps
Julie Bressler, Education Director, URJ Camp Newman
Linda Kean, Director, Education & Mentoring, Jewish Family Service
Martin Kaminer, Kaminer Foundation
Meir Balofsky, Programming Director of Moshava Canada
Melissa Lousky Bienenfeld, Former Rosh Moshava (Program Director), Camp Moshava Ennismore & California
Michelle Koplan, Executive Director, B’nai B’rith Camp
Mordechai Levovitz, LMSW, Executive Director, Jewish Queer Youth
Rachael Fried, LMSW, MFA, Deputy Executive Director, Jewish Queer Youth
Rachel Katzmann, Director of Operations, Eden Village Camp
Rahel Bayar, T&M Protection Resources
Sarah Chandler , B’Kavod Safe Respectful Jewish Workplace Trainer, Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York & the Good People Fund
Scout Bratt, Director of Outreach and Education, Chicago Women’s Health Center
Sheira Director-Nowack, Camp Director, Camp Havaya
Shelley Marsh, Executive Director, Reshet
Shoshi Rothschild, Associate Director, Camp Kinneret-Biluim
Stefani Jarrett, Director of Human Resources, Union for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Tamara Cohen, Chief of Innovation, Moving Traditions
Tehilah Eisenstadt, Director of Education and Family Engagement, Society for the Advancement of Judaism
Dr. Zach Lasker, Director, Camp Bob Waldorf

 

Questions? Contact shmira@jewishcamp.org.

Additionally if there are other related topics you would like to see addressed in future webinars and or trainings, or if you have any other questions or comments, please contact Caroline Rothstein, the FJC Shmira Initiative Coordinator, at shmira@jewishcamp.org.