One of the first things Loui Dobin told me when I began my journey as an assistant director at Greene Family Camp was, “Family is our middle name.” At first this sounded like a cute saying, but as my time in this community grew I came to realize that this really is how GFC operates. We are all part of a large extended GFC family. It guides how we act and how we support one another in times of need.
The Maharal of Prague (Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) wrote in Netivot Olam: “While a person may be individually pious, such good will pale in the face of the sin of not protesting against an emerging communal evil. Such a pious person will be accountable for having been able to prevent it and did not. A Tzadik (righteous person) who remains quiet and passive is ultimately responsible for the communal evil which [they] could have and should have prevented.” Right now, our family is hurting. People of color live with the pain that racism and discrimination are real problems in present-day America. Allies must confront the reality that “not being racist” is simply not enough to meet the challenges of this moment. It isn’t enough for our GFC family to say that we are welcoming of all and that our community is inclusive. We cannot remain passive. It is time for us to stand together, united, and to actively demonstrate our values.
For GFC the first steps of this work will be a series of offerings for 9th-12th graders. These offerings will include a partnership with Kids for Peace on social justice webinars, additional trainings on how to help make change in your local community, and involving ourselves in campaigns designed to bring about lasting change like urging Congress to enact policing reforms and helping to register voters in our community as a part of the Reform Movement 2020 Civic Engagement Campaign.
This is a beginning, not an end. We are committing ourselves to the work of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and social justice. As Rabbi Tarfon wrote in Pirkei Avot (wisdom of the fathers), “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” I hope that you will join with the GFC family as we work to make the world a better place.