From The Director’s Desk – February 2018
Last week, Carrie and I were watching a Netflix rerun of the hit NBC show, “Parenthood.” In one scene, Max, who we previously learned was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, was being teased by several other children at his school. Max’s older cousin, Drew, saw this from across the courtyard and moved swiftly to intervene. Despite Drew’s quiet and often timid nature, it was an impressive act of standing up not only for family, but for what was right.
It seems that all too often these days, we find ourselves listening to stories where we wanted, maybe even needed, our children to stand up for someone else, or for someone to stand up for them. It’s difficult, when many leaders in the business and political communities seem to be setting the wrong example of how to act, what to say, and simply how to treat one another with a basic level of respect and decency.
At Capital Camps, we strive to set a good example for our campers and staff. Regardless of one’s origins or backstory, we believe that every camper and staff member is entitled to a summer camp experience free from the pressures and difficulties s/he may face in other aspects of life. But more than the safe environment we seek to create at camp, we see ourselves as molding the next generation of young Jewish leaders to speak up and speak out wherever possible, inside and outside of camp.
One such opportunity to speak out is this month, which is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM), created to remind the community to speak up and speak out about one important segment of our population. Of course, disability awareness and inclusion has been and continues to be a top priority at Capital Camps. Our long-standing Atzmaim (inclusion) program is just one part of our fierce pursuit of this ideal. There are other opportunities as well, and I encourage you and your family to pursue those that are most interesting for you.
At the end of this month, we celebrate Purim, the Jewish holiday commemorating an entirely different type of human-to-human interaction. In the Purim story, the Jewish people face persecution for their religion, and it takes the joint efforts of Esther (from within) and Mordecai (from outside) to have a meaningful impact on the outcome in our history. Here, too, we rely on brave individuals to speak up and speak out in thoughtful ways to protect the interests of those in need.
Unfortunately, there will always be individuals and groups of people who need others to speak on their behalf. Sometimes, we may be the ones with that need. Other times, I hope that we will be the ones to step in and fulfill that need for others. May we have the courage and conviction to speak up and speak out on the issues which we care deeply about.
Have a wonderful weekend.
To read more about JDAIM and the outstanding events coordinated by our partners at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, click here.
To read more about Purim, click here.