Last week, I participated in a panel discussion on diversity and marketing at the annual conference of the Foundation for Jewish Camping. Because we had had previous conversations about how the panel discussion would unfold, I was fearful that the issues for which JOI stands would not be brought up. So I brought with me an elephant from one of our previous JOI conferences, just to remind people of the elephant in the room: interfaith marriage. Although I tried numerous times to bring it up, no one would engage me on the issue directly. Interestingly, though, a large group of folks called me aside after the conclusion of the panel discussion to ask me a few questions about interfaith marriage and its impact on camp enrollment and the like.
I wondered why they were afraid to bring it up during the panel discussion. Were they afraid of what their colleagues might think? It was a very polite conversation, so why were they willing to ask me things privately that they were not prepared to ask me publicly? I will probably never know the answer, but it is clear that the camps realize a significant key to their future success will be to engage children of interfaith families. In the meantime, I am delighted that these issues of diversity are on the agenda of the Foundation for Jewish Camping, and that they will be partnering with us as we together forge a path for a more inclusive Jewish future.
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