Camp Be’chol Lashon
We do Jewish different!
Camp Be’chol Lashon is a multicultural Jewish leadership camp that teaches about global Jewish diversity, builds community leaders, and inspires a love of Judaism.
The camp is held at beautiful Walker Creek Ranch in West Marin, an hour north of San Francisco.
Camp Be’chol Lashon is for campers ages 8-18, with special leadership opportunities for ages 15-18. Campers come from all over the United States and around the world.
Camp Be’chol Lashon is the only summer camp focused on Jews as a multicultural people. While ALL children are invited to be part of a global Jewish community, Camp Be’chol Lashon provides ethnically and racially diverse Jews with an opportunity to see themselves as an integral part of the Jewish people.
Each day campers spend a significant amount of time in nature. They are free to explore all that Walker Creek Ranch has to offer, including extensive trails and creeks.
Campers participate in a variety of sports, including basketball, kickball and gaga every morning. In the afternoon campers hike down to Turtle Pond to swim, canoe, and kayak, or just relax on the dock. These activities promote cooperation, health, and most of all—fun!
Usually I would say I want to go to Camp Be’chol Lashon to see all my old friends, but to be honest they are not friends…they are FAMILY! I can’t wait to go back this summer.
Kenya E., CBL camper
Camp is a place where my Jewish girl of color gets to share hair tips and styles, be comfortable in her skin, learn about other multiracial Jewish experiences and be fully accepted for all that makes her unique.
Denise Davis, CBL parent
Camp Be’chol Lashon brings campers of diverse experience and backgrounds together and facilitates deep and lasting friendships. We focus on individuals’ stories and their value to the collective, encouraging conversations and celebrating differences between people as an asset, providing the ability to see oneself as part of a complex multi-faceted community where race is one of many distinguishing factors.
We see all of our campers as future leaders. Since some are in the position of being spokespeople and educating others about their Jewish journey, we want them to be prepared and feel supported. We encourage all campers to see multiple identities as an asset, allowing them greater tolerance and understanding of complexity. Our goal is to foster cultural competence, giving children the skills to successfully navigate life as proud Jews and global citizens.
Global Jewish Identity
Our diverse Camp Be’chol Lashon staff foster global Jewish identity development in a safe, nurturing environment. A more expansive vision of the Jewish people coincides with the world-view of younger generations of Jews who have increased access to technology, and for whom being Jewish is one of many identities. Campers develop Jewish friendship circles and build a deeper connection to Jewish life through diverse programming that reflects the multiple identities of contemporary Jews.
Passport to Peoplehood
The success of Camp Be’chol Lashon is due to its innovative curriculum, Passport to Peoplehood (P2P), that raises awareness about the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of Jews around the world, highlighting inclusion, diversity and connection as hallmarks of Judaism. P2P centers on the vision of Jews as a global multicultural people, engaging in the history and traditions that define each unique culture, as well as recognizing the shared values that connect all Jews.
Each day campers use their “passports” to “travel” to a different country to encounter Judaism through the history and culture of the Jewish community in that region. Using text, dance, music, film, art, and cooking, the Camp Be’chol Lashon travel-the-world approach allows campers to learn experientially.
Arts & Crafts
In addition to learning about geography, history and traditions, P2P contextualizes Jewish diversity through engaging, hands-on experiences. Using dance, music, art, and cooking, along with a variety of media, the Camp Be’chol Lashon travel-the-world approach allows campers engage creatively with the sights, sounds, flavors and textures of other cultures.
Our art room is the heart and soul of Camp Be’chol Lashon, a place where we not only experiment with a variety of materials and techniques representing Jewish cultures around the world, we also often listen to music, talk about popular culture, and explore questions about identity.
Jewish cuisine reflects the regions in which they live. According to the Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden: “Jewish food tells the story of an uprooted, migrating people. There is really no such thing as Jewish food. Local regional food becomes Jewish when it travels with Jews to new homelands. It is possible, by examining family dishes, to define the identity and geographical origin of a family line.”
Music & Dance
Students tend to learn more quickly and retain more information when the subject matter pertains to them personally, and the act of doing makes learning extremely personal. Our experiential activities offer each learner the chance to engage in the manner that suits them best. In addition to enhancing their knowledge and skills, the personal nature of experiential learning engages the students’ emotions, so it becomes real to them and they are better able to relate, in this case, with the sites, sounds and smells of Jewish cultures around the world.
Shabbat is a time of rest and reflection. Regardless of denomination or religious observance, we want all campers to feel comfortable walking into any Jewish space. On Friday, campers prepare for Shabbat by baking and signing up to participate in the Saturday service. In addition to daily hamotzi and hand washing prayers, campers learn to lead the Shabbat service together. It is a joyous time for all, and campers gain more confidence and pride in their Jewish identity.