Union for Reform Judaism Camps are inspired communities of learning and joyous living. Our camps are built on the foundational principals of:

  • Tikkun Olam, bettering our world
  • Tikkun Middot, bettering ourselves
  • Gimilute Chasadim, acts of loving kindness
  • B’tzelem Elohim, all humans are created in a divine image
  • Talmud Torah, love of learning for learning’s sake
  • Ahavat Israel, love of Israel

Our tradition teaches us that all human beings are created B'tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image (Genesis 1:27). The belief that the stamp of the Divine is present in all humans is fundamental to Reform Judaism and teaches us that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any person because of who they are. URJ camps embody this by welcoming every camper and staff member into our fun and immersive Jewish camp experiences.

As such, URJ Jacobs Camp is deeply troubled by the recent passage of HB 1523, which permits state government employees, state contractors and grantees, as well as non-profit organizations and even for-profit businesses to refuse to serve – and in many cases, refuse to employ – legally married same-sex couples and their families, transgender and gender non-conforming people, and many others including single moms and survivors of sexual violence. Moreover, this law irrevocably weighs religious freedom over laws that protect against discrimination, without the possibility of evaluating the appropriate balance for each situation.

Through our Constitution and our laws, the United States has protected, ensured and enhanced religious freedom and religious diversity, allowing the Jewish people to flourish in this country nearly unmatched anywhere else in the world. As a religious minority in both our country and the state of Mississippi, we as Jews know how important it is to maintain a balance between religious liberty and the many other rights and freedoms that define who we are.

URJ Jacobs Camp has significant impact because it was built by every congregation in the region, and it takes its role seriously as a center of Jewish life in the Deep South. In spite of this legislation, and the fact that in many states and at the federal level, LGBT people are not protected against discrimination as they ought to be as equal members of society, we at URJ Jacobs Camp will continue to welcome all into our community to model the world we wish to see.