Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the questions we hear the most about our organization and the work we do. Feel free to contact us with questions not answered here.
Our diverse 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 increasing 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. 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.
Who is CBL for?
While ALL children are invited to be part of a global Jewish community, Camp Be’chol Lashon is the only summer camp focused on Jews as a multicultural people. CBL expands the borders of the Jewish community, allowing ethnically and racially diverse Jews to see themselves as an integral part of world Jewry. CBL brings kids of diverse experience and backgrounds together and facilitates deep and lasting friendships.
What should I do if my child has never been to camp and is on the fence about signing up?
We are happy to schedule a Skype call with you and your child to ask questions and discuss any concerns. In our experience, this is a great way to get to know the counselors, make a reassuring connection, and generate excitement.
My child has never been to camp and doesn’t know anyone. Is this typical?
Yes! Every session has a mix of new and returning campers. Camp Be’chol Lashon is a welcoming place for everyone. We are a relatively small camp which allows us to pay careful attention to the emotional experience and identity development of each camper.
I’m worried my child will be homesick. How will you handle this?
We regard “homesickness” as a normal, healthy occurrence for children and refer to this as “missing home” to help differentiate the feeling from a sickness. Our staff members and veteran campers provide appropriate support.
What if my child already goes to another summer camp?
Many of our campers attend multiple camps during the summer. We see CBL as a supplemental leadership camp focused on positive identity development in a multicultural Jewish context.
What does Be’chol Lashon mean?
It means “in every tongue/language” in Hebrew, as Jews are a multicultural people who live around the world.
Where are you located?
We are based in San Francisco, with regional directors in the East (New York), South (Atlanta), Southwest (Oklahoma City), Midwest (Milwaukee), Canada (Toronto) and Africa (Uganda).
Who is Be’chol Lashon for?
What are your organizational goals?
We strive to:
- Educate Jews and the general public about Jewish diversity.
- Build networks of global Jewish leaders.
- Strengthen diverse Jewish communities around the world.
- Encouraging those who would like to be part of the Jewish people.
Are you associated with a particular religious denomination?
No, Be’chol Lashon is a non-denominational, non-partisan organization.
Why do people think of American Jews as white?
The majority of Jews who fled various persecutions and immigrated to America and the Caribbean were largely from Eastern Europe, so people think of Jews as white. But, of course, Jews are a multicultural people who live all over the world, as you can see from our website.
What is Camp Be’chol Lashon?
Camp Be’chol Lashon is the only summer camp focused on Jews as a multicultural people. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and is attended by campers, ages 8-18, from all over the United States and the world. It teaches about global Jewish diversity, builds community leaders, and inspires a love of Judaism.
Can you help me convert to Judaism?
If you are thinking about converting, we can offer some suggestions, but in the end it is such a personal journey. We recommend visiting different synagogues, taking classes, going to conferences/retreats, and talking to a variety of rabbis and others to see what resonates for you.
Are out-of-state campers welcome?
Yes! CBL is located in the San francisco Bay Area, but campers come from around the country and around the world. We personally accompany children to and from the airport
Summer camp feels out of reach financially. Do we qualify for financial assistance?
You should definitely apply. We recognize that the expense of summer camp may be a barrier to participation. There are both incentive and need-based campership options. Call us at 415.386.2604, or click here for more information.
What do campers do during the day?
In addition to activities like kayaking and canoeing, the success of Camp Be’chol Lashon has been in large part due to its innovative curriculum “Passort to Peoplehood” that focuses on the vision of Jews as a global multicultural people. Each day campers use their ‘passports’ to ‘travel’ to a different country to encounter the culture of different Jewish communities through art, music, dance, and cooking.
Click here to view a sample schedule.
Is camp kosher?
No. Walker Creek Ranch offers kosher-style, vegetarian, and vegan food options. We do not serve bacon or shellfish, nor do we mix meat and dairy.
What if my child wants to go for more than one week?
Many campers come for two weeks, as the programming is different during each of the sessions.
What is your poison oak and tick protocol?
While Walker Creek Ranch in West Marin is an ideal summer camp location, it is not without various challenge that exist in all California country settings including poison oak and ticks. Therefore we adhere to the following protocol: 1. Identifying and being aware of situations that include greater proximity to poison oak and ticks such as walking in heavily wooded areas, high grass, etc. In anticipation of hikes, campers are required to wear protective clothing like long pants and closed shoes. 2. Campers are advised to conduct a “tick check” every day, with the assistance of staff when requested. 3. Staff are trained on how to identify and remove a tick. If exposure to poison oak is suspected, campers shower with Tecnu and their clothes are washed. 4. There are a variety of insect repellents available including Permethrin, that campers can bring to camp. Natural insect repellents will be available like Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus will be available at camp. We will also engage in making our own natural repellent that repels ticks: In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of water, with the addition of 20 drops of Eucalyptus oil, peppermint and/or citrus oils. It can be sprayed onto clothing, skin, and hair and is safe to reapply frequently.