A WEST COAST CAMPUS FOR STRENGTHENING JEWISH LIFE
Something magical happens when we break our daily routines and join together in intentional community. Where the physical environment and collective experiences are infused with Jewish values. We are transformed to live with joy, purpose and meaning.
Over the past 70+ years (and under a variety of different names – Camp Saratoga, UAHC Camp Swig), Newman has served as summer camp and retreat center, providing over 750,000 people the experience of living Jewishly and has inspired them to take their Judaism home, ultimately bettering themselves, their community, and the world.
Tragically, the 2017 Tubbs fire destroyed 81 of 90 structures on our 500-acre campus. Through the committed work of 100’s of lay-leaders, professionals, experts, and representatives of the broader Jewish community, we have built an even brighter vision of the future, which will allow us to serve 20,000 people each year while strengthening the ecosystem of Jewish life throughout the West.
This new vision of a West Coast Campus for Strengthening Jewish Life will:
- Create an unparalleled Jewish retreat center for the Bay Area and west coast Jewish community where the entire ecosystem of Jewish life can benefit from immersive Jewish living.
- Return URJ Camp Newman to one of the largest and most successful Jewish summer camps in the country.
- Serve the full diversity of our community with dignity and intentionality – all backgrounds, abilities, and ages all year long.
- Provide a platform for new, innovative collaborations between organizations that will enhance all our organizations and offerings.
We believe that community is needed now more than ever. We want Judaism to thrive for generations, and so we’re building for the long view; a space that serves as a beacon for immersive Jewish living and learning:
- serves all ages (children, families, adults) throughout the arcs of their lives,
- operates year-round,
- leverages our own programming PLUS collaborations with top-notch partners,
- creates space for Jewish innovation/entrepreneurialism, and
- serves as a nexus where Jewish and non-Jewish (or secular) interests overlap.
We believe we are creating a better world because, in the time people are with us, they experience personal growth, connection to each other and their community, and rootedness in their Judaism – and this stays with them. When they leave, they take it home and change their world.
OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE
Imagine… Nestled in the heart of the Northern California wine country lies a premier destination and the largest immersive space in the Western U.S. intentionally designed to meet the needs of our diverse Jewish community and available to serve 365 days a year for Jewish living and learning.
With its destination location, 500 acres of land, close proximity to airports and attractions, ADA-compliant accommodations, world-class activity and program areas, and Jewish ritual space, our campus is ideally situated to serve Jewish organizations and the broader community in the Bay Area and throughout North America for weekend getaways, multi-day conferences, daylong meetings and more. People of all ages come to live and learn; experience Jewish culture; live in and build a sense of belonging and community; and celebrate traditions on a beautiful, wooded campus while surrounded by tranquil, sacred Jewish space. Our vision is threefold:
- Build the future of Judaism through traditional summer camp. We know the importance/impact of summer camp: it’s empirically proven to deepen Jewish identity, lead to adults who live Jewishly, incubate Jewish clergy and communal professionals, create a deeper connection to Israel and more.
- Elevate the Jewish Ecosystem through our conference center, a plug ‘n play campus for Jewish institutions with added value (what we bring as hosts) and attention to the quality of hospitality where we:
- serve traditional community partners and those with new innovations,
- deepen our culture of belonging by embracing the community’s diversity through enhancing people’s connections to each other and creating temporary communities that turn into lifetime friendships,
- elevate important areas of the Jewish experience (leadership development of Jewish professionals/lay leaders, community-connectedness, Jewish education, social justice) by partnering with mission-aligned leaders and organizations, and
- enhance relationships between Jews and non-Jews through our interactions with the non-Jewish/secular organizations who have retreats with us.
- Create an innovative and entrepreneurial laboratory for Jewish thought, culture and innovation that provides original, regional, year-round programming. Create the space for Jews throughout the West (or even from across the world) to come together to:
- tackle the big issues of the day – (for example, justice, diversity of our community and Israel),
- learn history and plan for the future,
- come up with new art, music,
- innovate around Jewish rituals, culture, education methods, and
- experiment with new programming in collaboration with partners.
And it’s all the more powerful because we’re doing this away from the distractions of modern life, while surrounded by the beauty of nature, and within the safety of our community.
To learn more, please contact Ari Vared, Executive Director.