State budget to support Jewish camps and Holocaust initiatives


Thanks to the advocacy efforts of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and LA Federation partners, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recently signed state budget for 2022-2023 allocates more than $132 million to help fund issues affecting California’s Jewish community.

“It’s safe to say that this $132 million will have an impact on the entire Jewish community.”
–Rachel Zaiden

“It’s safe to say that this $132 million will have an impact on the entire Jewish community,” Rachel Zaiden, LA Federation’s director of civic engagement, told the Journal in a recent phone interview. .

The Los Angeles Conference worked with the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, a group of Jewish elected officials and support for Jews in the California legislature, to secure $40 million for the reconstruction of six California summer camps affected by fires devastating in recent years. The camps are both Jewish and non-Jewish.

“The California Legislative Jewish Caucus has been the main driver and force for this,” Zaiden said. “So we’re really grateful for their partnership.”

The Jewish camps that will receive funds are Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps in Malibu; the Shalom Institute in Malibu; and the Union of Reform Judaism’s Camp Newman in Santa Rosa.

The devastating effects of the 2018 Woolsey fire. Gary Bush/Getty Images

The Woolsey fire in 2018 devastated the Wilshire Boulevard Temple (WBT) camps as well as the Shalom Institute. The massive wildfire destroyed nearly every structure at WBT’s Hess Kramer Camp and Gindling Hilltop Camp, and wiped out 95% of the Shalom Institute’s JCA Shalom campus.

“If our state hadn’t been ravaged by drought and wildfires, we wouldn’t be in this position,” Zaiden said.

“If our state hadn’t been ravaged by drought and wildfires, we wouldn’t be in this position,” Zaiden said.

In a statement, Shalom Institute executive director Bill Kaplan said he was grateful for the state’s support and the Federation’s work on behalf of his camp.

“This new funding from the State of California has taken us a big step forward in turning our ashes from the Woolsey Fire into flowers,” he said. “With immense gratitude, the Shalom Institute community thanks the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Jewish Caucus for all of their support and efforts in obtaining these funds not only for us, but for five other camps destroyed by fires. of forest over the past five years. ”

Recent state allocations will help rebuild, said Douglas Lynn, executive director of Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps and Conference Center.

“The State of California’s recognition of invaluable work camps to help children, teens, and even adults learn, grow, and become better people is reflected in this financial support,” he said. .

Signed by Newsom on June 30, the $308 billion state budget goes beyond support for Jewish and non-Jewish camps. It allocates $50 million to the state’s nonprofit security grant program; $1.4 million to staff and fund the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education; $1.8 million to staff and fund the State of Hate Commission; $36 million for the California Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program, which is administered by Jewish family service agencies to support the aging survivor population; and $3 million for the renovation of the JFCS Holocaust Center in San Francisco.

The work of many partners made it possible to obtain these funds, according to the Federation.

“From the perspective of the Federation, the idea that we could convene this broader coalition indicates where we want to go in the community – that we are having an impact not only in the Jewish community, but among the broader and more diverse citizens of the state,” Zaiden said. . “It was the first time we could do that in a meaningful way.”


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