Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ramah and Inclusion

An important postscript.

Recently, I Facebooked and blogged about an incident at Camp Ramah in Canada, which had gotten a lot of attention through Social Media. After a somewhat officious response (which I can't find), Rabbi Michael Cohen, the National Director of Ramah, has come out with a much fuller, more heartfelt response.

Although they are still unable to respond to the specifics of this case*, he offers a much fuller explanation of Ramah's commitment to inclusion. And, very importantly, he speaks about the need to avoid rushes to judgment, especially when they are based on 1-sided reports.

* the reality of all such institutions is that privacy laws, and Jewish law, prevent them from doing so. We usually can't talk other perspectives, nuances or valid defenses, because they're rely on those specifics. That often makes our instituions looks bad, like we're being purposefully obtuse, which is often unfair. Another important point to remember whenever we read about a grievance against an institution!

I tried, in my own responses, to be as balanced and non-histrionic as possible. But, I know that I wasn't perfect, and many others certainly rushed in to draw lines between the "good guys" and the "bad guys." We all should remember, as Rabbi Cohen reminds us, that we are commanded to judge others with the benefit of the doubt.

The reality is that, in most of our lives, there are few true villains. Thank God, most people are trying to do the right thing. If we'd remember that, I think that our discussions, to say nothing of our interactions, would be far, far better. And, dare I said, holier.

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