Build an environmentally sustainable sacred Jewish space that will be available year-round for retreats and events, as well as a summer camp focused on leadership and the arts.
Several weeks ago, the sacred space many of us know and love as Camp Swig – from the majestic redwoods to har solel, from the dining hall to kibbutz and the Jo Naymark Holocaust Memorial – was put on the market, available for sale to the highest bidder.
Camp Swig, as we know it, is at en end.
In response, a dedicated group of Jewish professionals and lay leaders around the Bay Area have come together to raise money to purchase the Swig site to make our new Jewish dream a reality. We will rename the site “HaMakom” – literally translated as “The Place”, and one of the biblical names for the sacred presence of God – and on it we will build an environmentally sustainable sacred Jewish space that will be available year-round to synagogues, Jewish agencies, and other organizations for retreats and events, as well as a summer camp focused on leadership and the arts. As Northern California’s premiere Jewish retreat and event center, HaMakom will not only serve as home to state-of-the-art facilities centered around the Holocaust Memorial, but it will create an easily-accessible Bay Area destination for Jews of all denominations who seek a place for study, reflection, and renewal through a series of visionary Jewish programming.
The architects have already created the plans for the site, and they are beautiful. Together we will create a new center for Jewish community and learning in the sacred space formerly known as Camp Swig.
We are in the process of raising the money needed to purchase the Swig site from the URJ. Unfortunately, time is now of the essence: on October 2nd, a number of non-Jewish organizations, including several Christian summer camps, will be touring the site. It will not be long before their offers come in. If we are not successful in raising the necessary funds immediately, we will be too late.
We estimate that we can acquire the property for $5 million. We have already obtained firm pledges for $1 million, and we have been working tirelessly through the High Holy Day season to find a small group of committed Jews with the ability to donate the remaining $4 million.
If it is not within your means to consider such a pledge, don’t worry – once we have purchased the site, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to participate in the establishment and maintenance of HaMakom, each according to their ability. But for now, it is crucial that we locate the givers necessary to purchase the site, and ensure that our dream of HaMakom has the chance to come true.
If you are someone with the means to make our dream a reality, please consider stepping forward to be a part of Jewish history in the Bay Area. Just contact us through our website, www.hamakomtheplace.com.
If you don’t have the means to make a major donation to this effort, maybe you know someone who does. Please send them this letter, and direct them to our website, www.hamakomtheplace.com. We are happy to arrange tours of the Swig property, and to answer any questions potential donors may have.
For many of us, our experiences at Camp Swig have enriched our lives, and helped us to become committed Jewish adults. We now have a unique opportunity to establish a new Place, a sacred Place – a Place where all Bay Area Jews can come to study, reflect, and renew their commitment to themselves and their community.
Let’s not let that opportunity slip away.
Please send information about this cause to everyone you know!
Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan
…and the other members of the HaMakom steering committee
1. The Camp Swig site should remain in Jewish hands.