Havaya Arts is a joyful, welcoming, and progressive Jewish community where campers grow as intentional artists and amazing human beings.
Our campers come from all kinds of backgrounds—and each has a different story to tell. We have interfaith families; campers and staff of all sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as those from LGBTQ families; people of color; individuals with special needs; and families from all socio-economic situations. Learn more about our commitment to diversity – or contact us to share your story.
In all we do, we’re guided and inspired by five core values:
Wonder and Curiosity – סַקרָנוּת
Wonder and curiosity drive our journey and encourage us to take risks. They are essential components in the creation of our art and the development of our identity as artists, Jews, and citizens of the world.
Presence and Intentionality – הִנְנִי
To be present is to listen deeply to ourselves and those around us. Listening is more than hearing – it is an active stance we take towards the world that leads to deep meaning and authenticity.
Engagement with the Other – קְהִילָה
Art is both what we feel when we create it and what others feel when they experience it. Every person is unique and has something to teach us, and we all make valuable contributions to the larger community. Recognition of this truth creates space for each of the unique souls among us to be welcomed and celebrated.
Embracing the Unknown – עָלוּם
Jewish tradition teaches that the world was born out of an unknowable abyss and from that unknown came all of creation. When we embrace the unknown, what we are able to create — in our art and in our lives — is limitless.
Process as Product – תַהֲלִיך
The process of creating art is a way in which we learn about ourselves and reveal ourselves to others. By taking part in the creative process, we are doing work that makes the world a better place.
A group of committed lay leaders and supporters gathered together in Southern California to consider ways to grow the Reconstructionist movement on the West Coast.
Without question, the energy in the room focused on the creation and development of a summer camp program. Their excitement and passion for the endeavor was akin to the energy that led to the establishment of Camp Havaya (formerly known as Camp JRF) in 2002. In the 18 years since that group of leaders first imagined the possibilities of a new camp, Camp Havaya has become known as one of the premier non-profit Jewish overnight camps.
Camp Havaya values all campers for who they are and inspires them to become the best version of themselves. In this incredibly welcoming and dynamic community, Jewish youth are encouraged to explore and celebrate their diverse perspectives and shared values. This passion for inclusion is core to Camp Havaya’s mission and vision for the future, and the camp is rightly recognized as a leader in this work.
Continuing our history of innovation, and that of the Reconstructionist movement, Havaya Arts will be the first camp of its kind in North America. Through the Foundation for Jewish Camp Specialty Camps Incubator, with the support of the Jim Joseph Foundation and AVI CHAI Foundation, we are proud to bring our creative and engaging programs to more campers and families from across the Jewish community.
We create an environment that embraces diverse experiences and beliefs while remaining distinctly—and strongly—Jewish.
Here, vibrant Jewish communal life enhances our art, which in turn enhances Jewish life and identity. Throughout the week, we have a variety of opportunities (including prayer, meditation, and yoga) for connecting to something bigger than ourselves. And, together, we craft a unique Shabbat experience that is the perfect end to a week full of creation. Throughout all of this, our campers approach Jewish life on their own terms and, because it’s personal, the connection you make to Judaism is lasting.
As a Reconstructionist community open to all, we encourage each camper to explore our traditions and today’s world to discover what being Jewish means to you – and we believe art is an incredible vehicle through which you can do this searching and self-discovery.
Join Our Community
Havaya Arts is a truly extraordinary place—you will feel part of something bigger than yourself, and you’ll want to experience that magic year after year.