Contact: Lauren Theodore at 212-650-4154
January 11, 2017, New York, NY – The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) announces the establishment of a second URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, with support from a generous grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp and the Jim Joseph and AVI CHAI Foundations. This exciting new camp will be the URJ’s 18th camp across North America offering young people immersive Jewish experiences within premier camping environments.
URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy West will open in the summer of 2018 on the West Coast and welcome several hundred campers annually in grades 5-11.
URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy West is the URJ’s second science and technology specialty camp, building on the extraordinary foundation of success of 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy in the Boston, Massachusetts science and technology corridor, which was the first-ever Reform Jewish sci-tech specialty camp. Open for three summers and now serving over 600 campers, URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy was the first of its kind, offering a seamless weaving of scientific rigor with Jewish practice/Jewish values. Responding to growing interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy serves as an on-ramp into Jewish camping for unaffiliated and currently unengaged Jewish families who have not been attracted to the classic Jewish summer camp model.
Jordanna Flores will serve as the Director of URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy West. With significant experience in formal and experiential Jewish education, Flores is a graduate of the Joint Jewish Education and Jewish Nonprofit Management Master’s Program of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She previously served as the Assistant Director of HUC-JIR's School of Education on the Los Angeles Campus.
“Our ambitious goals of opening a camp a year are being realized as a result of the URJ’s effective Campaign for Youth Engagement, which has grown annually for nine consecutive years,” said URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. “I have witnessed the breathtaking moments when our campers experience how naturally their passion for science and technology blends with their love of Judaism. There is no better word than “explosive” to describe the sparks that URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy ignites for the future of the Jewish people.”
“There has never been more vibrancy in the Reform Movement camping system, which engaged 13,000+ kids and young adults from 660 congregations this summer alone,” said URJ Vice President of Youth Miriam Chilton. “We are integrating, expanding, and deepening all our youth programs, providing more gateways into Jewish life than ever, including service learning, leadership, deep learning, social justice, arts, sports, technology, and more. With this continued expansion of the 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy model—now with locations on both coasts—the URJ continues to lead the way.”
“The tradition of sci-tech innovation is just as much our Jewish heritage as Shabbat candles, the Hebrew language, and Rabbinic texts. The URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy combines campers’ love of all things science and technology with a vibrant celebration of Judaism, and we will be proud to offer families throughout the Jewish communities in western North America the new camp’s extraordinary opportunities,” said Flores.
“Throughout her career, Jordanna has sought out and seized opportunities across the field of Jewish education to make Judaism more vibrant and accessible. She is the ideal leader to bring URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy West to life,” said URJ Director of Camping and Israel Programs Paul J. Reichenbach.
Flores has worked as the Interim Director of the Zimmer Children’s Museum, and the Program Director for The Brandeis-Bardin Institute where she coordinated extended learning opportunities with leading Jewish scholars. As the Director of Camp Alonim at The American Jewish University where she spent her childhood summers, Flores increased enrollment, introduced new activities and Alonim’s first dedicated fundraising events. As the Director of the Melton School for Adult Jewish Learning in Los Angeles, she managed the governing consortium of synagogues, day schools and The Jewish Federation which crossed traditional denominational and community lines.
The Reform Movement’s six specialty camps exemplify the strategy of the URJ’s Campaign for Youth Engagement to offer diversified experiences that connect and inspire more young people to embrace Jewish life as a path to meaning, purpose, and joy. The six camps are URJ 6 Points Sports Academy in North Carolina and California, URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy in Massachusetts and California, URJ 6 Points Creative Arts Academy in the Mid-Atlantic States, and URJ Kutz Camp Teen Leadership Academy.
About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay relevant and innovative, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.
Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the largest and most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with nearly 900 member congregations and work that inspires, connects, and educates millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.
Visit us at www.URJ.org to learn about our social justice initiatives, camps and programs for young Jews, services for congregations and communities, and how you can work with us to create a more just, whole, and compassionate world. Enjoy related content at ReformJudaism.org and connect with URJ on Twitter and Facebook.