[Hpn] My friends at Camp Paradise: Letter from Rabbi Chayim Levin

Becky Johnson wmnofstl@cruzio.com
Wed, 27 Jun 2001 09:59:05 -0000


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Forward from Rabbi Chayim Levin:

Dear Members of the Santa Cruz City Council,

Unfortunately I wasn't able to share my feelings with you concerning the =
folks at Camp Paradise at Tuesday's council meeting.  I understand the =
rules of the Council are designed so that certain people should not be =
allowed to monopolize the public comment period.  I am truly not a media =
hound. I don't run after the television cameras or members of the press. =
 None-the-less, Jewish law requires that one must do whatever they can =
to save a human life. =20

I have become very, very familiar with the folks down at Camp Paradise.  =
I spend hours every day with them.  As you know, I am not a political =
activist.  And I don't intend to use these people (or any people) for a =
political movement.  I have prayed with them.  Laughed and cried with =
them.  And more than once have broken bread with these wonderful people. =
 I have come to know Larry Templeton not as Rabbi with a congregant or a =
counselor giving out advice, but as a loving and dear friend.  I would =
hope that all of us could have that type of relationship with each =
other.  Certainly our lives would be better for it.

Its a strange predicament we are all in.  I also don't want to see =
people sleeping out in the woods. This is not the lifestyle I was taught =
by my parents, or that I teach to my children.  We are all between a =
rock and a hard place.  But what can we do with these people?  If back =
on the street, I see their lives reverting back to a self-destructive =
mode of drugs and alcohol.  This is not a political question.  This is a =
question of love and kindness.  I urge you, before making any final =
decision, to put yourselves in their shoes and ask yourselves "What =
would I do under this situation?" knowing that every door has been shut =
and slammed in your face.

The shelters are filled. The armory is closed.  What are we going to do =
with these people? Where are we going to send them?  This is not the =
first time a homeless camp has come together in the woods.  Dispersing =
Larry and the people of Camp Paradise will only drive them out of sight. =
 But my heart has been touched by Camp Paradise.  It they are dispersed, =
there will always be a place in my heart for them.=20

If I can be of any help, Jewish law requires me to step forward.


Sincerely yours,

Rabbi Chayim Levin

levinchayim@hotmail.com=20
or 429-8529


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<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>Forward from Rabbi Chayim =
Levin:</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>Dear Members of the Santa Cruz City=20
Council,</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>Unfortunately I wasn't able to share =
my feelings=20
with you concerning the folks at Camp Paradise at Tuesday's council=20
meeting.&nbsp; I understand the rules of the Council are designed so =
that=20
certain people should not be allowed to monopolize the public comment=20
period.&nbsp; I am truly not a media hound. I don't run after the =
television=20
cameras or members of the press.&nbsp; None-the-less, Jewish law =
requires that=20
one must do whatever they can to save a human life.&nbsp; </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>I have become very, very familiar =
with the folks=20
down at Camp Paradise.&nbsp; I spend hours every day with them.&nbsp; As =
you=20
know, I am not a political activist.&nbsp; And I don't intend to use =
these=20
people (or any people) for a political movement.&nbsp; I have prayed =
with=20
them.&nbsp; Laughed and cried with them.&nbsp; And more than once have =
broken=20
bread with these wonderful people.&nbsp; I have come to know Larry =
Templeton not=20
as Rabbi with a congregant or a counselor giving out advice, but as a =
loving and=20
dear friend.&nbsp; I would hope that all of us could have that type of=20
relationship with each other.&nbsp; Certainly our lives would be better =
for=20
it.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>Its a strange predicament we are all =
in.&nbsp; I=20
also don't want to see people sleeping out in the woods. This is not the =

lifestyle I was taught by my parents, or that I teach to my =
children.&nbsp; We=20
are all between a rock and a hard place.&nbsp; But what can we do with =
these=20
people?&nbsp; If back on the street, I see their lives reverting back to =
a=20
self-destructive mode of drugs and alcohol.&nbsp; This is not a =
political=20
question.&nbsp; This is a question of love and kindness.&nbsp; I urge =
you,=20
before making any final decision, to put yourselves in their shoes and =
ask=20
yourselves &quot;What would I do under this situation?&quot; knowing =
that every=20
door has been shut and slammed in your face.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>The shelters are filled. The armory =
is=20
closed.&nbsp; What are we going to do with these people? Where are we =
going to=20
send them?&nbsp; This is not the first time a homeless camp has come =
together in=20
the woods.&nbsp; Dispersing Larry and the people of Camp Paradise will =
only=20
drive them out of sight.&nbsp; But my heart has been touched by Camp=20
Paradise.&nbsp; It they are dispersed, there will always be a place in =
my heart=20
for them. </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>If I can be of any help, Jewish law =
requires me=20
to step forward.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>Sincerely yours,</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>Rabbi Chayim Levin</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"mailto:levinchayim@hotmail.com">levinchayim@hotmail.com</A> =
</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2>or 429-8529</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=3D#000000 size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV></BODY></HTML>

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