November 21, 2015
Dear Alonim Family:
Shavua Tov! We hope you had a restful Shabbat.
As many of you may know, KNBC broadcast another story about Brandeis-Bardin on November 19. This latest story from KNBC continues to create gross misperceptions about the Brandeis-Bardin property and more than two decades of environmental test results that affirm the property is safe. We supplied KNBC with test results conducted once American Jewish University acquired the property in 2007, and also directed KNBC to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) website, where results are available from government-commissioned environmental tests dating back years. Unfortunately, KNBC paid little heed to this overwhelming data.
As we have emphasized repeatedly, we take our stewardship of the Brandeis-Bardin property extremely seriously and will continue to work diligently to make sure the site is safe for every person who visits. Accordingly, we would like to call your attention to the following facts about the safety of Brandeis-Bardin:
- Extensive testing and analysis of our property has taken place over the past 24 years by government and private entities, including the DTSC, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Department of Health, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and AJU. This testing has consistently found the property to be safe - and nothing presented in KNBC's broadcasts leads to a contrary conclusion.
- Earlier this month, the DTSC confirmed the safety of the Brandeis site at a public workshop. And as recently as October 15, 2015, the DTSC wrote: "Based on available data, there is no evidence of contamination from SSFL [the Santa Susana Field Laboratory] that poses an off-site threat to human health or the environment." This is very clear-no threat to human health or the environment extending beyond SSFL. This statement can only be understood to refer to the entire 2,700-acre Brandeis-Bardin property.
- In 1995, the EPA determined there were low levels of contamination in remote areas of what was then Brandeis-Bardin property, but declared: "...the theoretical cancer probability or risk to campers and camp counselors is less than the EPA's threshold level for action of 1 in 1,000,000." [emphasis added] This property was later sold to the Rocketdyne company and is no longer part of Brandeis-Bardin.
- References in the KNBC broadcast to events in 1957 indicate that the founder of Brandeis, Dr. Shlomo Bardin, had concerns about possible contamination on the property. After seeking help from law enforcement and entering into direct discussions and negotiations with Rocketdyne, then the owner of SSFL, Dr. Bardin straightforwardly resolved those concerns. Today, nearly 60 years later, federal and state government agencies have dedicated teams studying SSFL and ensuring that contamination does not migrate off site.
- Voluminous data is publicly available from the EPA, DTSC and Boeing, SSFL's current owner. For ease of viewing, AJU is assembling a complete inventory of the thousands of pages of documents for our community to review. These reports fall into four categories: 1) independent testing and analysis commissioned by Brandeis Bardin/AJU in order to evaluate the status of the property; 2) testing and analysis by the EPA; 3) testing and analysis for the Santa Susana Field Laboratory and surrounding areas by Boeing, the Department of Energy, NASA, and many other agencies - all under the ongoing supervision and review by the DTSC to ensure health and safety standards; and 4) additional testing and data review by Brandeis Bardin/AJU to validate the accuracy of data and conclusions posted by the regulatory agencies. KNBC has had access to these voluminous reports, which consistently find Brandeis-Bardin to be safe.
- We are looking forward to a successful and well-attended 2015 Camp Alonim Winter Camp, and our pre-enrollment for summer camp is strong. We are also looking forward to our full calendar of rental events on the Brandeis-Bardin campus between now and mid-June of next year.
- We reaffirm our commitment to the Brandeis-Bardin/Camp Alonim community to conduct additional, comprehensive testing in addition to our normally scheduled test regimen.
In summary, there is a 24-year record of environmental testing of the Brandeis-Bardin property by a variety of government agencies and private experts. These tests demonstrate the safety of the property for all who visit. AJU will remain vigilant to continue evaluating the site to ensure the safety of our campers, staff and other visitors for generations to come.
Again, please feel free to direct any questions you might have to Rabbi Jay Strear, 310-440-1204 or Joanna Gerber, 310-440-1529. If you prefer to e-mail us, please e-mail Josh Levine at firstname.lastname@example.org, and depending on the nature of your question or comment, Josh will make sure your e-mail gets to the right place.
We will continue to keep in touch.