The 67th summer season for Ramah camps and Israel programs starts today with the opening of Camp Ramah Darom in Georgia. Over the next two weeks, all of our eight overnight camps, four day camps, and our Israel Seminar will begin, and more than 9,500 campers and staff will participate, our largest number ever!
Within our camps, more than 1,500 university and graduate students will work as counselors, teachers, and specialists, along with an additional 200 professionals -- rabbis, cantors, social workers, psychologists, doctors, nurses, Jewish educators, coaches, and others.
More than 500 young adult staff members participated in National Ramah training and leadership development programs this winter and spring in preparation for the 2013 camp season (see below). These programs included the Weinstein Institute; the Winer Institute for Rosh Edah training; training for mishlachat (Israeli staff members) at Kibbutz Shefayim; the Daber Hebrew Language Initiative, funded by The AVI CHAI Foundation; training for staff from all Ramah programs for campers with special needs in a conference funded by the Neshamot Fund of UJA-Federation of New York; and a seminar for Ramah Service Corps interns funded in part by the Foundation for Jewish Camp. In addition, staff members from Ramah and URJ camps participated in the second year of KIVUN Training for Camp Specialists.
More than 330 campers will participate in the fourth season of Ramah Outdoor Adventure, Ramah's first specialty camp, located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. This is approximately triple the number of campers that participated in the 2010 inaugural season.
With the help of many Federations, foundations, and the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and with the extraordinary efforts of our camp professional leadership and boards of directors, Ramah has been able to meet the financial needs of the overwhelming majority of families seeking a Ramah experience for their children. It is not too late to support this effort. Please click here to contribute to a Ramah scholarship fund.
As we begin our 67th summer of intensive Jewish education within the fun, informal atmosphere of excellent summer camping, all of us at Ramah feel privileged to have this opportunity to contribute to the powerful, inspirational experiences that influence the lives of more than 9,500 participants in our various camps and programs.
We are thrilled that Ramah camping is strong and growing, and we look forward to continued growth in the coming years so that even more young people can experience the magic of Ramah.
Wishing everyone a safe, enjoyable and meaningful summer,
Rabbi Mitchell Cohen Director, National Ramah Commission of The Jewish Theological Seminary
First-Ever Music Video from Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (TRY)
TRY Lecha Dodi
Did you know that Ramah runs an amazing, life-changing semester in Israel for 10th, 11th, and 12th graders from all over North America? We combine high-level academics and college prep with the most inspiring experience of living and learning in Jerusalem for four months.
Click here or on the image above to watch the first-ever TRY music video, TRY Lecha Dodi, produced and performed by TRY 2013 students. Watch the TRY students at home in Jerusalem at the Goldstein Youth Village (the Chava), having fun, singing, dancing, and hanging out.
$0.5M in New Funding for Ramah Network of Programs for Campers with Disabilities
As our camps prepare to open for the 2013 season, we are thrilled to report that the National Ramah network of special needs programs will benefit from more than $0.5 million in new funding from both individual and organizational philanthropists. Through Tikvah programs, Breira B'Ramah, and Camp Yofi, all of the Ramah overnight camps in North America offer programs for children, teens, and young adults with disabilities (read more).
From Eilat to Palmer: An Inspiring Ramah Spring
by Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, National Ramah Director
...In mid-April, I spent Shabbat at the 2013 Mishlachat Training Seminar at Kibbutz Shefayim, near Tel Aviv, where 160 Israeli mishlachat members were together for five days, preparing for their first summer at our camps....[As] our camps begin their 2013 summer seasons, I am confident that the inspiration from recent weeks is only the beginning of another incredible Ramah summer for over 9,500 campers and staff (read more).
Ramah California Mishlachat at Kibbutz Shefayim
Ramah Israel Bike Ride & Hiking Trip Raises Over $380,000 for Ramah Special Needs Programs
Ramah Israel Bike Ride and Hiking Trip 2013
The 2013 Ramah Israel Bike Ride and Hiking Trip raised over $380,000 from more than 2,800 donors! The net proceeds will be used to support each Ramah camp's programs, as well as to support staff training programs for the National Ramah Special Needs Network, National Ramah efforts to market and promote all our programs for special needs, accommodating more teens with disabilities in our Israel programs, and the seeding of new programs (read more).
Ramah is the camping arm of Conservative Judaism. Together, our programs provide Ramah experiences for over 9,500 children, teens, and young adults annually. The National Ramah Commission of The Jewish Theological Seminary provides oversight, educational planning, and coordination on behalf of the network of Ramah camps throughout North America and Ramah programs in Israel. For more information please visit www.campramah.org.
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…