Aug 31, 2009

The Ramah Post-Camp Season: Hosting Programs of Innovation and Inspiration

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The Ramah Post-Camp Season:
Hosting Programs of Innovation and Inspiration
August 2009
Elul 5769
Dear Friends of Ramah,
As more than 9,000 Ramah campers and staff said their tearful goodbyes after another fantastic summer of growth and friendship, one might think that our Ramah campsites go into hibernation until next summer's opening day. This couldn't be farther from reality! During the weeks between mid-August and Labor Day, Ramah camps host nearly 2,000 individuals in a wide array of innovative programs. Ramah is proud to be the central regional campus for so many of our Conservative Movement's organizations as well as an ongoing center of inspirational activity even after our campers and staff return home.
Kol tuv, 
Mitch Cohen 
Rabbi Mitch Cohen, National Ramah Director 
The Ramah Post-Camp Season
:: Family Camps for Families with Children with Special Needs
:: Garin Ramah at the Ramah in the Rockies Ranch
:: Hillel Conferences
:: United Synagogue Youth (USY) Encampment Programs
:: Family Camps
:: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) Conference
:: Ramah Alumni Programs
:: Solomon Schechter School and Hebrew School Retreats
:: Conference Centers and Pesach Retreats
:: Links to Ramah Camps and Israel Programs
:: Donate to Ramah
Family Camps for Families with Children with Special Needs

Ramah Darom, Camp Ramah in the Poconos, and Camp Ramah in California all run family camps for families with children with special needs: Camp Yofi (Darom), Ohr Lanu (California), and Tikvah Family Camp (Poconos).

"In so many ways, this was a celebration like any other synagogue celebration. There was the passing of the Torah, aliyot, blessings, the presenting of certificates and gift prayer books. Parents and friends smiled as they watched their children take the Torah and make it their own. There were 'Mazal Tovs' and 'Yasher Koachs' and abundant joy. And yet, nothing could be less ordinary or more special than this group of bar and bat mitzvah boys and girls and their families. This is Thursday morning at Camp Yofi: Family Camp for Jewish Families with Children with Autism and for many of these families, this ceremony marks something that some thought was impossible: public celebration of the life of a child with autism in the Jewish community.

- Rabbi Loren Sykes, Director of
Camp Ramah in Wisconsin
and Founding Director of
Camp Ramah Darom and
Camp Yofi at Ramah Darom

Camp Yofi
A family at Ramah Darom's Camp Yofi 


"Tikvah Family Camp at Camp Ramah in the Poconos has given our family the opportunity to experience Judaism and camp in a truly special environment. Our children have thrived in the activities with their peers and when we are together as a family. For us as parents, the Tikvah Family Camp has allowed us to rejuvenate our relationship with each other, connect with other parents in similar situations to us, and help us realize that we can find meaningful Jewish  experiences for our kids."

- Todd Garber, Allentown, PA

Garin Ramah at the
Ramah in the Rockies Ranch

In an effort to engage volunteers in the actual work of physically developing the new Ramah in the Rockies ranch, fifteen teens and adults from Denver, Dallas, and Houston participated in Garin Ramah as part of the August 2009 family camp program, dismantling six unusable tent platforms, clearing four overgrown trails around camp, and cleaning out buildings to prepare them for use as program space.

Garin Ramah
Garin Ramah participants

Hillel Conferences 

Earlier this month, Ramah Darom hosted Hillel's New Professionals Institute and New Directors Institute, the professional development programs at which all new Hillel professionals are trained. Darom also hosted Hillel's Engagement Institute, a program for student interns who work for Hillel to engage their peers in Jewish life. Internship cohorts include the Campus Entrepreneurs, Peer Network Interns, and MASA Fellows. More than 500 Hillel leaders from college campuses throughout North America attended these programs.

Ramah Darom
Ramah Darom

United Synagogue Youth (USY) Encampment Programs

Ramah camps in the Berkshires, New England, Poconos, and Wisconsin are proud to host more than 1,000 USY'ers at regional USY encampments for our Conservative Movement partners this summer. Camp Ramah in California will run a four-day USY regional leadership encampment in November.

Family Camps 

Rockies Family Camp
Children at Ramah Rockies family camp

This summer, Ramah Darom ran its annual five-day family camp for twenty-four families, and Ramah in the Rockies piloted a family camp for seventy children, parents, and staff who came to our newest Ramah site in Colorado to experience the breathtaking beauty and magnificent natural setting of the Rocky Mountains.

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) Conference 

Camp Ramah in Wisconsin hosted a Midwest Region USCJ board retreat, with visiting speakers Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rabbi Paul Drazen, and Rich Moline of KOACH on campus.

Ramah Alumni Programs

Ramah camps annually host alumni events. This summer, at Camp Ramah in New England, twenty-seven alumni from Nivonim 1999 celebrate their ten-year reunion at camp. Twenty-five Camp Ramah in Wisconsin alumni who were campers in the 1940's and 1950's reunite at camp. For four days over Labor Day weekend, more than 250 alumni and their families of all ages from Camp Ramah in the Berkshires enjoy camp life and reunions with friends. And earlier this summer, Camp Ramah in the Poconos hosted a reunion for ten camp alumnae from the 1950's. (Read more about this special reunion.)

Ramah Poconos Alumnae
 1950's alumnae reunite at Camp Ramah in the Poconos (Photo by Monica Schipper)

Solomon Schechter School and Hebrew School Retreats 

Camp Ramah in the Berkshires is hosting the annual retreats for the Solomon Schechter High Schools of Long Island (full school) and Westchester (9th grade). Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, New York is hosting retreats for groups from B'nai Jeshurun (New York City) and Midway Jewish Center (Syosset, NY) as well as a Shabbaton for Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC). Camp Ramah in California is hosting a retreat for the Conservative Movement's Los Angeles Hebrew High School.

Conference Centers
and Pesach Retreats 

Year-round, Ramah Darom's Tumbling Waters Retreat and Conference Center and the Max and Pauline Zimmer Conference Center at Camp Ramah in California host special events, meetings, and conferences for a wide variety of groups. In addition, both camps run annual Pesach retreats; for more information, click on these links for California and Darom.

Zimmer Conference Center
Cottage at the Zimmer Conference Center

Links to Ramah Camps and
Israel Programs
Click here to access links to the websites for Ramah overnight camps, day camps, and Ramah Programs in Israel.


Donate Now

Click here to donate to the
National Ramah Commission
or to any of the
Ramah Camps & Israel Programs

National Ramah Commission | 3080 Broadway | New York | NY | 10027

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

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