Recently, my eldest son Omer, who lives in New York, called me. He told me with excitement that he had registered his daughter Ariel, my eldest grandchild, for Ramah Day Camp in Nyack for the coming summer. After I put the phone down, my mind drifted back to the summer of ’81, when I had […]
I vividly remember my first summer as a Rosh Edah and the initial nightmare of nikuy shtachim. The typical pick-up-garbage routine wasn’t working for our edah, so I decided to change it up a bit, modeling it off of something one of my former counselors used to do.
The thread between my summers at camp, as I saw it, was not my college experience, per-se, but rather my experiences in Israel. I found that my time spent in Israel after high school supplemented my time at camp, and vice-versa.
I was sixteen when I first attended a Ramah camp. It was an eye-opening experience for me. It was the beginning of more than twenty summers in which I thrived at four Ramah camps, not to mention an occasional Shabbat at Nyack as a Jewish Theological Seminary ( JTS) student.
I am a Pittsburgher, a Brandeisian, and a Ramahnik. As a Pittsburgher, I was privileged to attend a Jewish day school and was an active member of Pittsburgh’s vibrant Jewish community.
I have no doubt that Judaism is the basis for both my personal and professional life and the motivating force of my soul. As a child brought up in the Diaspora, I am indebted to my parents for choosing to educate me at Jewish schools and to send me to Camp Ramah in Canada
I started my twenty-five years at Ramah in the summer of 1951 as a junior counselor at Ramah in the Poconos. My senior counselor was Yochanan Muffs, z”l. On the other side of the bunk, the senior counselor was Samuel Schafler, z”l, later to become president of Hebrew College.
Ramah strongly influenced my career choice and career growth. The musicals we did every summer at Ramah were huge building blocks for my career onstage. I started in Arazim when I began attending Ramah at the age of eleven.
My friends’ stories about life at summer camps with Indian-sounding names hardly prepared me for my first summer at Ramah in the Berkshires. I had expected that like my friends from home, I, too, would learn survival skills and improve my performance on the ball field.
I want to share this story because Ramah Canada is one of my most favorite places in the world, and my experience there was life changing and one of the highlights of growing up.