Rabbi Elliot Dorff, is Rector and Anne and Sol Dorff Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the American Jewish University, Visiting Professor at UCLA School of Law, and Chair of the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. Author of over 200 articles and 12 books on Jewish thought, law, and ethics, and editor of […]
“How many times have we been told no matter where you go in the world you’ll find a Ramah connection? All the time! My husband and I are Ramah Poconos alumni. Our kids were staff kids and then became campers. Our older two children have worked at camp for several years. Our youngest is currently […]
“At Ramah Poconos, the distinct sound that shifted us away from the week, was the crunch of gravel in the Beit Knesset at Kabbalat Shabbat. That noise, underneath the feet of campers, counselors, and visitors all come together for a celebration of Shabbat, always brought me calm, and still brings me the feeling of community.” […]
“My personal journey began in 1950 when my parents saw fit to enroll me at Camp Ramah in the Poconos as a 9 year old. Camp Ramah was new and was considered an experiment in living a Jewish life while in a camp where we would be not only learning Hebrew, but as well learning […]
When my oldest son, Billy, was six months old, my husband, Adam, and I brought him to Ramah Poconos on visiting day. I was thrilled! I started camp when I was 12 and was fortunate to go for 11 memorable summers including Ramah Seminar, and four summers as a counselor. It was great to be […]
At the age of 14, following my fifth summer at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, I made a life-changing decision: one day I would make aliyah and become a Masorti (Conservative) rabbi. Ramah modeled for me what a model Jewish community looked like, and I wanted to not only find that community in Israel, I […]
It was Friday night, June 29, 1956 — the first Shabbat of the first full summer of Camp Ramah in California. One hundred and fifty of us, probably dressed in white, sat nervously on benches in Kikkar Tziyyon, as that area of camp had been named, waiting for the kabbalat shabbat service to begin.
I grew up in a small Jewish community, and for the first time I was exposed to the religiosity of Ramah, which had a huge impact on my life. Our counselors spoke mostly Hebrew to us, and it was great. I learned so much from this experience, which sustained me throughout my life.
A camper at Ramah Berkshires (1966–1971), a counselor at Berkshires and Poconos (1973–1976), and then a yo’etz and educator at New England (1993–2000), my memories of Ramah span three phases of my life: childhood, young adulthood, and fatherhood.
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.