Berkshires Labor Day Weekend Retreat 1991: I, Laurel, had Ramahnik friends who encouraged me to apply to attend the retreat even though I never officially was a camper. Since there were open spaces and I had good references, Danny Perla, who was organizing the weekend, allowed me to come along with my friends. I had been a camper and had worked in Jewish camps in California and had attended several weekend Shabbaton events at Ramah California during college and at Ramah Berkshires during grad school and after (through Michael Brockstein’s chaverah at Ansche Chesed).
What I didn’t realize was that Danny Perla called Alan after speaking to me on the phone, saying something like, “Have I met a girl for you!!! You better be at camp on Labor Day.” All weekend long, I was chasing Danny, who seemed quite nice and then Danny introduced me to Alan who seemed to be following us around.
Somehow, I ended up in a canoe on the lake, alone with Alan… going in circles for hours, sharing our stories and I lost all interest in Danny, who seemed quite smitten with several other girls anyway. Alan just seemed to keep showing up…repeatedly asking to be my square dance partner, ping-pong opponent, and he held my flashlight while I did some song leading with my guitar at the campfire.
Our first kiss was under the gazebo, by moonlight, on our last night. We exchanged numbers before returning to the city and the rest…is history!! We were honored to have Danny Perla serve as a witness on our ketubah, as he was really our matchmaker.
We just had our 16th anniversary and this summer, 3 of our 4 kids are attending Camp Ramah for 8 weeks.