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.
Camp Ramah made me the Orthodox rabbi I am today. I was a weak student at my local Orthodox day school in Chicago in the early 1960s and an even worse athlete.
I grew up on Long Island in a relatively assimilated home. My parents went to the local Conservative synagogue three days a year. Our home was not kosher, yet my mother lit Shabbat candles each Friday night, often after getting home late from the family paint store.
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.
My first contact with Camp Ramah was in a January 1954 phone call from Rabbi Herman Kieval, z”l, to my mother indicating that he had some scholarship money ($50) in our Pittsburgh synagogue to help send me to Camp Ramah, a relatively new summer camp in northern Wisconsin, where I could keep kashrut, daven every […]
I raised four children in Mobile, a small southern town, and luckily they all married Jews. But with the intermarriage rate at over 50%, I was concerned for my eight grandchildren and Jewish children all over America.
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.
Ramah has had an important place in my life and the life of my family for fifty-seven years; almost as long as it has existed. My first summer at Ramah was as a co-counselor of the oldest girls cabin at Ramah Wisconsin in 1950.
Ramah didn’t just “change my life” in the colloquial sense. It really changed my life in virtually every sense and every way.