Camp Ramah in the Poconos, 1950: I was twelve and had received a scholar- ship from my synagogue so I could attend camp that summer. I think I was the only girl in my bunk who was not the daughter of a rabbi, a cantor, or some other Jewish professional.
Ramah and United Synagogue Youth (USY) have both played incredibly important roles in shaping my Jewish identity, fostering the development of lifelong friendships, and influencing the core values I cherish as a professional in the Jewish community.
Following camp we left for Israel for Michael’s fourth year of rabbinical school. It was just after the Six-Day War and an amazing time to be living in Jerusalem. We stayed the next summer to be counselors on Ramah Seminar.
Robert Alter, Robert Chazan, Ray Arzt, David Mogilner, z”l, Walter Ackerman, z”l, Gloria (Sussman) Silverman, z”l, Zalman Schachter Shalomi, Zvi Dershowitz, Saul Wachs, Shmuel Leiter, z”l, Gladys Gewirtz, Shalom Schwartz, David Lieber, z”l, Lee Levine, Nat Entin, z”l, Uri Simon — these are some of the people who were my counselors, teachers, camp directors, and […]
When I was twelve years old, my parents sent me to Ramah Berkshires — that was 1964. I returned every summer, went on Israel Seminar in 1968, and later was a staff member for around ten summers: junior counselor and Hebrew teacher at Ramah Canada, doctor at Ramah Poconos, and then at Berkshires.
I grew up in a typical “second-generation” Jewish home in Milwaukee. The vast majority of my contemporaries dropped out of Jewish education after their bar or bat mitzvah, and they generally remember the experience of religious school as meaningless and boring.
What flashes in my mind when considering the impact of Camp Ramah on my life is that I became a Jewish educator because a significant teacher told me (and persuaded me): “You have the power to change the world.”
In April of 1951, I returned to the United States after a six-year stint in Europe. I had served as a U.S. Army chaplain in Germany and Austria and then as the chief emigration officer for the Joint Distribution Committee in Italy.