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Ramah Connections

Julie Hersch | Poconos

Julie Hersch grew up in Wynnewood, PA and now resides in Edison, NJ with her Ramah Poconos alumus husband of 26 years and their three Ramah children.  She attended Ramah Poconos from 1976-1981, Ramah Seminar 1983, was on staff as a junior counselor in 1985 and on the waterfront from 2002-2010. She is an Occupational Therapist currently working at Reach Educational Services and Reach Beyond Therapy, a non-profit company that provides therapy services and therapeutic enrichment programs to children and their families.

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 a camper at Ramah Wisconsin in their Tikvah program.

My older two have already experienced the “Ramah connection phenomenon” in their colleges, but our youngest hadn’t experienced it until recently. Over the past year, Shira visited several day and boarding schools as we researched an appropriate program for her for this fall. During the interview process at our very favorite school for Shira, the Middlebridge School in Narragansett Rhode Island, my husband and I were speaking with the head of school, John Kaufman, when we discovered our most unlikely connection!

We had never heard of Middlebridge School and we knew no one from Rhode Island. Early on in the interview process, John asked us about Shira’s comfort level with living away from home. Happily, we told him of how she has been going to a wonderful camp in Wisconsin that she loves. Being curious and a very thorough interviewer, he asked the name of the camp. When we said Ramah Wisconsin he instantly smiled, laughed, and exclaimed, “I know Ramah, I went to Ramah Canada!” It was B’shert!  The theme of Ramah kept coming back throughout the rest of the interview. When applying to a new school with child who has diabetes, medical questions naturally arise. Usually, I talk about Shira’s relationship and ease of care with the “madrichim, oh I mean counselors” and the “nurses at the Marp oh I mean…” before I could translate the Ramah “Hebrish” to English, John said, “I haven’t heard the word Marp in forever!” It was really quite a fun interview.

Other than loving everything about Middlebridge—the academic and social pragmatic programs and the residential life program—the feel was very warm and familiar and …..campy! Ramah Campy!

What an out of the blue fantastic Ramah connection!