With New Chadar Ochel, Successful Camp(aign) Ramah Closes
By Belinda Krifcher Lehman, President, and Rabbi Ed Gelb, Director
Passover will soon begin. Every year, as we are directed to do, we tell the Passover story as if for the first time: with anticipation and worry and excitement. We all know the numerous hurdles the Israelites faced as they made their journey from slavery to freedom. In one midrashic story often told, the Israelites were terrified as Pharoah’s army chased them towards the sea. Yet Nahshon ben Aminadav plunged in – the sea calmed and split so that the Israelites could safely pass through. Nahshon knew what that moment required, and he forged ahead.
About six years ago, Camp Ramah in New England was blessed to have its own visionaries and heroes: people who love and value the Camp Ramah experience and who knew that the time was right to take ambitious steps to secure Camp Ramah’s future. Our board of directors, early donors and campaign leaders and volunteers understood that the time was right to launch Camp(aign) Ramah, by far the largest philanthropic initiative in Camp Ramah’s over 60-year history. (Click here for donor list.)
Since then, hundreds of supporters have committed a total of $6.25 million – what an achievement! Within weeks, the new 23,000 square foot new Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall) will be finished. Soon, this much-needed facility will nourish our large kehillah (community) with over 2,400+ meals daily. But our meals in the new Chadar Ochel – like our family meals around the seder table – will serve a much larger purpose: just as the seder is more than merely a moment to eat, our meals in the new Chadar Ochel will be opportunities to deepen friendships, practice the newest Israeli dance, celebrate each day with song – and through these experiences forge a strong community of young Jews.
Our community’s philanthropic investment speaks to the enduring impact of the Camp Ramah experience upon our campers and their families and is a testimony to the spirit of tzedakah that defines our camp community. This investment speaks to our donors’ trust in Camp Ramah’s ability to transform young Jewish lives.
Thanks to our devoted donor community, which supported Camp(aign) Ramah, our camp home has been transformed through the completion of four major projects. In addition to the Chadar Ochel, we have added the Bet Am Gadol (multipurpose center), K’far Nivonim (village for our oldest campers), and an arts/welcome center. Now, with the anticipated completion of a new Chadar Ochel, we officially close Camp(aign) Ramah.
Todah Rabbah. With your love and support, the Camp Ramah in New England kehillah will thrive for generations to come.