Lots of Camp Ramah News!
There is a lot of wonderful Camp Ramah in New England-related news to share, from all around the world-wide web!
Tali Cohen, our Director of Tikvah Vocational Services, wrote a wonderful article about our recent Tikvah trip to Israel on Jewishboston.com. Here is an excerpt:
The Tikvah Israel trip provides a unique and personalized Israel experience to a cohort of people who may not otherwise have this opportunity. As the typical campers from the eight overnight Ramah camps across North America graduate the camper program, they have the opportunity to travel to Israel with their camp friends on Ramah Seminar, and we believe that everybody should have that opportunity.
When asked about their favorite part of the Israel trip, many participants said that a highlight was visiting the army base where we met soldiers with disabilities. One participant, Eric, commented that it was nice to see people with disabilities, people “like us,” serving in the army. Other participants loved seeing their friends from Mishlachat, Israelis who had worked at camp in previous summers and developed close relationships with Tikvah participants. As we traveled around the country – from Beit Shemesh to Kibbutz Alumot, from Jerusalem to Gadera – former Mishalchat members opened up their homes and invited our group to join them for a meal. They were so excited to welcome our group to Israel and reconnect with close friends from camp. This show of hospitality truly illustrates the success of inclusion at Ramah, where lifelong friendships are formed regardless of individual difference or ability.
Long-time Ramah staff-member Leora Kimmel Greene now works for Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters. She wrote a wonderful blog piece about being paired up with Melissa (a participant in our Tikvah program) through the Friend 2 Friend program. Melissa and Leora first met at Ramah! Here’s an excerpt from Leora’s article:
Melissa and I had spent many summers together at camp, where I served as staff for over a decade. Summer after summer I watched her grow up.
Friend 2 Friend serves adults with varying disabilities such as cognitive and developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, mild mental illness, Autism Spectrum Disorders or Traumatic Brain Injury. In the Community program, Friends get together from once to a few times per month and spend time doing activities they mutually enjoy: sharing a meal, visiting a museum, seeing a baseball game, bowling.
Eventually, Melissa and I were matched. At our first Friend 2 Friend meeting, she came running down the hall screaming “Lee, you’re my sister, my twin sister!” I knew our time together would be special.. Without a doubt, I had made the right decision.
Lastly, here is a great photo of all of the Ramahniks who spent their winter break in Israel, at the Ta’amu U’r’u program at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Each Ramah camp sent one representative! We were proud to send Dena, who was Rosh Kochavim in 2013 and will be our Rosh Ilanot in 2014!