Machon-Ramah Philanthropy Initiative

Today seven of our Machon campers left camp for New York to participate in a meeting of the Ramah Philanthropy Initiative, a new program which brings together Ramah in the Berkshires, Ramah in the Poconos and us in an attempt to inspire Jewish teens to learn about worthy causes and about philanthropy in support of those causes.  Over the next few days, Maiya Chard-Yaron, who is leading our group and has been teaching the Machoners, will be sending dispatches from the conference in New York.  Here is her first dispatch.

This afternoon, seven Machon campers and myself piled into a van outside of the chadar ochel and headed down to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City for a day-and-a-half mifgash with chanichim from Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. Both groups of campers have spent time during the first month of camp studying Jewish texts related to tzedakah, social action, and community involvement, in preparation for this mifgash, where the larger group has been given the task of allocating funds to charitable organizations. Our Machon campers have worked hard at crafting a group tzedakah mission statement, researching causes and organizations they would like to support, ultimately selecting two organizations they would like to present to the Berkshires campers.

We arrived in Manhattan, took a few moments to stretch and unpack, before meeting up with the Berkshires group for dinner and a brief program. The two groups immediately began to "break the ice", chatting and getting to know each other. After dinner, in small groups, they worked through selected texts relating to tzedakah and philanthropy, choosing ones they wanted to teach and discuss with the larger group. Their thoughts and insights made clear the amazing group both camps have assembled here in New York!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is going to be a busy day of learning, discussing, debating, and visiting with some New York-based organizations, winding down with a movie night out in the city. I look forward to sharing more reports with you, and ultimately revealing the results of the allocation decisions for the group!

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