Every January, year-round staff members travel to Israel to participate in a process which is one of the most inspiring and invigorating events of the off-season: Mishlachat interviews. We’re proud that Camp Ramah in New England brings one of the largest delegations of Israeli emissary counselors to camp each summer, so that our campers leave Palmer with a strong connection to the people, land, and State of Israel. Rather than learning about Israel in a textbook or story, our campers get to meet Israel face-to-face, ask questions, and see Israelis as mentors, counselors, and friends. Hiring Israelis to work at Ramah is the most effective way we fulfill our mission to instill a love of Israel in every Ramahnik.
Through the Mishlachat interview process, run by the Jewish Agency for Israel, we meet with close to 60 staff hopefuls, and get the chance to hear about their families, their Jewish backgrounds, their hopes and dreams for their time at camp, and what they want to share with Americans about life in Israel. Our applicants come from a wide variety of backgrounds and all have a different story of Israel to tell. I’m so excited for our campers to meet these extraordinary individuals in just a few months.
I love the surprise candidates who we meet at these interviews – people who cross our paths when we least expect it.This year I had the pleasure of reuniting with two of my very own 2010 Machon campers – Ofri Avielli and Noa Tzimer! I’m so excited to welcome them back to Palmer this summer. They both had amazing experiences as Ramah campers and want to give back to to camp and help others experience everything that Ramah has to offer.They will be joined by dozens of other Israelis who love to sing, dance, swim, paint, play basketball and soccer, teach about Israel and deepen their own connection to Judaism.
The Mishlachat interview process is like running a marathon. It’s exhausting. But when you reach the finish line it’s exhilarating. The moment we tell someone “you’re hired! You’re coming to camp!” is truly magical. Their eyes light up, their smiles widen, some of them start crying. We’re changing their lives forever. What they don’t realize is that they also have the potential to change our lives as well.