My Trip to Train our Israeli Staff 2010
I returned last week from a week at kibbutz Shefayim outside of Herziliya training our incoming Israeli staff. We have a total of 40 Israeli staff coming to camp this summer with 20 new Shlichim.
Why do we have such a large contingent of Israeli staff? It is because we believe that building a positive connection to Israel is part of our mission at Ramah.
The week was very inspiring. Most of our Shlichim are finishing their army service and have decided to work with our campers between now and going to school. They all want to do a great job and have tremendous impact. Each Shaliach comes from a unique background socially, religiously, and experientially. So, what did I answer them when they asked me "what makes a successful shaliach?"
- They have to be a great Ramah staff member just like everyone else. This means they have to provide for the health and safety of the kids, do their particular job well, and work very hard.
- They have to realize that in order to spread their love of Israel they need to develop relationships with our staff and kids. If they are well liked and care about others, then it is easy for them to have impact. The kids will love Israel if they love the Israeli staff.
- They have to go on the journey with the kids. Ramah is a place where we try out new things from activities to religious practice. In order for our campers to be willing to participate in this journey, our staff have to do the same things. For our Israeli staff this is even more exciting as many of them come from a secular background and have had little experience with Conservative Judaism. I always tell them that if they really try to embrace this lifestyle over the summer they will inspire their kids as well as enrich their own lives.
Historically, our shlichim have had tremendous impact. We know that because so many of our campers go to Israel and meet up with them. The relationships go well beyond one summer.
This year's group holds tremendous promise. They are incredible young men and women. Make sure to say hello when you are at camp this summer.