Ramah Ba-rehov: Machon’s Trip to Providence
Equally as important as the experience we have in camp is the way we experience our Ramahness outside of camp. We often take our Jewish identity for granted when we are engulfed in the Ramah environment, and retaining that beyond camp – beyond high school – can be a challenge.
For this reason and more, Machon took Ramah Ba'rehov (Ramah in the Street) these past two days, in an effort to strengthen our global perspective (our summer theme, Reiyah Rechava) on Judaism and our roles in the community. Thursday morning Machon departed for an overnight trip to Providence and Newport, RI. We began our day volunteering at St. Martin de Porres, a senior center in a struggling Providence neighborhood. In four groups, all of our campers rotated through a number of projects that had them landscaping outside, cleaning common spaces inside, visiting with clients of the center, and running a car wash in the parking lot to raise what amounted to $97 in donations to the center (a significant amount for this community). Our new friends at the center were incredibly appreciative, and all of our campers enjoyed the opportunity to apply the Jewish value of community service that we live each day in camp to the larger world outside of camp.
From there we traveled to the Touro Synagogue in Newport, where we toured the site and learned about the oldest standing synagogue in North America. This allowed us to place ourselves as Ramahniks into a larger context of American Jewry.
Since we were in Rhode Island, the group couldn't pass up the opportunity to go to the beach, so we hit the beach in Barrington, giving us the time to relax, strengthen our bonds, and eat a pizza dinner on the sand. After dinner on the beach, we hit up a night game at the Pawtucket Red Sox stadium, and finished up at Temple Emanuel in Providence where we spent the night.
Machon spent the majority of this morning at Brown University, exploring the quirks of Brown's famous Thayer Street and taking a tour of the Brown University Hillel, one of the most striking and active Hillels among college campuses.
Back at camp and read for a relaxing Shabbat, Machon is reflecting on a trip well spent and is looking forward to taking Ramah Ba'rehov even after camp ends.
Check out this preview of some of our photos from the trip, and see the camp website soon for a full album.