Ramah—Taking it home, havurah style

Andrea Neusner, CRNE Board Member and Former Staff Member

It started in the spring of 2002, with two friends looking for a different sort of community.  Each invited a few families for Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner.  Right from the start, our new havurah was magical.  The joyous sounds of singing, the ringing of laughter, good food and wine inspired new friendships.  Eight years later, we continue to meet once a month, and that time is sacred.  Shabbat is always sacred, but our community is special.  Almost every week our kids eagerly ask, “do we have havurah this Shabbat?”   

No, there is no lake or dining hall.  But it feels Ramah-like. A few of the adults had memories of Ramah that were reawakened from this group, but at first, none of our kids were old enough for camp.  This year we are sending nin of them.  Four of our five havurah families – mine, Jen and Dan Mendelson, Aliza Yellin Lerner and Jon Lerner, and Maria Lasa-Sloan and Mike Sloan – have tight connections to camp, some that go back three generations. 

At the end of each summer we look forward to the first havurah when our campers rejoin us.  They sing us their favorite camp songs, and show off the new Israeli dances they’ve learned.  We light the candles, enjoy good company, and are grateful to know our families have found Ramah at home. 

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