Shechunah Shel Ramah- Meet Rotem Ad Epsztein Rosh Agam!
Meet Roten Ad Epsztein Rosh Agam (head of the waterfront). I sat down with Rotem to learn more about what brought her to camp, about her family, life back in Israel and what she does for the ten months of the year when she is not at Machaneh Ramah. Here’s what she told me.
Eighteen years ago, when I came out of the Israeli army I heard about a program called Shlichut where you are sent from Israel to work with Jews living outside of Israel. I was sent to Machaneh Ramah in Palmer MA and I immediately fell in love with the people, the place, and Judaism. What I loved about coming to camp and I continue to cherish about being here is that I have learned and continue to learn more and more and it has made me feel very strongly about wanting my children to know about Judaism, and the many ways that Judaism can be expressed.
My favorite part about my job here at camp is working with a variety of people. Some are older some are younger, Israelis, Americans, and being on staff I have literally had the opportunity to watch so many of them grow up here at Ramah. When I think back to my early years here at Ramah, I remember that it was my dream that one day when I had children, that they would be campers here. Now that dream has come true and I see the way that it impacts their lives. Even though my children’s native language is Hebrew I see how everything about being here is so meaningful for them.
When I am not at Machaneh Ramah I live in Kibbutz Alumot which is located by the Kinneret River in the northern part of Israel. I work in sports instruction in early education, and I work with the Jewish Agency running workshops for them for those going on short term shiluchut. My first degree was from Wingate where I received a bachelor’s in sports education, and I received a master’s from the University of Haifa in early education. This year I am beginning my Ph.D. at the University of Haifa in early development education. I have an amazing husband who is a physician and three wonderful children. We love to travel around Israel but equally love relaxing at home together in our garden and watch our children play. I am very excited as this September I will be participating in a full Kinneret Swim! In addition to swimming, I love doing art projects with my children, and if you ask my daughter, she will tell you that I love coffee!!!
Something that is very special to me that many people don’t know about my family is that my grandfather and grandmother on my father’s side met when they were 17 on the Exodus boat that sailed from Poland to Israel. My grandfather always says that he is not a holocaust survivor rather he is a holocaust warrior. On my mother’s side my grandparents escaped from Iraq in 1947 an settled in Israel. Both sets of grandparents have a deep love for Israel. That deep love of Israel has been strongly instilled in me, which I now share with my children. Being at Ramah gives me a chance to share my love for Israel with the place that I fell in love with eighteen years ago.