The Amazing Tikvah, Ramah, Israel, Mishlachat Relationship


I just arrived in Jerusalem
where I will spend Shabbat with the 13 other Fellows and three teachers of the
Jim Joseph Foundation Fellowship Program of the Lookstein Center.  We have been learning together and traveling
together since our arrival in Israel
this past Monday.  The truth is, more
than ½ of us made it to Kfar Maccabia in Ramat Gan
on time; the rest were very delayed due to snow in the US.  I was lucky enough to arrive on time and have
been enjoying every minute of our ten day program entitled “Community and
Leadership:  Exploring the Past,
Understanding the Present, Imagineering the Future.”  Beyond the learning about web platforms and communities
of practice, lectures by such luminaries as Israeli conductor, Itay Talgam,
Steve Israel of JAFI and Professor Jeffrey Woolf of Bar Ilan, and tiyulim
(field trips) to such places as Churbat Etri, the Bar Kochba Caves, and
Caesaria, I have been able to connect with various members of the Ramah New
England community. And I have had a chance to reflect on the centrality of Israel to Ramah
and Tikvah.

No more than two hours after landing, I was sitting in our
first fellowship session, held in a private room of the Kfar Maccabia dining
room.  I looked up and saw Mark Ross, a
former Amitzim counselor, here from England for a wedding.   Later that night, I connected by phone and
email with various friends from the Ramah community—Rotem and Uri, Leah
Collier, Max Davidson, the Bensteins, Yediah and Uri Tzivoni, and Tikvah founders
and long time directors, Herb and Barbara Greenberg.

Last night, I was honored to attend the bat mitzvah of one
of Herb and Barbara’s granddaughters. When our day of learning and tiyulim ended, I cabbed it to Pitaya, a
beautiful catering hall in Kfar Saba.  I
arrived a bit late and was delighted when I saw Uri and Yedida, long time
friends of Herb and Barbara’s.  The
Greenbergs, who came on aliyah approximately ten years ago, speak often of how
much the Ramah experience impacted on their love for Israel.  They have maintained friendships for years
with shlichim and other Israelis who worked at Ramah New England.  Imagine my delight when I was greeted by a
table of Israelis (including the Reems and the Hanochis) who worked at camp
twenty or so years ago.  And several of
them worked in Tikvah!  Israel and the
shlichim are so central to camp, and the Tikvah experience has really made an
impact on generations of shlichim.

I feel honored to continue the strong relationship between
Tikvah, Ramah, Israel and our mishlachat/Israeli
delegation.  Last year at this time, I
was in Israel
with fifteen campers and staff members (we had a blast, despite the Gaza War,
which caused us to change our itinerary a bit). It was my fourth Tikvah Israel trip; it was a pleasure to restart the Israel trip, started so many years ago by the
Greenbergs who brought approximately ten groups Tikvah groups to Israel.  Each summer, Tikvah has a particularly strong
relationship with the mischlachat, who teach us Hebrew, swimming, sports, omanut,
etc.  I can’t wait to visit my Ramah
Israeli friends in Israel,
and to welcome many back to camp this summer.

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.  (I received a lot of comments yesterday about my Kayitz 2009 Ramah shirt! Several told me to remember to take off my name tag!)

Categories: Tikvah