COVID-19 Updates & FAQs

We are planning to safely open our day and overnight camps for kayitz (summer) 2021, while understanding that we will have to be flexible and that camp may look different in order to accommodate health and state regulations. We value the incredible relationship we have with our camp families and want to assure you that your money is safe with us. We will always consistently communicate openly and transparently about all camp matters.

Please scroll down to see FAQs and a number of additional resources, including a complete archive of all of our 2020-21 COVID communications.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to contact our camp leadership with any additional questions or concerns.

Q: Will camp open this summer?

A: We are very confident that camp will open safely this summer. There are two factors in opening camp: will Massachusetts give us a license to operate and can we run camp safely? The state authorities recently announced that overnight camps will be allowed to open this summer. They have not yet published the COVID regulations. The National Ramah Medical Committee has previously determined that we can operate camp safely.

Q: Are you currently planning any COVID or capacity related changes for 2021?

A: We are planning to be able to operate safely and at near-full capacity.  We will be closely following local and national health guidelines as well as licensing requirements.  We will be adjusting our protocols and programming to ensure the safest summer possible in 2021. We will communicate changes to our families.  As always, we will be flexible and creative, always keeping the most important thing in mind – the safety of our campers!

Q: Who is advising Camp Ramah on medical and behavioral issues as we make plans and decisions for kayitz (summer) 2021?

A: Each Ramah camp has its own medical committee that includes several camp doctors and nurses.  The chairs of the medical committees of all Ramah camps make up the National Ramah Medical Committee, which is chaired by Dr. Cliff Nerwin.

These committees also rely on the guidance, advice and expertise of consultants provided through the American Camp Association, AMSkier Insurance, JCamp180/Grinspoon Foundation, Foundation for Jewish Camp and Massachusetts Camping Association, among others. We have heard from the medical teams of camps that operated last summer, day schools across the US, infectious disease experts, and many others.

In regard to mental health and behavioral challenges, the same groups have provided a great deal of helpful guidance. In addition, we have been working all year with our camp psychologist, Dr. Alan Jacobson, and our camper care team to develop plans for supporting and nurturing our campers and staff. The directors of camper care from all the Ramah camps meet on a regular basis to plan and discuss best practices. We have been hearing from experts in the field and have talked to schools about what they are experiencing.

Q: Who leads Ramah New England’s Medical Committee?


Steven M. Schwartz, M.D.
Dr. Steven M. Schwartz is a family physician, the Medical Director of Potomac Physician Associates, and the Chief Medical Information Officer of PPA. Dr. Schwartz received his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University and his M.D. at Tufts University School of Medicine in 1994 and completed his residency in Family Medicine at Georgetown University. He is board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. Dr. Schwartz is the former associate dean and Director of Medical Student Education at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Schwartz currently maintains his association with Georgetown University and is a volunteer associate professor. Dr. Schwartz special interests include sports medicine, dermatology and integrative medicine, and he provides comprehensive primary care to newborns, children, and adults.

Michael Agus, MD
Division Chief, Division of Medical Critical Care; Endowed Chair in Critical Care; Medical Director, Medical Intensive Care Unit and Intermediate Care Program; Co-Medical Director, Biocontainment Unit
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Undergraduate Degree
• University of Pennsylvania , 1990 , Philadelphia , PA
Medical School
• University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine , 1995 , Philadelphia , PA
• Boston Children’s Hospital , 1996 , Boston , MA
• Boston Children’s Hospital , 1998 , Boston , MA
Pediatric Critical Care
• Massachusetts General Hospital , 2002 , Boston , MA
Pediatric Endocrinology
• Boston Children’s Hospital , 2002 , Boston , MA

Q: What does it mean that camp will be in a “bubble” this summer?

A: We are planning for camp to operate in a “bubble” this summer, which means that, for the duration of each camp session, campers and staff will not enter and leave the camp grounds. Campers and staff must arrive on time and stay throughout the session. There will not be any out-of-camp trips. We are planning a summer full of fun, including special programming, to ensure everyone has a fantastic time at camp!

Q: What do the terms “pod” and “cohort groups” mean?

A: The term pod refers to a group that is considered “your family” and the group with which you are not required to follow the COVID guidelines on distancing, masking and being outdoors. During the first week, we anticipate running the vast majority of programs by pod. The pod will most likely be your bunk during the first week.

The term cohort refers to a larger group where after the first week there will be relaxed COVID guidelines (as allowed by the state). The cohort group may be an edah, two edot or even a tzad (side) of camp.

Q: How will the first week of camp be different if campers are in “pods”?

A: We plan to begin each camp session with a period of approximately 7-10 days in which our campers will participate in programming by “pods”. Each pod will likely be one bunk, or perhaps two. We are planning a fun, bonding week of intense bunk-focused programming. Any interactions with individuals outside these individual “pods” will take place outdoors and will require masking and social distancing. There will be regular testing during this “pod” week. Depending on the results of these tests, we hope that at the end of that week we can progress from “pods” to larger cohort groups, and we will be able to run a more normal regular daily program.

At the start of the second session, we will reset all of camp back to the “pod” period.

Q: Will campers and staff have to wear masks at camp this summer?

A: We will follow all state and federal guidelines on mask wearing. That being said, because we know that wearing masks is difficult for children, where allowed, we will look for opportunities to relax mask-wearing.

We anticipate that within the “pod” of each bunk, masks will not be required when inside their bunk or at bunk activities. During the first week of camp, during our “pod” period, for most other activities in which campers from different bunks are mixed together, we anticipate that masks will be required. After the initial “pod” period, we are hopeful that we will be able to expand our cohort groups, within which people can go unmasked.

Q: Will staff be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination prior to camp?

A: Yes. The Screening and Testing section of the National Ramah Commission Medical Committee’s “COVID Guidelines and Recommendations” was updated in March, 2021, as follows:

A COVID vaccine is required for staff members 18 years of age and older who will be employed at Ramah camps and Israel programs this summer. Staff members are required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival at camp. Staff members under 18 years of age are encouraged but not required to be vaccinated. This includes all international staff. This also assumes that the vaccine will be available and accessible to the staff member. Individual circumstances regarding availability and accessibility, and other exceptions for medical exemptions will be addressed by the individual camp director in consultation with the camp medical director.

Q: How will Ramah handle the extra social and emotional health needs brought on by the pandemic?

A: Camper Care is the single most important thing at Camp Ramah New England. In anticipation of this summer, we have asked all families to fill out our COVID form. We know that our campers and their families have faced difficult challenges this past year, and that it’s even more important than ever that camp provide individualized care and support for every child in our care this summer. Talya Kalender, our Director of Camper Care, is overseeing a robust program of training this year for all staff-members to create a safe, warm atmosphere at camp, train them in how to recognize and address mental health needs and issues in their campers, and how to respond when challenges arrive. This will be a team effort of our entire year-round and summer 2021 staff. We are excited for Ramah to once again pave the way in terms of how best to create a transformative summer camp experience in which all of our campers can feel safe, and can flourish.

Q: Due to Kochavim changing to four-week sessions, which edot will be Kochavim and which edot will be Ilanot?

A: Kochavim will consist of campers currently in grades 2 and 3 and Ilanot will consist of campers currently in grade 4. We did this to balance the numbers between these two edot to maximize the camp program experience.

Q: What is the luggage policy going to be this summer?

A: Because parents will not be allowed into camp other than in the immediate drop-off area, we are requiring all camp families to utilize our luggage service to ensure that all luggage is delivered prior to camp. We are working on a plan to unpack the belongings of all A-side campers prior to opening day, to allow a seamless start to camp. There will be an additional cost for this luggage service, which will be billed to every camp family. We are working on a contract with a vendor to provide this service and will update everyone on the logistics and costs as soon as this information is available. We are sorry for the additional costs but feel this is critical to keeping our camp community safe.

Q: How will testing work this summer?

A: We will have a comprehensive testing program in place for this summer. We have been hesitant to publish exact details because we do not know whether there will be advances in testing by the summer or precisely what the state will require. Our Ramah New England Medical Committee is working in close partnership with the National Ramah Medical Committee to develop a testing strategy and a partnership with a laboratory.

Here is an early outline of what our testing schedule may look like. All tests, unless otherwise noted, will be nasal swab PCR tests. We also may be able to use saliva PCR tests. It is possible that by summer rapid tests will be deemed sufficiently accurate to be used.

All staff will need a negative PCR result 48-72 hours before arrival and also will be tested upon their arrival for staff week. We are expecting the vast majority of our staff to be vaccinated.

All campers will have to produce a negative test prior to arriving at camp. We are not anticipating asking campers to quarantine prior to coming to camp except that we want camper families to be very careful between the pre-camp test and the start of camp. Additionally, we will follow all state regulations on quarantining and travel but we do not know what those will be or if there will be any restrictions.

We will test the entire camp community on opening day, and days 3, 5 and 8 (the exact number of tests and days may change based on state guidance).

We intend to test the camp twice more during the first session.

For the second session, we will repeat the above protocol.

Q: What happens if there is a COVID outbreak at camp and how will we manage close contacts?

A: We are awaiting guidance from the state as to whether anyone who tests positive for COVID will be required to stay at camp or be required to go home.

We have set aside housing and have sufficient staff to care for anyone who tests positive and we also have set aside housing for anyone who is deemed a close contact and needs to quarantine.

Q: How will camp’s food service operate and will there be day workers at camp?

A: Again, our plans may change due to state regulations. We plan on having our dining room staff and much of our kitchen staff reside on site as in years past. It is unclear whether we will be able to utilize foreign staff for this role.

The vast majority of our cooking staff are local day workers. We believe all of them will be vaccinated. They will be allowed to work at camp this summer, will be tested regularly, will always be masked, and will not interact with anyone outside the kitchen. The design of our dining hall keeps the air flow in the dining room separate from the air flow in the kitchen; we believe that this will greatly reduce the risk that a kitchen worker could spread COVID in the camp.

Q: What’s the procedure if someone needs to leave camp for a medical emergency?

A: We will have protocols in place for situations in which a camper or staff member needs to leave camp for a medical situation. There will be a designated staff member present for the entire experience. Both the camper and staff member will be required to wear masks, observe appropriate social distancing, and visit a medical facility where strict COVID-related procedures are in place. They will then be allowed to return to their cohort(s) when they return.

Q: How do you expect travel to camp on opening/closing day will work?

A: We have sent out flight information for campers coming from the DMV (DC, MD and VA). We are developing procedures for those driving their campers to camp. Families will drop off their campers, but we do not expect that parents or family members will enter the bunks. We are working to develop procedures that are safe and also warm and welcoming, to make sure that campers are able to begin their camp experience on the right foot. We are requiring everyone to use a luggage delivery service, for safety and to help make opening day run smoothly and efficiently. Specific luggage truck and luggage delivery details will follow later in the year.

Q: My child is a full-summer camper, how will Visiting Day work?

A: Sadly, this summer we cannot have a Visiting Day. We will make plans for full summer campers to connect virtually with their families mid-summer.

Q: Why are you not offering two-week options in 2021?

A: Our medical team has met and determined that it is very likely that the first week of camp will require everyone to observe strict masking, social distancing and “podding” (campers/staff in smaller groups). After testing and the first week has passed, they anticipate we will be able to run camp more normally. This is impactful on Kochavim for two reasons:

First, our camp psychologist feels that our campers will need time to adjust to our COVID-19 safety procedures this summer. We are confident that the kids will have a safe and fun experience. However, he feels that each camper’s cumulative experience will be greatly enhanced once we move to the second level of protocols and that having only a week at that level will not allow them to fully adjust and enjoy that aspect of camp.

Second, for Kochavim Bet and Daled (which traditionally start in the middle of our four-week sessions), the Medical Committee feels that introducing new campers to camp would force the entire camp to return to this initial “podding” protocol. We do not feel that is a tenable position for the camp to take.

Please click here for Rabbi Gelb’s full letter of explanation.

Q: What is your 2021 refund policy?

A: While it is our greatest hope to run camp in kayitz (summer) 2021, we realize that there are still many unknowns for this summer. As a result, we have modified our normal refund policy (which can be found here):

• In the event that camp cannot open for kayitz (summer) 2021, all families will again be eligible for a full refund of their deposits and registration fees.

• If camp opens but it is not medically safe for your child to attend (due to his/her health or a family member’s), you will be able to cancel your child’s enrollment and receive a full refund. COVID-related medical information will be required in one of our pre-summer forms. If your camper or a family member has an underlying medical condition that puts them in a high risk category, please be in touch with us so that we can work with your family and your medical professionals to determine an appropriate plan for camp as well as a decision-making timeline.

• If camp opens and you choose to withdraw your child without a COVID-related medical reason, our regular refund policy will apply.

• If camp opens but cannot run at full capacity, and so we need to adjust our dates, families will get a refund if the revised schedule does not work for them. Families will be given an opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of this revised plan. The fees for a revised camp session will be prorated less non-recoverable expenses as determined by the camp.

• Please visit our Day Camp COVID FAQ page for additional information regarding our refund policy at our Day Camp.

Q: How will I stay updated on your plans for kayitz (summer) 2021?

A: We promise to continue our pattern of regular, open communication to our camper families regarding how the COVID-19 pandemic may continue to impact Camp Ramah New England and our plans for kayitz (summer) 2021. We will communicate our plans via email and also archive them on this webpage.

COVID Communications:

Click here for Rabbi Gelb’s March, 2021 email to camp families.

Click here for Rabbi Gelb’s February, 2021 email to camp families.

Click here for Rabbi Gelb’s January, 2021 email to camp families.

Click here for Rabbi Gelb’s December, 2020 email to camp families, focused on transportation.

Click here for Rabbi Gelb’s December, 2020 email to Kochavim families, explaining the changes to our 2021 options for current second and third grade campers.

Click here for Rabbi Gelb’s November, 2020 email to camp families.

Click here for Rabbi Gelb’s October, 2020 email to camp families.

COVID FAQ page for Ramah Day Camp, Greater DC:

Please click here.

Support Documents and Other Mental Health Resources:

Self-Care Reminders for Parents and Guardians.

Self-Care Reminders for Staff Members.

How to Help Your Child Cope with the Cancellation of Summer Camp.

Additional Resources From the ACA (American Camp Association):

A short video from Deborah Gilboa, MD on how to talk to your child grieving the loss of their cancelled summer camp

Responding to Change and Loss — National Alliance for Grieving Children

Keep Calm– Webinar covering the science behind managing stress (Michelle Post M.A., LMFT)

Archive from Spring-Summer 2020:

Please click here to read Rabbi Gelb’s full letter to the community, announcing the sad decision that we will not be able to open our camps for summer 2020.

Please click here to see a recording of our Overnight Camp town hall meeting from Monday night, May 20th.

Click here for our May 13, 2020 update.

Click here for our April 30, 2020 update.

Click here for our March 25, 2020 update.

Emergency Donations:

We are asking all 2020 camp families to please complete an on-line form, which will be sent out on Thursday May 21 at approx. 5:00 PM EDT, to indicate what portion of their 2020 tuition they are willing to donate to camp, and what remainder they are asking to be refunded.  We ask that all families complete this form by Monday, May 25.  We hope that all of our families will stretch, in order to be able to donate as significant a portion of their tuition as possible.

We welcome additional donations from all camp alumni and friends.  Please click here in order to make an online donation, or click here to contact our development team.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why was the decision made not to open camp for summer 2020?

A: This decision is as devastating to us as it is to our Ramah families. We have been trying to find a way to open since the crisis began. In making this decision now, our Board of Directors relied on the unanimous guidance of the National Ramah and our local medical committees, as well as the advice of our professional staff. None of the recent announcements from Maryland or Massachusetts have provided us with a path forward.

In Judaism, the concepts of Pikuach Nefesh (preserving life) and Sakanat Nefeshot (endangering life) are powerful principles that require us to follow the advice of medical professionals and take great care in the risks we take. Vayikra 18:5 states, “You shall keep My laws and My rules, by the pursuit of which humanity shall live: I am the Lord.” It is our collective assessment that our overnight camp cannot operate safely should, despite our best efforts, an outbreak of COVID-19 occur while 850 campers and staff are living, eating, and sleeping in the confined spaces of camp. We also believe that we cannot keep our day camp families safe given the fluid and dynamic nature of this environment. Our medical team believes the risks are too great and the unknowns of this disease too many for us to open our camps.

Please click here to read Rabbi Gelb’s full letter to the community, and please read on to the next question to see additional information on why the National Ramah medical committee, along with Ramah New England medical committee, felt that it was unsafe for us to open this summer.

Q: Why did the Ramah Medical Committees recommend that camp not open?

A: At the recent meeting of the National Ramah Commission Medical Subcommittee, lead doctors from each Ramah camp unanimously recommended against the opening of our day camps and overnight camps this summer. Our Ramah New England medical committee agreed with this assessment.

Some of the doctors on these committees directly addressed the policies and procedures announced by several private camps that plan to open this summer. Noting the lack of reliability of current testing procedures, our committees rejected the assumption that pre-camp testing can realistically produce a COVID-free “bubble” at camp. It is assumed, therefore, that camp would be required to manage cases of COVID, which our committee deemed an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of campers, staff members, administration, and infirmary personnel.

Recent reports of Kawasaki inflammatory disease among COVID-positive children, resulting in a number of deaths in the US, while rare, highlight the lack of adequate current knowledge about this new virus. Our doctors did not believe that social distancing policies could realistically be enacted in a camp setting, with unacceptable consequences should policies not be strictly adhered to. The data from other group living environments, such as jails, cruise ships, and homeless shelters, which are somewhat analogous to a camp setting, have shown that one or two positive cases usually lead to an infection rate of approximately 35% within the population.

There was unanimous agreement among the doctors on the National Ramah Commission Medical Subcommittee that the hoped-for progress with testing, treatments, prevalence of virus within our communities, and clear federal and state guidance has not materialized, and in some ways has worsened. Although a theoretical model of a camp opening with pre-camp screening, repeated testing, excluding admission to those most vulnerable, and managing the virus within camp could be hypothetically constructed, this would in effect be an “experiment” with the lives of our campers, staff, and families. No doctor on this committee believes that it is responsible for Ramah to risk the health of our camp community under these circumstances.

Q: Why not open camp and allow parents to make the decision over whether or not to send their children?

A: As was explained in-depth in our answer to the previous question, the doctors on our medical committees did not believe that it would be responsible for Ramah to risk the health of our camp community under these current circumstances.

We have listened carefully to the voices among our community who encouraged us to find a way to open camp. We have spent countless hours attempting to find some scenarios in which we could open camp in some form. We understand, as do our camp families, that there is always some inherent risk in operating a summer camp. However, we believe that our parents trust us to only open camp if we felt that we could reasonably ensure the safety of their children. As detailed above, we felt that there was too much risk, and too much that we don’t know about this virus, to feel comfortable opening camp.

Q: Why didn’t you wait longer before cancelling second session?

A: There are several reasons why we felt we needed to announce a cancellation of our full camp season at this time, including but not limited to:

We do not foresee enough significant changes happening in the next few weeks that would allow us to feel confident about opening second session while still leaving us enough advance notice to properly prepare camp to open.

We felt it necessary to release our staff and allow them to pursue other options for the summer (other work, summer classes, etc.). While we know many staff-members will not be able to find other employment this summer, we did not believe that it was right to hold onto staff commitments any longer.

We recognize the tremendous anxiety among so many of our camp families, children, and staff-members, which was exacerbated by not knowing what was going to happen this summer. While we have waited longer than many other summer camps to make our cancellation announcement – a delay borne from our hope that, with additional time, we would be able to find a path towards opening camp in some form – we did not think it was right to prolong this uncertainty any further, especially considering all of the factors listed above.

Q: What will happen with our summer 2020 staff-members?

A: We will not be able to hire or pay any summer staff. We are hopeful that some members of our staff will be able to find other opportunities this summer (other work, summer classes, etc.).

We hope to be able to assist our families and our staff-members by connecting families who might be interested in hiring great Ramah staff-members for personal work with their child(ren), whether in-person or on-line. Additionally, we will soon be surveying our families regarding their interest in virtual programming this summer. If there is demand, we may be able to hire some summer staff-members to help run this. More information on all of these possibilities will be coming soon.

Q: What are camp’s refund policies for summer 2020 tuition?

A: We are committed to meeting our families’ needs during this uncertain time. We are offering full refunds on 2020 tuition for those families who request that.

However, tuition refunds would represent a dangerous cash drain for our organization. If we receive requests to refund the full amount (including deposits and tuition) from all of our families, we will have a major cash shortfall of $1.75M in the fiscal year that ends September 30 – a devastating financial situation for our organization.

We are hoping that everyone will agree that they should donate some portion of their tuition in recognition of the work Ramah has already undertaken for our families. We are hoping that many more of our families will be in the position to give even more generously so that Ramah can meet all of its financial obligations and be able to survive and thrive and begin planning for kayitz 2021.

We are asking all camp families to please complete an on-line form (“jotform”), which will be sent out on Thursday May 21 at approx. 5:00 PM EDT, to indicate what portion of their 2020 tuition they are willing to donate to camp, and what remainder they are asking to be refunded. We ask that all families complete this form by Monday, May 25.

Please continue reading our answer to the next question for a more complete picture of our financial situation and why we need donations in order for Ramah New England to survive.

Q: Why does camp need donations from our families in order to survive?

A: Since our fiscal year began on October 1, 2019, we have been planning for kayitz (summer) 2020. We spend the ten months outside of the summer planning for camp, running programs, recruiting staff and campers, and maintaining and preparing our camp properties.

Our total budget this year was $6.3M, funded almost completely by tuition revenue.

Now, having taken a number of difficult steps to address the current crisis, we have cut our expenses in half, to $3.1M. Starting in March, when the COVID-19 crisis began, we significantly reduced our expenses, took a SBA PPP loan through the federal program, and gained access to a $500,000 line of credit. Now that we have made the difficult decision to close our camps for kayitz 2020, we are making additional and dramatic cuts: our summer staff will not be paid, our orders for summer food and other supplies will be cancelled, and our year-round staff members will face layoffs and pay cuts.

Parents have made tuition payments totaling $3.1M. We are committed to meeting our families’ needs during this uncertain time. However, tuition refunds represent a significant cash drain. If we receive requests to refund this full amount, we will have a major cash shortfall in the fiscal year that ends on Sept 30 – a devastating financial situation for our organization.

Ramah needs a total of $1.75M from our parents, alumni and friends to meet this year’s financial obligations and to pivot and begin planning for summer 2021.

Already, many people who love Ramah New England have said that they will step up to help address this dire situation. This includes the members of our board, all of whom have pledged to support Ramah to meet this challenge. This also includes dozens of families that already have told us that they would convert some or all of their tuition payments into donations – they have committed $180,000 to help Ramah turn the corner. Together with many alumni and friends, $1M has been pledged to help Ramah weather this storm.

Now, Ramah needs additional donations of $750,000 from our parents, alumni and friends. We hope that you, along with all of our parents, agree that a portion of your tuition payments should be donated in recognition of the work Ramah has already undertaken for our families this year. Ramah needs you right now so that our camps can return as strong as ever in 2021 and beyond.

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, the Jacobs and Eisen families and our board of directors have stepped up to encourage our families to help at this urgent moment. Together, they will give $1 for every $1 of tuition payments that you designate as a charitable contribution to Ramah now, up to $500,000.

For more information on camp’s current financial situation, please click here to see the slides that Stuart Katz, the President of our Board of Directors, presented to the camp community at our town hall meeting on Wednesday night, May 20th.  Please click here to see the full recording of that town hall meeting.

Q: What grants or loans has camp received?

A: We are heartened that the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, the Jacobs and Eisen families, and our Board of Directors have created a special matching program to encourage our families to act immediately. These donors will give $1 for every $1 of tuition payments that you designate as a charitable contribution to Ramah now, up to $500,000.

We applied for and received an SBA PPP Loan. Our hope is that a significant portion of this loan will be forgiven, but we will have debt to repay from that loan.

Q: I want to help! How can I donate to camp?

A: We are asking all 2020 camp families to please complete an on-line form, which will be sent out on Thursday May 21 at approx. 5:00 PM EDT, to indicate what portion of their 2020 tuition they are willing to donate to camp, and what remainder they are asking to be refunded. We ask that all families complete this form by Monday, May 25. We hope that all of our families will stretch, in order to be able to donate as significant a portion of their tuition as possible.

We welcome additional donations from all camp alumni and friends.  Please click here in order to make an online donation, or click here to contact our development team.

Q: Why isn’t camp offering a rollover option for 2020 tuition?

A: The most significant challenge we are currently facing is to find a way to address our $1.75M budget shortfall for our current fiscal year, which ends Oct. 1st, 2020.

If families were to roll-over their 2020 tuition towards 2021, that would mean that Ramah New England would be using next year’s money in order to pay for this year. That wouldn’t significantly help us in the long term. It would, in effect, just be moving our problem down the road a few months.

Our focus right now is on finding a way to close out our 2020 fiscal year in as small a hole as possible, and then be able to enter our 2021 fiscal year in the best state we possibly can. This will allow us to be able to open for kayitz (summer) 2021 and run the best program possible.

Q: Why aren’t you processing refunds immediately?

A: We are committed to refunding 2020 tuition for all families who make that request. However, we need to review all of our family’s answers to the questionnaire, in order to determine the total amount of refunds requested. Once we have that answer, we can make determinations as to the method and timetable for our issuing those refunds. We will give answers to our families as soon as possible.

Q: When will registration for summer 2021 be open?

A: The “jotform” questionnaire being sent to all 2020 families includes an option to sign up for summer 2021! (We ask families to please complete that form by May 25.)

Our Palmer overnight camp will be opening our regular application, for new campers, very shortly.

We are offering a Palmer overnight camp Early Registration PRICE FREEZE – summer 2020 regular tuition rates for summer 2021 – until August 16, 2020. All families will need to complete our full on-line registration form when it is open, and pay their deposits, by August 16, 2020 in order to receive that Early Registration discount.

Day camp families can register for 2021 now but rates and discounts will not be published until the fall.

Q: Why do I need to complete a full registration form if I completed the jotform?

A: We wanted to keep the “jotform” questionnaire being sent to families on Thursday May 21 as simple as possible. So while that form allows families to check a 2021 session they’d like to sign their child(ren) up for, there are no additional questions.

However, there is a lot of information we ask of families in the full on-line registration form that we will need to have for 2021. Additionally, there are legally-required “waivers” at the end of that full on-line registration form that we need parents to sign.

Q: Who should I contact with questions on the “jotform” questionnaire?


• For questions about Kayitz 2021 registration, and/or if any of your child(ren)’s information is displaying incorrectly on our online form — please contact Marggi Shechanah.
• If you think there is an error in your 2020 tuition paid/owed, as displayed on our online form — please contact Ken Milgram.
• For questions about your donation to camp — please contact Mindy Goldstein.
• For any other questions regarding the functionality of our online form — please contact Josh Edelglass.
• For any other questions regarding your child(ren) enrolled in our overnight camp — please contact Talya Kalender.
• For any other questions regarding your child(ren) enrolled in our day camp – please contact Rabbi Jill Levy.
• For any other questions regarding our decision about kayitz 2020 — please contact Rabbi Ed Gelb.

Q: Will Ramah be offering virtual programming this summer?

A: Early next week, we will survey our families to hear which at home camp opportunities they would like for this summer, and then we will offer options to help serve your needs and to keep the Ramah community together. We are also looking into creating a platform for matching summer counselors with families who want to hire personal counselors/childcare helpers in their homes. More information will come shortly.

Q: What will happen for Nivonim campers, for whom this would have been their final summer at camp?

A: We are heartbroken for our Nivonim 2020 campers. It continues to be our hope that we will be able to gather our Nivonim 2020 campers in-person at Palmer at some point in the future. In the meantime, we are hoping to offer distance/virtual opportunities for our Nivonim campers to develop their leadership skills and be leaders in our Ramah community.

Q: What should we do about our booked flights to/from camp?

A: If you are a camper or staff-member who was scheduled to be on one of the DC flights, please call Southwest Airlines at 1-800-IFLYSWA in order to cancel your camper(s) flight reservation(s) per their policy.

If you are a staff-member with a flight booked from Israel, please contact Ed Pletman to arrange the cancellation of that flight.

Q: How can I get a refund from Pack My Rx?

A: Our friends at Pack My Rx have shared the following note:

To all camp families,
In light of the COVID-19 situation and Camp Ramah’s decision to cancel the summer of 2020 in order to ensure your camper’s safety, we, at Pack My Rx, will be issuing refunds to all families that completed registrations for 2020. If you need prescriptions transferred to your local pharmacy, please email us at and we will take care of that for you.
Wishing everyone a safe and healthy summer,
Diana and Tania
And The Pack My Rx Team

Virtual Programming:

Through our Ramah M’Rachok initiative, we are offered an array of on-line camp-style programming for families and children of all ages from March-June, 2020.

After surveying our families to hear what additional at home camp opportunities they were interested in for this summer, we launched our Ramah Ba’Bayit online programming options for June-July, 2020.  Over 400 campers signed up.

Additionally, we created My Ramah Madrich, a platform for matching summer counselors with families who want to hire personal counselors/childcare helpers in their homes.  Please contact us for more information.