Hebrew and Judaic Policies

IVRIT (HEBREW)

At Camp Ramah, we take seriously our commitment to ivrit (Hebrew), and we expect all tzevet, regardless of position, to actively further the mission of making camp a place where ivrit is an important part of the camp experience. We achieve our goals not only through our formal curriculum but also through singing and dancing to Israeli music, and taking extra care that certain words and phrases only be said in ivrit. We make announcements in the Hadar Ochel and during t’fillot exclusively in ivrit.

Meah Milim: We’ve put together a list of the 100 most common milim (words) that we strive to use only in ivrit at camp. Throughout the summer, our hanichim and madrichim encourage one another to use the milim on this list exclusively in ivrit. And the Meah Milim initiative doesn’t stop with specific words — we use this program as a catalyst for including more ivrit in our everyday lives at camp.

Click here to read about our Meah Milim (100 Words) program.

We do not expect anyone to come to camp with these meah milim already learned or memorized. We do not want anyone to feel pressured to “study” before coming to camp! We will all be learning and working on these meah milim together at camp.

And who knows, we might just have some special swag to give to tzevet and hanichim who make great use of these meah milim this kayitz at camp!

Remember, you don’t have to be fluent in ivrit to be a dugmah tovah (good example) to others in your attempts to incorporate ivrit into your daily life at camp.

RELIGIOUS POLICY

Camp Ramah New England observes Shabbat and kashrut within the framework of Conservative Judaism. We are respectful of the pluralistic nature of the Conservative Movement.

T’FILLOT

All tzevet are required to attend morning t’fillot, including on Shabbat morning and Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday late afternoon. Tzevet are also welcome to attend Minchah (the afternoon service) and Ma’ariv (the evening service), which are usually held after Tzad Bet lunch and dinner each day. Communal prayer is an integral part of camp, and our t’fillot are highly participatory. We encourage you to learn skills while you are at camp and to take on leadership roles in t’fillot as much as possible.

All t’fillot are egalitarian.

At Camp Ramah New England, everyone, no matter one’s gender or gender identity, is treated equally in all Jewish ritual matters.  Everyone is counted for a Minyan and is eligible to read Torah and Haftarah and to lead all religious services and rituals.

Male identifying tzevet are obligated to wear a kippah or head covering during meals, study and prayer. Out of respect, when wearing tefilin, one must wear a kippah. All gender identities are encouraged to cover their heads, but are not obligated to do so.

Male identifying tzevet must wear a tallit and tefillin during t’fillot on weekday and Sunday mornings and a tallit on Shabbat morning. All gender identities over the age of Bat Mitzvah are encouraged to do so.

Male identifying tzevet must bring tallit and tefillin to camp. If it is your custom not to wear a tallit until you are married, you must wear a tallit katan during tefillot. If you do not own tallit or tefillin, you must borrow from your local synagogue or contact us for assistance BEFORE arriving at camp. All gender identities are encouraged to bring tallit and tefillin.

Anyone who is leading t’fillot or participating in the Torah Service, no matter one’s gender or gender identity, must wear a tallit and a kippah or head-covering, which camp will provide.

KASHRUT & FOOD AT CAMP

Ramah tzevet have the responsibility of creating an environment where the laws of kashrut are observed both inside and outside of the Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall).

Camp Ramah has developed the following guidelines to ensure that kashrut is maintained:

  • To protect the kashrut of the camp kitchen, no outside food may be brought into the Chadar Ochel (Dining Hall).
  • Anything served at a camp activity must be kosher to the same standard as the camp kitchen. All foods brought into camp must have an authorized hechsher and be approved by one’s supervisor. All food brought into camp must be allergy-safe, and made in a facility free from nuts or peanuts.
  • On camp outings when food is bought, it must be kosher to the same standard as the camp kitchen.
  • No food prepared in a restaurant (i.e., pizza, doughnuts) may be brought into the camp.

We do understand that, during the year, our tzevet observe kashrut to different degrees. As part of the Ramah experience, tzevet are required to observe the rules of kashrut listed above. When on time off outside of camp, tzevet are permitted to eat hot dairy at a non-kosher restaurant, but they may not eat treyf/non-Kosher meat.

If you have any questions regarding kashrut, please direct them to the camp’s mashgiach (Kashrut supervisor) or the CEO.

No food is permitted to be kept in tzrifim by madrichim or hanichim.

Madrichim may not accept money from hanichim to buy food for them, and madrichim may under no circumstances bring food into camp for individual hanichim.

CHADAR OCHEL (DINING HALL)

Camp Ramah strives to make the dining experience at camp as pleasant as possible. We rely on our tzevet to achieve this goal. A few reminders:

  • Arrive on time for meals.
  • Madrichim are required to check to make sure that all of their hanichim are at their shulchan (table) in the Chadar Ochel.
  • Meals begin when the appropriate brachah is recited. After the brachah, everyone must remain seated until the Rosh Edah calls your tzrif to the buffet lines. 
  • Hanichim and tzevet should leave their tables only when they are getting food, and should otherwise stay at their table and not wander around the Chadar Ochel.
  • Madrichim are responsible for maintaining order at their table, and to ensure their hanichim are quiet when announcements are being made or a hand is raised.
  • All tzevet are expected to remain at meals for their entirety, to participate in the Birkat haMazon, and to listen attentively to announcements.
  • At the end of the meal, everyone at the table must clean the table and the floors under and around them. All hanichim and tzevet must remain seated at their table until they are checked out by a Rosh Edah that their table is completely clean.
  • To protect the kashrut of the camp kitchen, no food may be brought into the Chadar Ochel, and no utensils may ever be taken out of the Chadar Ochel.

Please note that our Chadar Ochel staff work very hard serving six meals a day; therefore we cannot arrange for individual early or late meals.

SHABBAT

Shabbat at Ramah has a magical intensity that can only come from an entire community engaged in the beauty of the day. When we ask campers why they keep coming back to camp, Shabbat is always one of the first things they mention. The ruach (spirit) of Shabbat is one of the most indelible aspects of the Ramah experience.

We are a Shomer Shabbat camp. You may not carry or use a cell phone on Shabbat under any circumstances. In their personal space, on their own bed, a child may choose to use a flashlight or headphones.

In addition to Shabbat meals, services, and singing, sports and swimming are permitted.

Turning on or off lights, listening to MP3 players, writing, drawing, painting, building, playing musical instruments are all prohibited on Shabbat.

A tzrif is not a democracy, and Shabbat observance at camp is not a choice. You may not take a vote in your tzrif to decide whether you will observe Shabbat in your tzrif. It is our responsibility to help create a special Shabbat experience at camp for all of our hanichim.