KO L O T R A M A H
Digging the past Philadelphia day campers make archeological finds at “Tel Ramah”
el Ramah” replicated an Israeli excavation site at the Philadelphia Ramah Day Camp. Campers of all ages learned about Israel’s ancient past by excavating a simulated dig site under the guidance of archeologist Aaron Greener. Digging in an outdoor, life-size tel (archaeological mound), participants found artifacts and learned about their uses in the period of the Second Temple. Through various learning stations including ‘excavation and sifting,’ an archaeology lab (pottery restoration), and a daily life station, participants gained a better understanding of life in ancient times. They used real archaeological tools, and learned professional excavation
techniques. Tel Ramah opened on Tisha B’Av. Participants in the dig developed a sense of the value of recovering the sources of Jewish history, something especially significant around Tisha B’Av. It is important to see that while destruction exists in Jewish history, the Jewish people have persevered throughout time. Visit www.digthepast.org for additional information about Aaron Greener’s “Dig the Past” Israeli Archeological Experience, visit Funding for the Philadelphia Day Camp’s Tel Ramah project was partially provided by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Israel Engagement Grants.
Machon campers (entering 10th grade) at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires had a unique specialty experience, “chavaya,” taught by talented visiting professionals. The “Adventures in Waterskiing” chavaya took place with the help of Ramah Canada waterski staff alumni.
Bogrim campers (entering 8th grade) at Camp Ramah in the Poconos work with Jonathan Magen, radio specialist, to prepare the radio broadcast for the day.
A special moment in time The importance of Erev Shabbat at Ramah Nyack
Ramah Celebrates 60 Years of Camping
S TAC E Y C O H E N
t’s not one story I have to share, but an entire adolescence, a series of events that have guided me in maturing into the young woman I am today. Camp Ramah in Nyack has given me love and nourishment for five years and it will continue to be a part of me for the rest of my life. When I think of camp, my mind instantly races to any given Friday. It is a hectic workday for everyone. For swim staff, the day begins early, classes are jumbled with free swims, and you only get five minutes to eat lunch, which you have to eat in the pool house instead of at the hadar ochel. While the rest of camp is at the Friday afternoon oneg, swim staff is in a meeting, assessing the past week, making preparations for the one to come, and admittedly goofing off in the water before the pool reopens for after-camp swimming. As the end of the camp day approaches, the lifeguards collectively cross the gesher to join the rest of the hanichim and tzevet to dance our hearts out. As per tradition, Friday afternoon dancing always finishes with Mikey Edelstein lowering the flag, everyone singing Hatikvah, and of course, dancing to Amen. When dancing to this song we open up our
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minds and hearts, physically open our arms, and welcome Shabbat. The hours between hanichim leaving campgrounds and lighting candles are always filled with delightful fast-paced activity: visiting the local old age home, decorating the hadar ochel, handing out Shabbat-o-grams, racing to shower while there is still hot water. I know I personally fill time by waiting on the migrash with a friend for the hustle and bustle to clear as we lie on our backs in the shade and enjoy each other’s company. At 6:15 p.m. every Friday while Camp Ramah in Nyack is in session, a miracle happens. Everyone in camp is in the same place, at the same time. Everyone has showered. We are all dressed in our summer’s finest, and with that well-known approving smile of director Amy Skopp Cooper, the community opens their siddurim and begins to chant Yedid Nefesh. This may sound like an exaggeration, but it is very possible that this is the moment I live for. It’s not just a moment I look forward to at the end of each summer week, it is an experience I cling to during the year as well, when the reality of life pulls apart our community and we spend our Friday nights singing Yedid Nefesh in separate places, with different communities. No matter where I might physically be on any given Shabbat, my heart is in the Beit Knesset of Camp Ramah in Nyack. Camp is my home. I have spent some of the most influential years of my life there and made the longestlasting friendships I will probably ever come to know. Ramah has not just been a change in my life, it has been a catalyst in forming it. Stacey Cohen was co-Rosh Mayim last summer at Camp Ramah in Nyack.
Y E A R S
C A M P I N G
October 14, 2007
Visit www.campramah.org for more information and to register.
The tefillah experience at Ramah is peer-led and inspiring. Pictured here is Torah-reading during a weekday service at Ramah California.
Ramah Wisconsin campers prepare for their three-onthree basketball game as part of their special campwide “Gus Ramah” tournament.
E X C E L L E N C E