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Ramah Camping Movement

a passion for the Jewish future THE POWER OF RAMAH


Ramah was a transformative experience for thousands of men and women fortunate enough to spend their formative years in its embrace. I count myself among those who benefited from the magic of Ramah and who sought to ensure that their own children also would be inspired by it. Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz, Ramah Alumna; Dean of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, The Jewish Theological Seminary


the power of ramah Parents, campers, and staff members say it best. When asked about the impact of Ramah, they talk about a compelling mix of fun, friends, personal growth, and meaningful Jewish experiences. They recount that Ramah means all of this, and more: ¢ At Ramah, young Jews make close personal friends for life ¢ Ramah guides campers in developing a strong Jewish identity ¢ Ramah encourages campers to find balance in their lives: Ra  ttending to both body and soul through athletics, learning, and cultural arts R c ontributing to the group while seeking opportunities to assume leadership R living as committed Jews Ra  dvocating for Israel R practicing tikkun olam in the larger world ¢ Ramah’s young leaders instill a love for Jewish life and nurture campers’ personal and spiritual growth ¢ Ramah creates a safe space for learning and for thoughtful conversations on larger questions around living a committed and ethical Jewish life Since the first Ramah camp opened in 1947, the Ramah camping movement has grown to now include eight overnight camps and three day camps across North America, as well as the Ramah Israel Summer Seminar, the Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (TRY) high school semester program, the Ramah Jerusalem Day Camp, and short-term educational tours in Israel. Ramah has also been a pioneer in inclusion camping for children with disabilities through its Tikvah, Breira B’Ramah, and Camp Yofi programs. In all, Ramah programs serve more than 7,100 children and teens and 2,000 young adult leaders each year. A $40 million camping network, Ramah creates intentional, inclusive, and vibrant Jewish communities that encourage personal growth and learning, and build networks and connections that last well into adulthood.

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the uniqueness of ramah

The immersive experiences that characterize a Ramah camp or program have a lasting impact on participants, who continue to benefit for years to come as engaged members and leaders in their communities.

Campers Experience Ramah ¢ Sports and athletics, swimming, and outdoor camping and adventure ¢ Cultural arts: drama, music, fine arts, woodworking, ceramics, and media arts

¢ Jewish life and learning: Shabbat, tefillah (daily prayer), text-based learning, spiritual development

¢ Inclusive communities based on Jewish values ¢ Enduring close friendships Staff Members Experience Ramah ¢ Generating ruach, the engaging spirit that epitomizes Ramah ¢ Building peer communities and fostering leadership through mentoring campers

¢ Becoming outstanding, skilled leaders through ongoing training, which encourages them to consider careers in the Jewish community

¢ Networking nationally with peers, sharing experiences, learning together, and participating in a national leadership cohort

65% growth in number of Ramah campers over the last 20 years $2.4 million provided annually for scholarships to Ramah programs Retention rates for campers into their teen years and for staff far exceed averages for the field


I continue to be amazed at the vibrancy of our Ramah camps. Thousands of campers and staff living joyously in Jewish time and space is one of the most important experiences we can provide for Jewish strength and survival. We must re-dedicate our movement’s leadership to building serious Jewish commitment and qualified future leadership, and there is simply no better place than Ramah camps for this to take place. dr. arnold eisen, chancellor, the jewish theological seminary

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Ramah has been such an important part of my daughter’s life and her growth as a young Jewish woman. I have been gratified to see how she has grown in her connection to the Jewish community...to personally connect with Israel is so incredibly special. erica rogina, ramah parent

The Ramah brand has incredible staying power today, recognized by all as a gold standard for Jewish continuity. Jeremy J. Fingerman, ramah alumnus; CEO, Foundation for Jewish Camp


Ramah energizes jewish life year-round The impact of Camp Ramah remains with campers, staff, and families throughout the year, as they seek to stay involved and energize Jewish life in their communities. To leverage the camp experience and the enthusiasm of campers and staff, Ramah has created an expanding set of partnerships with visionary funders who believe that Ramah can contribute significantly to the growth and vibrancy of year-round Jewish communities in North America.

¢ Reshet Ramah is a new global initiative to link thousands of Ramah alumni and other members of the Jewish community in year-round Jewish experiences. Funded with a generous grant from The AVI CHAI Foundation and the Maimonides Fund, Reshet Ramah will create networks and programs to keep Ramah campers and staff connected and active in Jewish leadership. Reshet Ramah will make use of the new Ramah365 mobile app, developed with a Signature Grant from the Covenant Foundation and awarded the first prize at the 2012 Jewish Futures Conference.

¢ Ramah Service Corps is a network of selected collegeand graduate school-age staff alumni working in synagogues and other community institutions who are provided with training, mentoring, and educational support to bring camp-style experiential programming in their communities. Founded in 2009 with a Covenant Foundation Ignition Grant and a multi-year grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp, the RSC program is now receiving significant funding from additional sources to greatly expand the program.

¢ Ramah College Network provides Ramah summer staff members with grants to create programs for Jewish engagement on university campuses across North America. The network also provides resources to help Ramah campers and staff in high school learn about different colleges and universities by connecting them with Ramah alumni on campuses.


Growth and

Ramah understands the power of camp—that it makes a significant impression on the Jewish identity of both the campers and staff— and they focus their program in that direction. Joel Einleger, Director of Strategy for Camp Programs; Senior Program Officer, The AVI CHAI Foundation.


Investment in the Ramah Camping Movement The National Ramah Commission partners with many funders to strengthen Ramah camps and Israel programs. Ramah’s core areas of development and funder partnerships include the following:

Growing Ramah Camps ¢ New camp development

RR  amah Outdoor Adventure: opened in Colorado in 2010 (Specialty Camp Incubator of the Foundation for Jewish Camp; Jim Joseph Foundation) RR  amah Sports Day Camp: pilot program in Westchester, NY, in 2013 (UJA-Federation of New York)

¢ Incentives for new campers One Happy Camper program of the Foundation for Jewish Camp; National Ramah’s Rishon program; individual camp incentive and scholarship programs

¢ Strengthening camp governance and fundraising JCamp 180 initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation

¢ Improvements in the camps’ physical plant Regional capital campaigns leading to $20 million in new facilities since 2010

¢ Outreach to unaffiliated families New “Open Door” pilot program (The AVI CHAI Foundation; Zell Family Foundation)

Young Leadership Development ¢ Bert B. Weinstein Institute for Staff Training

¢ Louis & Shoshana Winer Institute for Rosh Edah Training

¢ Daber Fellowship Seminar ¢ Kivun Training for Camp Specialists Joint program of URJ and Ramah

¢ National Ramah Special Needs Network Conferences 

¢ Alexander M. Shapiro Fellowship for JTS graduate students working at Ramah

¢ Morton M. & Miriam Steinberg Fellowship International travel seminars with youth leadership in other countries

¢ Mishlachat Training Seminar for our 200+ Israeli staff members each year

¢ Ramah Shabbaton in Israel ¢ Ramah Service Corps Training

Children with Disabilities ¢ Ramah Special Needs Network Year-round staff development and training (Neshamot Fund of UJA-Federation of New York; proceeds from the Ramah Israel Bike Ride and Hiking Trip)

¢ Year-round alumni programming (Ruderman Family Foundation)

¢ Voc-Ed program development in four Ramah camps (Ruderman Family Foundation)

¢ Scholarships for campers with special needs and capital support for camp facilities with access for campers with disabilities (The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation)

Israel Engagement ¢D  aber Hebrew Language Initiative (The AVI CHAI Foundation)

¢ Ramah Israel Leadership Initiative Expanded Israel curriculum (Legacy Heritage Fund)

¢ iCenter Initiative for Israel Education (Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; Jim Joseph Foundation)

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Ramah Builds Jewish Leadership for the future A large percentage of leaders and innovators within the Jewish community are Ramah camper and staff alumni. Ramah’s unique approach to Jewish life and learning as well as professional development, together with the growth of year-round networks and outreach, creates numerous opportunities for young Jews to connect and become experienced leaders and inspiring role models. Through Ramah’s growing partnerships with organizations and funders, an increasing number of young people are benefiting from these opportunities and making vital contributions to a vibrant Jewish community.


Overnight Camps ¢ Camp Ramah in the Berkshires

Day Camps ¢ R amah Day Camp – Chicago area

¢ Camp Ramah in California

¢ Ramah Day Camp in Nyack

¢ Camp Ramah in Canada

¢ R amah Day Camp in Philadelphia

Rabbi Mitchell Cohen National Director

¢ Camp Ramah Darom

¢ Ramah Jerusalem Day Camp

Amy Skopp Cooper National Associate Director

ramahberkshires.org ramah.org

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ramahdarom.org

¢ Camp Ramah in New England campramahne.org

¢ Camp Ramah in the Poconos ramahpoconos.org

¢ Camp Ramah in Wisconsin ramahwisconsin.com

¢ Ramah Outdoor Adventure ramahoutdoors.org

ramahday.com

ramahnyack.org

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Ramah Programs in Israel ramah.org.il

¢ Ramah Israel Seminar and

Poland Seminar—summer travel and study tour for teens

¢ Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (TRY) and USY High—high school semester in Israel

¢ Ramah Israel Institute (RII)— short-term synagogue and school trips

For more information on the Ramah camps, programs, and vision, please contact the National Ramah Commission at 212.678.8881 or info@campramah.org.

Jeffrey Goodman National Business Manager Rich Moline Director, Reshet Ramah Alumni & Community Engagement Debbie Nahshon Director of Institutional Advancement Nancy Scheff Director of Communications

Jewish camp provides a great return on investment. Harold Grinspoon, philanthropist; Founder of JCamp 180, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation

Winer Idea Group


Ramah Camping Movement

Camp Ramah was the best thing that we have ever done for our kids. Ever! Laura Miller, Former Mayor, Dallas

The National Ramah Commission (NRC) is the coordinating body of the camping arm of Conservative Judaism, operating under the educational and religious supervision of The Jewish Theological Seminary. The NRC board is comprised of leaders with an extraordinary history of involvement with Ramah:  antor Gastón Bogomolni •p C Rabbi Mitchell Cohen •N Amy Skopp Cooper s•N Sheldon Disenhouse •Ni Dr. Arnold Eisen Np David Engleberg Ni Marc Gary •Np Mildred Gershen NA Scott Glickman Ni David Goldstein •Ni Jeffrey Goodman N Rabbi Michael Greenbaum Np Sheldon Handel NAp Arnie Harris Ni Dr. Barry Holtz •Np

Danny Kochavi •p Dr. Jeffrey Kopin s•Ni Dr. Jeff Kress s•p Daniel Kurzmann s•Ni Dr. Charles T. Mann s•NAi Shelley Maidman Menkowitz •NAp Ilana Meskin Ni Debra Michaud Ni Rich Moline s•N Dr. Hugh Pollack s•Ni Jay Reisbaum s•Ni Dr. Joel Roth s•Np Dr. Gene Sacks Ap Avi Schlesinger s•Ni James Schlesinger NA

National Ramah Commission, Inc. of The Jewish Theological Seminary

Dr. Paul Schultz s•Ni Dr. Shuly Rubin Schwartz s•Np Alan H. Silberman s•NAip Donald Skupsky s•Ni Morton M. Steinberg s•Ni Sharon Steinberg p Marilyn Wind p Legend s Ramah camper alumnus/a • Ramah staff alumnus/a N Ramah parent A Ramah grandparent i Current or former Ramah camp president p Representative of Conservative Movement partner organization

Note: Accurate as of June 2013; attributions may not be complete.

3080 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 • P: 212.678.8881 • F: 212.749.8251 • info@campramah.org • campramah.org


The Power of Ramah: A Passion for the Jewish Future