What’s Happening at Ramah
Ramah - In Partnership With Masorti in Israel and Around the World
by Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, National Ramah Director, February 2006
In an effort to further Ramah's support for Masorti Judaism in Israel and around the world, we are pleased to report the following:
1. Dr. Joe Freedman, our Director of Ramah Programs in Israel, met this week with Rabbi David Golinkin and Linda Price and agreed on strengthening the connections between Ramah groups traveling in Israel and Machon Schechter. This will include bringing some of our over 40 synagogue groups to Machon Schechter for lectures with faculty, telling as many of our groups as possible about the poor state of Jewish religious education in Israeli schools and the amazing advances of the TALI schools, using some of the TALI curriculum as programs on our synagogue family trips for use with parents and their children, and organizing mifgashim between our many 8th grade Solomon Schechter School groups and students at TALI schools.
2. Each summer over 250 shlichim experience the joy and intensity of Masorti Judaism at our Ramah camps, and then return to Israeli society. As of last year we have been providing Machon Schechter with the full list of names and addresses, so that they can offer our shlichim an opportunity to come to Machon Schechter and study for an advanced degree.
3. We continue to work closely with Ze'ev Kainan, Director of the Noar Masorti (NOAM) youth group, and Director of the Ramah Noam summer camp on a number of projects, as well as marketing and PR.
4. This coming Shabbat, 230 Ramah staff from 2005, including the Ramah directors, and the staff from Ramah Programs in Israel, will be joining together for a Ramah Shabbaton at Neve Ilan near Jerusalem. The participants include many students from Nativ, the Conservative Yeshiva, Hebrew University and other semester or year-long programs of study in Israel, as well as close to 100 shlichim who worked at Ramah camps in 2005. At a Shabbat afternoon session, the shlichim will hear from all of our Masorti Movement partners about opportunities for them to join our kehillot, work for our youth programs, study for degrees at Machon Schechter, teach in TALI schools, and other Masorti experiences. They will also hear about opportunities for leadership positions with United Synagogue Programs in Israel and Ramah Programs in Israel.
5. At our camps in North America, Masorti Judaism in Israel, and the successes and challenges of the Masorti Movement, continue to be important educational subjects, particularly among our staff. This was particularly emphasized last summer when our staff members were encouraged to register for the WZO elections and vote Mercaz.
6. Partnering with Masorti Olami, The National Ramah Commission recently sent a delegation of senior Ramah leaders to visit the Ramah camps in Argentina, and to connect with the Masorti community of Buenos Aires. As reported separately, this trip was a great success and created powerful connections between our young camp leaders and many Argentinean youth leaders.
7. The National Ramah Commission has been reaching out to Masorti communities in Latin America to explore creating special programs at Ramah camps to include Latin American campers and staff members for portions of the summer.
8. After last winter's terrific Ramah Shabbaton in Berlin, Germany, coordinated between National Ramah and Rabbi Gesa Ederberg of Berlin, we will be sending another delegation of senior Ramah camp leaders to Germany with funding from the Bridge of Understanding this spring, to further educate our own staff about the Jewish community in Germany, and to further connect German Conservative Jewish youth leaders with the Ramah camping network.
Ramah looks forward to continuing our deep partnership of mutual support with our Conservative/Masorti partners in helping to build a stronger Jewish future.