What’s Happening at Ramah
Ramah Staff Members Receive Top Honors
Jewish Futures Competition
May 17, 2012—The National Ramah Commission is delighted to announce that two Ramah staff members, Rabbi Ami Hersh and Dana Levinson, are winners of the Jewish Futures Competition. This contest recognizes innovators who strive to create a dynamic Jewish future. Ami and Dana will present their winning entry--the Ramah365 app--at the Jewish Futures Conference in New York City on June 4, 2012.
Generously funded by a Signature Grant from the Covenant Foundation, Ramah365 is a social network app that will be available on iPhone and Android smartphones. Recognizing the increasingly central role that smartphones play in our lives, Ramah will ensure that the app offers an easily accessible, year-round portal to the Ramah community. Through creative gaming, Ramah365 will actively encourage Ramah staff members to connect, interact in person, and engage in Ramah-style learning and living during the year. While in its initial phase, Ramah365 will be designed specifically for young adult Ramah staff, the second phase of this project will offer opportunities for teen campers to participate in age-appropriate gaming. Ramah365 will be piloted this summer at Ramah Nyack, and rolled out at other Ramah camps in summer 2013.
According to Ami, "The selection committee [was] particularly excited by two aspects of our application: first, we were able to demonstrate how new technology can help sustain communities of practice during the non-camp season; and second, this shows that established organizations such as Ramah can remain creative and innovative."
"With seemingly endless possibilities in the fast-paced technological world, Jewish education is on the precipice of something truly exciting....As a Jewish educator seeking to bridge the gaps between Jewish communities in a way that is both meaningful and relevant, I am hopeful that this project will be the start of a new chapter in Jewish education," said Dana.
Ami is the program officer of the National Ramah Commission and the assistant director of Ramah Day Camp in Nyack. Ami received his rabbinic ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary this week. He is a Wexner Graduate Fellowship alumnus and an iCenter Israel Education fellow.
Dana is a graduate student at The Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS, where she is a member of the first-year cohort of the new MA Experiential Education track and the pilot semester-in-Israel program, Kesher Hadash. She has worked for eight summers at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, where she currently serves as a rosh edah (division head).
The other winner of the contest is Amanda Gelb, a Fellow at the Innovator's Circle, a program at Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future, supported by the Jim Joseph Foundation. The vision of Amanda's Million Museum Project is to create a set of tools to enable groups of collaborative participants to create, and curate museum exhibits that will be housed in a virtual museum.Jewish Futures Conference--which will be held in New York City on June 4, 2012--and its affiliated competition are sponsored by the Jewish Education Project and the Lippman Kanfer Institute of the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA), in collaboration with UJA-Federation of New York.