What’s Happening at Ramah
Ramah Receives $1.5 Million in Grants to Expand
Ramah Service Corps Initiative
New Ramah Funding Signals Major Expansion of Year-Round Ramah Service Corps
New York, NY (July 12, 2013)--The National Ramah Commission of The Jewish Theological Seminary has received a total of $1.5 million from several funding sources to significantly expand the Ramah Service Corps, a program that leverages the leadership skills of Ramah staff alumni to serve Jewish communities year-round through the development of experiential family and youth programming. The Ramah Service Corps, launched three years ago with support from the Foundation for Jewish Camp and the Covenant Foundation, has grown to include an annual cohort of 25 college-age Service Corps Interns working part-time in Jewish educational settings throughout North America. With the new grants from other funders, the program is slated to expand to 40 part-time Fellows over the next three years and pilot a full-time fellowship model for three young adult Ramah leaders in the Metro Detroit Jewish community.
"We first launched the Ramah Service Corps to make it possible for young Ramah staff with leadership skills and experience gained in the camp setting to contribute to the growth and strengthening of year-round Jewish communities," said Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, Director of the National Ramah Commission. "What we very quickly realized was that there is a huge demand, not just on the part of the Ramah staff who want to use their experience to help build up their communities, but also on the part of synagogues and schools who seek to engage these wonderful young educators to be role models and leaders."
The program, which is directed by National Ramah's Associate Director, Amy Skopp Cooper, has created a national network of dozens of Ramah staff alumni who have worked part-time in the Jewish community while an undergraduate or graduate student. The Ramah Service Corps Fellows receive a stipend to organize additional programming for families and youth around Shabbat, holidays, Israel, and Jewish learning, using program resources developed by Ramah and adapted from camp for use in year-round settings. The Fellows also recruit new campers to Ramah and to other Jewish camps. The Ramah Service Corps was recognized by Slingshot in 2013 as one of the 50 most innovative programs underway in the Jewish community.
Ramah has received generous funding together with the Reform Movement's URJ Camps to significantly grow the part-time Service Corps model in order to reach more communities and expand the activities of the Service Corps Fellows in each of the communities they serve. The grant also includes generous funding for scholarships for new campers from the Service Corps communities, to be matched by synagogues.
A full-time Ramah Service Corps Fellowship will launch for the first time in Metro Detroit this fall with funding from the William Davidson Foundation. It will include three full-time Fellows who will work on cross-institutional programming to engage families, youth, and young adults while also recruiting for camp.
"...There is a huge demand, not just on the part of the Ramah staff who want to use their experience to help build up their communities, but also on the part of synagogues and schools who seek to engage these wonderful young educators to be role models and leaders."
- Rabbi Mitchell Cohen,