New York, NY (February 15, 2011)--The National Ramah Commission, Inc., has announced a $200,000 grant from The Gottesman Fund to support the capital funding needs of Ramah in the Rockies for summer 2011. Ramah in the Rockies is home to the extraordinarily successful Ramah Outdoor Adventure camp, which opened last summer in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
The Gottesman Fund, based in New York and Washington, D.C., is making this grant in recognition of the vital work of the Ramah camping movement in perpetuating Jewish identity and future leadership. The grant will enable Ramah in the Rockies to complete necessary site improvements in anticipation of significant camper growth at Ramah Outdoor Adventure, which expects to double in size to more than 200 campers for the upcoming summer season. "What this grant means is that we can meet the huge growth in demand for this summer," says Rabbi Eliav Bock, Director of Ramah Outdoor Adventure. "We already have close to 150 campers registered, and we expect that number to increase significantly over the coming weeks."
Last year, Ramah Outdoor Adventure opened with 120 campers, established with support from a multi-year grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation through the Specialty Camp Incubator of the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC). One of five new specialty camps established with the FJC's support, Ramah Outdoor Adventure had an exceptionally successful first season, offering teens from across the country a wide variety of outdoor activities such as back-country hiking, rafting, horseback riding, climbing, and mountain biking, all in the framework of Ramah's traditional immersive Jewish living. An important element in the camp program is environmental awareness and education, with campers engaging in organic farming and "leave-no-trace" programming. "We are the only kosher outdoor adventure camp in North America with an intensive Jewish educational program, and we also offer a very multi-faceted experience," Rabbi Bock notes. "Last summer we successfully created a Ramah-style community that is strengthened and inspired by the personal physical challenges embraced by our campers and by a commitment to environmental preservation. That's a unique combination that clearly appeals to a large number of Jewish children and teens, and we expect to see our camp continue to grow and thrive."
Ramah Outdoor Adventure operates on the Ramah in the Rockies Ranch, located on 360 breathtaking acres surrounded by over one million acres of national forest, about two hours from Denver. The site, a former Girl Scout camp, required capital upgrades in order to provide for the basic needs of the campers as well as tents, bathrooms, and infrastructure for a larger number of campers. "We are delighted to have The Gottesman Fund join Ramah as partners in this exciting new endeavor," says Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, Director of the National Ramah Commission. "The future of this camp now looks stronger than ever. Ramah in the Rockies fills a significant void in Jewish camping, and will enable us to attract and engage more young Jews in the joy of Jewish living."
The National Ramah Commission of The Jewish Theological Seminary is the coordinating body for the Ramah Camping Movement, the camping arm of Conservative Judaism, providing oversight, educational planning, and coordination on behalf of the network of Ramah camps throughout North America and extensive programs in Israel. Over 7,000 campers and more than 1,500 university-aged staff members annually populate eight overnight camps and three day camps within the Ramah network.
Now celebrating its 64th anniversary, the Ramah network of camps has become an extraordinarily successful Jewish educational endeavor, emphasizing the teaching and daily use of Hebrew language, the fostering of religious and spiritual development, and the strengthening of Jewish and Zionist identity and leadership through extensive Jewish and Israel programming. For more information, please see www.campramah.org.
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