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National Ramah Commission, Inc. of The Jewish Theological Seminary
February 2012
Adar 5772
Ramah's Inspiring Programs for Children, Teens,
and Young Adults with Special Needs

Ramah's pioneering special needs programs offer children, teens, and young adults with a range of developmental and intellectual challenges a full, integrated Ramah summer camp experience.
Special needs programs at individual Ramah camps serve different populations of children and different age groups. Ramah also offers three inspirational family camps for families with children with special needs. Regardless of their geographic location, families are directed to the Ramah camp that best suits their child's needs.

Please forward this email to family, friends, or community members who might be interested in participating in one of these inspiring opportunities, and read on for more exciting news about Ramah special needs programs:


New Tikvah Program at Ramah Outdoor Adventure | Weekly Video Chats for Special Needs Campers
Ramah New England Tikvah Trip to Israel | National Ramah Tikvah Network Winter Training Program 

Ramahniks Staff Birthright Trip for Young Adults with Special NeedsRamah Israel Bike Ride 2013

 Donate to Ramah Special Needs Programs | Tikvah Staff & Families Attend ReelAbilities NY Film Festival   

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Camp Yofi 

at Ramah Darom 
Camp Yofi
August 8-12, 2012


Camp Yofi is a unique program for Jewish families with children with autism between the ages of six and twelve. Parents, grandparents, and siblings are invited to attend and all Jewish families are welcome, regardless of denomination or synagogue affiliation. Ramah Darom is located in the North Georgia Mountains, adjoining the beautiful Chattahoochee National Forest (2.5 hours north of Atlanta).


Tikvah Family Camp  

at Ramah Poconos  
Tikvah Family Camp

August 15-19, 2012


Tikvah Family Camp provides Jewish children ages 4-13 with developmental disorders and/or social learning disorders, their parents, and their siblings the unique opportunity to experience together the magic of Jewish summer camp. Our program incorporates Jewish learning, recreation, spiritual reflection, and plain old fun in the beautiful natural environment of the Poconos Mountains.


Camp Ohr Lanu 

at Ramah California

Camp Ohr Lanu

August 17-22, 2012


Camp Ohr Lanu is designed to bring families together for a retreat of study, prayer, respite, support and fun in the beautiful hills of the Ojai Valley. Children ages 5 to 14 with developmental, social, and physical disabilities, along with their parents and siblings, will enjoy specialized, therapeutic programming in a supportive environment. Families will enjoy an Olympic-size swimming pool, ropes course, hiking trails and more.

 roaRamah Outdoor Adventure
Establishes New Tikvah Program

Ramah Outdoor Adventure We are delighted to announce that Ramah has established a new Tikvah program at Ramah Outdoor Adventure (ROA), the only kosher outdoor adventure camp in North America with an intensive Jewish educational program. ROA's two-week Tikvah program will run from August 2-14, 2012. It is designed for adolescents ages 11-15 with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities, including Asperger's Syndrome and Autism Disorder, who are interested in a rigorous, outdoor adventure program in the context of a traditional Jewish camp environment. 
tikvahisraelRamah New England
Tikvah Trip to Israel

CRNE Tikvah Trip to Israel A group of seven alumni of the Tikvah program at Camp Ramah in New England spent ten days in Israel this past December on a trip led by Howard Blas, director of the Ramah New England Tikvah program. "Israel Through Special Eyes," an article that appeared in the Jerusalem Post, describes some of the highlights of the trip.

While visiting sites throughout the country, the Tikvah group was joined by a number of Ramah New England mishlachat (see photo, below). Howard's article, "A Summer of Love: The Tikvah-Mishlachat Relationship," describes the bond between the mishlachat and their Tikvah campers, as does this blog post.
CRNE Tikvah Visit Mishlachat
 koachRamahniks Staff Taglit-Birthright Israel Trip for Young Adults with Special Needs

Tali Cohen (Ramah Canada), Emily Kieval (Ramah New England), Eric Samuels (Ramah Wisconsin), and David Weiss (Ramah New England), staff members from Ramah's special needs programs, helped to staff a recent Taglit-Birthright Trip to Israel for young adults with Asperger's Syndome. This was the third annual trip coordinated by KOACH in partnership with Shorashim.

KOACH/Birthright Trip to Israel
 donateMake a Donation to Support Ramah Special Needs Programs

Click here to make a donation to Ramah's wide and growing range of special needs programs. Thank you for your support!


We are grateful to the funders of our National Ramah Tikvah Network, the Neshamot Fund of UJA-Federation of New York and the Ruderman family Foundation.
videoSpecial Needs Campers Keep in Touch Through Weekly Videoconferencing

In 2011, National Ramah received a grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation to establish an innovative video conferencing initiative to foster year-round connections among our teenage campers with special needs. These weekly video chats enable our special needs campers to maintain friendships developed during the summer, stay connected to the camp community, and reduce the loneliness and social isolation they often feel.     


Last year, Camp Ramah in New England created "Shabbos Is Calling," a weekly Thursday night video chat for Tikvah campers and staff members (see photo below). Several months ago, Camp Ramah in Wisconsin began "Shavua Tov," a weekly Sunday evening video chat.

Shabbos Is Calling Roberta Lieber writes, "Having friends is what makes most of us look forward to our days, and people with disabilities are no different. Nothing makes this clearer than the big smile on Sam's face when he sees his friends faces pop up on the 'Shabbos Is Calling' screen." (Read Roberta's entire letter)  


Read more about "Shabbos Is Calling" on the Ruderman Family Foundation blog and in eJewish Philanthropy.   


Read more about Shavua Tov. 

ojaiNational Ramah Tikvah Network Meets at Winter Training Institute

Thirteen special needs program staff members, including four directors, met during National Ramah's Weinstein Staff Training Institute last month to share best practices across our network of special needs programs. Funding for the special needs staff training program was provided by the Neshamot Fund of UJA-Federation of New York.
National Ramah Tikvah Network Conference
Click here for more photos and a blogpost.
 BikeRideRamah Israel Bike Ride
April 22-29, 2013

Join the RaRamah Israel Bike RIdemah Riders for 5 days of cycling through Israel on the Ramah Israel Bike Ride, April 22-29, 2013. Following a successful 2011 ride, the second Ramah Bike Ride will once again support special needs programs at Ramah camps throughout North America. Stay tuned for the official launch via email in just a few days.For more information or to register, contact Rami Schwartzer in the National Ramah office, (212) 678-8881. 
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 filmTikvah Staff and Families Attend ReelAbilities NY Film Festival

ReelAbilities logo
The National Ramah Tikvah Network invited New York-area special needs program staff members from across North America to participate free of charge in the ReelAbilities NY Disabilities Film Festival, held in New York City on February 11. ReelAbilities is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.

For the staff members from the various Ramah special needs programs, this marked another wonderful opportunity to get together in the off season, share ideas, and discuss important issues.

Tikvah at ReelAbilities NY

  Click here for photos and a blogpost.