Ramah Camping Movement
National Ramah Commission, Inc. of The Jewish Theological Seminary
topTikvah Growth and Innovation
February 2014 / Adar I 5774
In honor of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month, we would like to share some of the exciting growth and development occurring now at Ramah camps and Israel programs.

Slingshot 2013-14
Click to view Ramah Tikvah Network in Slingshot '13-'14
  • In recognition of the National Ramah Tikvah Network of programs, the Slingshot Guide '13-'14 named Ramah as one of 18 leading Jewish organizations committed to fostering inclusion of people with disabilities. Slingshot evaluators called the Ramah Tikvah Network "a trailblazer," and noted "only the Ramah Tikvah Network is creating a cohort of young Jewish leaders committed to promoting inclusion in their future careers."

  • The Ramah Israel Bike Ride and Hiking Trips in 2013 and 2011 raised over $500,000 for needed operational assistance and camper scholarships. We encourage you to join the 2015 Ride or Hike (May 12-29, 2015) to support this important cause. (Email us for more info.)

  • Al Pi Darko, held in October 2013, was the first-ever National Ramah symposium for lay leaders and professionals  in the field. In his introductory remarks, Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said, "Our hope as a foundation is that Ramah's dedication to inclusion will spread throughout the Jewish camping world...Ramah has really established itself as a leader on this issue." All agreed that while Ramah pioneered Tikvah, our continued recent growth and innovation has been crucial, and a source of great pride.
campsAt Our Camps
National Ramah Tikvah Network
View brochure
Vocational Education Programs. With generous funding from the Ruderman Family Foundation, Ramah camps in California, Canada, New England, and Wisconsin have expanded their vocational education programs, which assist young adults in finding meaningful work experiences in camp as well as in nearby towns.

Family Camps. Our programs for families with children with disabilities include Camp Ohr Lanu at Ramah California, Camp Yofi at Ramah Darom, and the Tikvah Family Camp at Ramah Poconos. Brand new this spring is a Family Shabbaton at Ramah New England. Interest in the Shabbaton has been overwhelming, and there is a waitlist for the program. 
 
In-Cabin Inclusion Programs. Several Ramah camps offer in-cabin inclusion programs, including Breira B'Ramah at Ramah Berkshires and "Inclusion" at Ramah New England.
 
Establishment of New Programs. Ramah Outdoor Adventure in Colorado piloted a new Tikvah program in 2012. In addition, both Ramah Darom and Ramah Poconos have been exploring the possibility of offering new Tikvah programs, serving many more campers with disabilities.

Additional Highlights from Our Camps
researchResearch & Staff Training Initiatives
New research has shown the extraordinary impact of Tikvah on participants, staff, and the entire camp population. We hope that this growth continues and we are very grateful to the many, many supporters and inspiring staff and lay leaders who enable this holy work.

Training Institute The National Ramah Tikvah Network provides training conferences and professional development for staff from all Ramah camp programs for campers with disabilities, as well as additional marketing for all our camp programs. The Neshamot Fund of UJA-Federation of New York has provided generous ongoing support of Ramah's staff training. This funding will enable Ramah to offer a new training institute this May for staff working at special needs programs at all Jewish summer camps. For more information, contact Orlee Krass, co-coordinator of the National Ramah Tikvah Network.

israeltripsIsrael Trips
Tikvah Trip to IsraelRamah New England sponsored a Tikvah Trip to Israel through the Ramah Israel Institute this past December. The leaders of this trip were Howard Blas, Ramah New England's Tikvah Director and a Covenant Award winner for his work with Tikvah, and Tali Cohen, the camp's new Director of Vocational Services. Read more about this exciting trip.

Teens with disabilities successfully attended Ramah Israel Seminar in 2013. Ramah Seminar will continue to include participants with disabilities. Read a reflection from one of last summer's staff members.  

 
inthemediaIn the Media
Our programs for children, teens, and young adults with disabilities were featured in the media frequently during this past year. Recently, Ramah was highlighted in "Jewish Camps Welcoming More Children with Disabilities" (JTA) and "The List: Biggest Inclusion Plays and Players of 2013" (The Jewish Week). Many more articles and blog posts can be found on our website at the following links: 
camphighlightsCamp Highlights Summer 2013
Berkshires

California
Beit Breira
Beit Breira at Ramah Berkshires

Staff at Ramah California

B'reira B'Ramah at Ramah Berkshires is a fully integrated inclusion program for campers with the often invisible challenges of learning, emotional, and/or behavioral disabilities. Breira B'Ramah campers are largely indistinguishable from their peers; they participate in all camp activities with minimal modifications. What enables these campers to be successful at camp is a group of caring, talented counselors who serve as their shadows, mentors and coaches. Read morecanadadarom

Ramah California's programs for campers with disabilities were featured in "Camp: Living and Learning Together," highlighting the young leaders who strongly feel the impact of these programs within their own camp experience. This summer, two members of the Mador program (training for first-year counselors) had the opportunity to spend the summer working with campers in the Tikvah program. "[My campers] taught me so much of human nature and how unique each person is," says Elianna D. "I learned more about myself than I ever have before." Read more
Canada

Darom
Tikvah at Ramah Canada

Camp Yofi at Ramah Darom
At Ramah Canada, tutoring is a way for Tikvah and Magshimim campers (entering 10th grade) to bond. "I feel honored to have amazing tutors every year," says Maya, a Tikvah camper. (Read "Tutoring with Tikvah," by Maya and her tutors, RJ and Teddy.) The Alonim campers (entering 11th grade), have the opportunity to be CITs for the Tikvah edah. "Being Tikvah CITs is one of the best parts of our summer. We will take the amazing experiences of this summer and treasure them for the rest of our lives," say Max L. and Maxwell C. Read more

Participants in the ninth summer of Camp Yofi at Ramah Darom had the honor of celebrating the b'nai mitzvah of three campers and one sibling, one of many beautiful and meaningful moments during this very special week-long experience. The talent show again proved to be a moving event, as campers and siblings had the rare opportunity to take the stage in a supportive environment. New this summer was a carnival before Havdallah, during which campers moved from booth to booth participating in Shabbat-appropriate carnival games. Read more  
newenglandpoconosNew England

Poconos

Tikvah Family Camp
Tikvah Family Camp at Ramah Poconos
For over two decades,
the Tochnit HaAvodah (vocational education) program at Ramah New England has helped young adults with special needs build much-needed vocational and social skills in a supportive and inclusive Jewish environment. In a new video, Ramah New England staff members and program participants describe this inspirational program. Read more

For the past five years, Ramah Poconos has opened its gates to families with children with disabilities to participate in Tikvah Family Camp, a five-day family overnight camping experience. With activities like swimming, boating, arts & crafts, singing and dancing and special performances by "The Bible Players," the 2013 program was outstanding! Read moreroawisconsin
Ramah Outdoor Adventure

Wisconsin
Camping Excursion at Ramah Outdoors

Tikvah Arts Festival 2013
Tikvah Arts Festival at Ramah Wisconsin
The Tikvah program at Ramah Outdoor Adventure, established in 2012, continued to thrive in summer 2013. Building on the incredible programming from the inaugural summer, one of this summer's highlights was the extended masa (overnight camping excursion), which was extended to two nights. Before the overnight, Tikvah campers and staff carefully packed their hiking packs and prepared for their adventure. Every camper saddled up his or her horse and rode off to the first campsite. Read more

Campers in the Ramah Wisconsin Tikvah program and their Machon (entering 10th grade) chaverim (friends), presented the Tikvah Arts Festival, a culmination of four weeks of study, planning, writing and rehearsal. Based on Tikvah's summer theme "V'ha'ikar Lo L'facheid K'lal (And the essence is not to fear at all)," the campers presented works of drama, visual art and dance. The campers and staff worked together for the first part of the summer in each of the areas to create the festival. Read more

daycampsDay Camps
Ramah Day Camp - Chicago area hosts a day camp experience for children ages 5-11 with a wide range of disabilities. Read more

Ramah Day Camp in Nyack was recently featured in a meaningful article written by the parent of a young girl with disabilities. Read more

Ramah Day Camp - Philadelphia partners with outside consultants to offer services such as speech/language therapy and social skills support during the camp day. Read more  
campvideosCamp Videos
California Ezra Video

California Ezra Voc Ed

Canada
Canada Tikvah

Camp Yofi at Camp Ramah Darom
Camp Yofi at Ramah Darom

New England Tikvah
New England Tikvah

Ramah Outdoor Adventure
Ramah Outdoors Tikvah

Ramah Wisconsin Tikvah
Wisconsin Tikvah

donateSupport the National Ramah Tikvah Network
Click here to make a donation to Ramah's inspirational programs for campers with disabilities. Thank you for your support!
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Ramah is the camping arm of Conservative Judaism. Together, our programs provide Ramah experiences for 10,000 children, teens, and young adults annually. The National Ramah Commission of The Jewish Theological Seminary provides oversight and educational planning on behalf of the network of Ramah camps throughout North America and Israel.