On Sunday morning June 11, I will participate in a 5K run to raise needed scholarship funds for Ramah Day Camp in Nyack. This will be the first time I’ve ever run in a 5K, and I can’t think of a better cause to support. Camp Ramah has been a crucially important part of my life and my family’s life for decades. I spent six impactful and formative summers at Camp Ramah in California during a time in my life when my Jewish identity needed to be strengthened and reinforced. I have Camp Ramah to thank for meeting my wife—we are one of countless “Ramah couples” who found each other at Ramah. In the summer of 1984 we were both working as Rashei Eidah (Division Heads) for Camp Ramah in New England. We met three months before the start of camp at a gathering at the Jewish Theological Seminary (Amy was intent on being the best Rosh Eidah possible and I was intent on getting to know her!). Our family spent two summers at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, and all five of our children have spent nearly every summer of their lives either at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack or at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. Amy is the National Associate Director of the Ramah Movement and this summer is her 20th year as Director of Ramah Day Camp in Nyack. For us, there is nothing that can compare to a summer spent at Ramah.
Since its founding in 1947, Camp Ramah has provided thousands of people with the nourishing and supportive community so crucially needed for the formation of a strong Jewish sense of self. Ramah is a magical place where Jewish life is comfortably lived every moment of the day, seven days a week. It is an oasis where children and staff need not face choices between Jewish and secular, since Jewish values are a part of daily life at Ramah, from the way sports games are played, to the way people treat each other, to the comfortable use of Hebrew, to the way Shabbat is celebrated as a way of life. Spending a summer at Ramah opens the door to a lifetime of engagement with Judaism. Our sons have all received a strong and deep Jewish education. All five boys attended Jewish day schools from pre-K through 12th grade. Our family has traveled to Israel on a nearly annual basis and we have brought our children to synagogue on nearly every Shabbat and Yomtov of their lives. It’s fair to say that, while those things are crucially important in Jewish identity formation, spending their summers at Camp Ramah has been the driving force in encouraging our children to live committed Jewish lives.
As I train to run my first 5K, I’m proud to be running in support of Ramah Day Camp in Nyack. This remarkable place draws hundreds of children from New York and New Jersey where they find a magnificent summer camp and a warm and nurturing Jewish community. Children and staff comfortably embrace Jewish living, form a love of Israel and find friends that will be with them for life. It is not an understatement to say that Ramah in Nyack has had a positive and enduring impact on the Jewish choices made by countless young adults who spend summers there, learn and develop leadership skills and grow as Jews in ways they could not have imagined when they were younger.
Scholarship funds are needed so that no children will ever be denied the benefit of a summer at Ramah. I ask you to consider supporting Ramah Day Camp in Nyack by sponsoring my 5K run next month. Click on the link below to link to my Scholarship Run page. I thank you in advance for your support and encouragement!