We are a specialty camp that combines the excitement of developing one’s skills and passions in a specialty area with the full experience and magic of a traditional Ramah summer camp. Come help us make waves in Northern California as we create an unforgettable camp experience and community together!
We all have moments when it is difficult to appreciate the bounty in our lives. Perhaps this is most palpable in life’s transitions or the moments of newness when that which is familiar changes in some way. While wandering through the wilderness at Taverah, the Israelites struggle to appreciate the manna falling before them. They yearn for the delicacies of Egypt, the bounty they experiences while enslaved. As we read in the Torah this week, the Israelites’ collective resilience is tested along with their ability to persevere. They struggle to appreciate the bounty God provides them in the form of manna. They are in a new place, with a different source of food, and a new reality.
Tikvah changed my life. In 1984, I was hired to work in the kitchen at Camp Ramah in New England. A day before my arrival, I was asked if I would fill a last minute opening in the Tikvah Program. “What is Tikvah?” I asked. My experience that summer led to my pursuing a career in disabilities inclusion. I spent a total of 21 years working with Tikvah at Ramah New England and have been working as the director of our National Ramah Tikvah Network for five years. In that capacity, I work with the Tikvah directors of all Ramah camps, sharing best practices, discussing vocational training, staff recruitment, Israel trips and more. Three years ago, I was privileged to have my Ramah affiliations include Ramah Galim.
When I speak about Tikvah nationally and internationally, I point out that there was a lot of pushback in the late 1960s when Herb and Barbara Greenberg proposed the idea for Tikvah. Tikvah opened in 1970 in Glen Spey, New York and soon after moved to Ramah New England. Camp by camp, Tikvah was incorporated in to each camp. We recently celebrated 50 years of Tikvah in Israel during our recent Tikvah Ramah Bike Ride and Hike.
At Ramah Galim, Tikvah was fully a part of camp from the outset. Rabbi Sarah Shulman and the board of directors felt strongly that Ramah Galim should not open its doors without Tikvah. How far we have come in four years!
A D’var Torah on Parshat Nasso by Rabbi Sarah
My daughter Lielle was born a few years ago on a Thursday morning. I pressed the doctors to discharge us on Friday so we could return home for Shabbat dinner. Above everything else, I was hungry for a bracha:
יְבָרֶכְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ׃
May God bless you and protect you.
יָאֵ֨ר יְהוָ֧ה ׀ פָּנָ֛יו אֵלֶ֖יךָ וִֽיחֻנֶּֽךָּ׃
May God shine God’s light to you and be gracious to you!
יִשָּׂ֨א יְהוָ֤ה ׀ פָּנָיו֙ אֵלֶ֔יךָ וְיָשֵׂ֥ם לְךָ֖ שָׁלֽוֹם׃
May God lift God’s face up to your direction and grant you peace (Numbers 6: 24-26).
not the one bought for two zuzim
but they were sacrificed just the same
They are in the field now
chewing on grass
thinking they have perfect bodies
They listen for the approaching footsteps
The violence to come
One cuts, drips back to the divine
will hold the weight of wrongs done by others
they’ll put their hands on him
don’t lay a hand on me
hush. not to injure
just to transmit
to give away
What a gift it is in life when we can nurture a project, a plant, an idea, or a human being from seed to a state of thriving. In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Tazria, we read about the instructions for birthing rituals including circumcision. Interestingly, the Torah does not use just one word for the birthing process, but instead two – tazria (to seed) and yalda (to birth). In a text where every addition and repetition is full of meaning, rabbinic commentaries notice the significance of the presence of both these verbs. Their presence reminds us that any birthing process is just that, a process, one that can be full of stages and milestones, setbacks and miracles.
My greatest joy over the last four years has been witnessing all the milestones and miracles in the seeding and development of Ramah in Northern California, and doing so in tandem with the development of young leaders and of my own daughter who was born just a few months before camp opened in 2016. When I first walked along camp’s shores and dreamed of Havdallah on the Beach, I scribbled down the following words:
Years from now when my children ask where we came from-
I will point here to these waves of familiarity
where the nuclei of any summer
are the unexpected leaders we make of each other.
Close your eyes and imagine an auditorium full of 500 people dancing our favorite Ramah Galim Rikud Dances -Lo Normali and Ba Kalil…. Do you feel the energy? The passion? The excitement?
I personally experienced this incredible image first-hand last week at the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Annual Shlichim Training Seminar. This intensive 5 day Seminar at Kibbutz Shefayim is designed for the young Israeli leaders who are dedicating their summer to working at Jewish Summer Camps across North America. Ramah Galim along with all Ramah Camps are privileged to participate in this program. This summer, we can’t wait to welcome 12 incredible Shlichim to our Ramah Galim community through this powerful partnership.