Blog | Camp Ramah Northern California




Staff Spotlight: Edan Tamler, Rosh Shira

My name is Edan Tamler. I am 22 years old and currently live in New York City teaching music at Ramaz (a Jewish Day School in Manhattan). I say currently because even though I spent the first 15 years of my life here, Israel is my home. When I was 15 my parents decided to make Aliyah and relocated our family to a small settlement in the Southern Galilee in an area called Misgav. As one can imagine moving from New York City to a small town on a mountain in Israel, was quite the lifestyle change. However different, this change was an exciting and meaningful one, that I am so happy my parents made. My home in Eshchar, a mixed Yeshuv if religious and secular Jews, sits at the highest point of the mountain. Almost every night, we can enjoy incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea as the sun goes down (views rivaled only by those you see at Ramah Galim!)


Everything I Need to Know I Learned at Jewish Summer Camp by Monica Shapiro

Are you wondering what you will do this summer? Have you spent sleepless nights debating your options: either return to camp as a staff member or enter the working world and accept an internship or job in your professional area?  Perhaps this decision will be easier if you consider the ways in which a camp counselor experience will help you later in your professional and personal life.


As a therapist and as the Director of Camper Care I would like to share with you some skills a camp counselor or specialist will use everyday that will forever benefit you in a future professional job.  Dr. Marsha Linehan developed a form of therapeutic treatment called Dialectical Behavioral Skills (or DBT) used by many therapists to support positive behavioral changes. Some of these skills are essential in life and, as it happens, are skills you will use almost daily to support the success of a camper’s experience.



Chanukah, the Holiday of Chinukh by Rabbi Josh Berkenwald of Congregation Sinai

Chanukah begins in just a few days.  The Festival of Lights celebrates the victory by the Maccabees over the forces of the Greek King Antiochus IV.  Antiochus had outlawed Jewish religious practices and introduced pagan worship into the Temple in Jerusalem in an effort to force assimilation upon the Jews of the land of Israel.


D’var Torah: Learning Through Tears & Songs of Joy

I have always believed that each of us is a rabbi inside, because “rabbi” after all means “my teacher.” At camp we have the opportunity to learn from everyone.  Just the other day a staff member reflected to me after our last session of campers left on Wednesday, “Thank you for modeling that to be a leader is to be a learner.”


Guest Reflection: Ramah in my Heart, Ramah on my Mind

After my first year of rabbinical school, I knew I had to find my way to Camp Ramah. As a child and a teen, I had not gone to overnight camp, but I knew about the magic of Camp Ramah. So in June of 2001, I piled all three kids into the car and headed to Camp Ramah of California where I served as a Morah (teacher) of Judaic studies for the various edot (age divisions).


Guest Reflection: Creating Sacred Spaces

When we talk about the concept of sacred spaces, we often think about the obvious – synagogues and holy sites. At Ramah Galim, the concept of a sacred space has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

This week’s parsha, Va’etchanan, includes Moshe’s retelling of the Ten Commandments and the famous Shema prayer. The first words after the Shema are the V’ahavta paragraph, or in English: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your might (or means).”

At Ramah Galim, I can honestly say that these words come to life every single day and I’d like to briefly share what I witnessed:


Guest D’var Torah: Camp Holidays

This week’s parasha is one of the more camp-appropriate parshiot for the summer. Va’etchanan has the Shema and the second announcement of the Aseret HaDibrot, the 10 commandments. Before the people come and hear these 10 sayings to live by, there is a verse that illustrates “you came near and stood tachat the mountain” “tachat ha’har.” Tachat means under though is often translated as “at the bottom” since standing under a mountain is rather impossible and undesirable. Chizkuni, Hezekiah ben Manoah of 13th century France, uses the translation of “standing at the bottom of the mountain” to interpret that the people stood at attention, as compared to a verse in Exodus 19:17.

However, the Gemara cites a rabbinic discussion claiming that the people really were tachat, under, the mountain.


Guest D’var Torah: Teach Your Children Well

It has been a privilege to spend the past week up here at Camp Ramah Galim. I have witnessed beautiful acts of hesed, inspired moments of learning and Torah in action. Of course, this camp is uniquely positioned in the landscape of Jewish camping: where else are campers davening Shacharit in the morning and Birkat HaMazon after meals, while filling their days with scuba instruction, surfing, biking, horseback riding, and kayaking?


M’Shana L’Shana: From Year to Year

“הבו לכם אנשים חכמים ונבנים וידעים לשבטיכם ואשימם בראשיכם.”

“Pick people who are wise, understanding, and known by their tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads” (Deuteronomy 1:13).

Amidst the lingering hugs and luggage schleps of the last day of Session 2 this week, I couldn’t help but notice a 4th grade camper wearing a staff radio while walking out of the Hadar Ochel one last time. When I inquired with his Rosh Edah, she explained, “That’s Rosh David; he’s been appointed our Rosh Edah for the last few minutes of camp.”  I smiled at both the theatrics of this moment, and the underlying truism of her words.


Guest Reflection: I Choose Camp

On Thursday, June 7th, I touched down at S.F.O. for the last time on my gap year. I felt a sense of loss and sadness, knowing that my most incredible, lifechanging, challenging, introspective year was coming to a close. 12 countries, 7 months, 16 books, 2 rounds of parasites, & endless memories later, I planned to have a relaxing summer at home with friends and family, as I prepared to head off to college. However, on my last day in Norway before heading home, I got an email from Camp Ramah Galim, where I worked last summer, inviting me to come back to camp for two weeks (one session). Just thinking about getting home and leaving for camp a week later made me utterly exhausted, but upon receiving the email, I began to scream and jump with joy and excitement. I knew in my heart that I had to go.

Last summer, I spent one of my last Shabbats before my gap year at camp, and this summer, I spent one of my first Shabbats home from my gap year at camp. It was truly a magical experience to return to camp this summer, the place that both sent me off on my gap year and received me after my gap year. So, I wrote this piece.