Focus On: Ramah Galim's Own Daughters of Zelophehad | Camp Ramah Northern California

Focus On: Ramah Galim’s Own Daughters of Zelophehad

We rarely think of ourselves as female role models at camp.  Rather, we are the Camp Directors, Program Director, Waterfront Director, and Rosh Performing Arts, our jobs focused on empowering, supporting, and facilitating the safety, education, and creativity of all kids at camp.  But when one looks at Ramah Galim through the lens of this week’s Torah portion and the daughters of Zelophehad, who stood up brilliantly to Moses to fight for their own inheritance, what one views is rather remarkable: this camp community is a place that offers a strong and different voice of female leadership.

There are a million moments when you can feel it at camp:  a tallit-making elective filled with female campers, girls lifting and reading Torah, female surf instructors from Israel, and, of course, female Directors dressed in tallit, tefillin, and radios.  It’s one thing to say that we believe in empowering young girls to be strong leaders of tomorrow, to speak up for themselves, and believe they can do anything professionally and personally, but at Ramah Galim we live it, every day of every summer.

Rabbi Sarah Shulman

  1. What is your role at camp?

Camp Director

  1. What inspires you to work as a Jewish educator/leader?

I love helping others find their own voice, connecting dynamic groups of people through Torah (including their own), and working towards healing through fostering communities of activism and growth.

  1. What’s one interesting fact about your life that everyone should know?

I used to be a hardcore Ironman triathlete, which I think is how I have the energy to be a camp director!  I don’t like talking about how I won the Hawaiian Ironman or any of my athletic achievements, but my strength and athleticism is certainly a driving force of who I am and how I take care of myself.

  1. Who is one woman who has had a significant impact on your life and how?

Laura Lauder – a friend and mentor – her generosity and passion for Judaism inspire me tremendously.  Often, I see camp through her eyes and appreciate what we are doing from her perspective, which rekindles my passion for Jewish education every day.

 

Alana Tilman

  1. What is your role at camp?

At Ramah Galim, I’m the Assistant Director. I work closely with Rabbi Sarah to help camp run smoothly. I spend a lot of my time supporting our Rashei Edah and Tzevet and helping them create an incredible summer experience for all of our campers.

  1. What inspires you to work as a Jewish educator/leader?

I’m proud that Judaism plays such a crucial role in my life. Judaism and Jewish practice is the lens through which I view and live in the world. I’m inspired to create opportunities for learners to engage in authentic and personal experiences that helps them grow as both Jews and individuals. I’m also continually inspired in the power of training young emerging leaders to serve as role models to our campers, the future of the Jewish Community.

  1. What’s one interesting fact about your life that everyone should know?

This is my 19th summer at Camp Ramah! I proudly believe that my many summers at Camp Ramah have turned me into the leader and person I am today.

  1. Who is one woman who has had a significant impact on your life and how?

I’m privileged to have a mom and grandma who have both been incredible educators. My grandma taught in public schools for years and spent her summers as a head counselor at an overnight camp. My mom has always been an educator both in and out of the classroom. Having both of them as strong female role models in my life has always inspired me to realize that I’m capable of doing everything and should pursue each and every dream!

 

Ilana Sandberg

  1. What is your role at camp?

I am the Program Director, meaning I write schedules, organize chugim (electives), work on all camp programming, and a bunch of important behind-the-scenes tasks.

  1. What inspires you to work as a Jewish educator/leader?

I love being Jewish so gifting Jewish tradition, community, knowledge, culture, and practice to others allows me to spread the joy I get out of it. I found my love of Judaism in a camp environment and my various Jewish mentors I’ve had over the years have encouraged me to pay it forward.

  1. What’s one interesting fact about your life that everyone should know?

This coming year I am heading to Israel to staff the Nativ College Leadership Program. It’s a gap year program where we learn, volunteer, and experience Jewish culture. I will be working with kids who are taking a year off between high school and college as well as taking Hebrew calligraphy and pottery classes in Jerusalem.

  1. Who is one woman who has had a significant impact on your life and how?

I look up to Amy Skopp Cooper as a female dugma (role model), specifically within the Ramah camping movement. I plan to work in the world of Jewish education but rabbinical school is likely not part of my path. Having worked at Ramah Nyack a number of years ago with Amy, she stands out as an attentive, knowledgeable, enthusiastic educator without holding the title of rabbi. Having this incredible female model in my life who is consistently excited to hear my next plans and encourage me to take new steps in my path toward becoming a Jewish educator has proven to be powerful and important to my journey.

 

Shirley Kashi

  1. What is your role at camp?

I’m the Waterfront Director at camp.

  1. What inspires you to work as a Jewish educator/leader?

I live in Israel and it was important to me to see how Jewish people feel about Israel, and to share my passion for the sea and Israel education with campers and staff.

  1. What’s one interesting fact about your life that everyone should know?

My second home is the sea. I got my skipper’s license when I was 18, and have been working and competing on sailboats even since …

  1. Who is one woman who has had a significant impact on your life and how?

Golda Meir has always inspired me as a strong woman who often had it her way. Growing up I always wanted to be as strong as her.

 

Mara Dale

  1. What is your role at camp?

Rosh Al Habama (Performing Arts) – directing and producing a show each session with chanichim.

  1. What inspires you to work as a Jewish educator/leader?

Judaism was a large part of my childhood; but once I entered into adulthood, it became more difficult to balance Judaism with my theatrical career. When this job opportunity came up in Northern California, I jumped at it! Theater has the power to engage youth in a fun, cathartic, and educational way. As I am rediscovering my Jewish identity in my adulthood, I’m finding similarities with the chanichim as they too explore their Jewish identity. So I thought, ‘why don’t I combine exploring Jewish identity through storytelling and drama’? Everyone has a story and can discover more about themselves through this process. The kids have surpassed my expectations thus far; and I have absorbed an abundance of knowledge about Judaism through this experience. It has been heartwarming and fun to explore the Torah, Midrash, music, historical events, and folk stories with the chanichim. I look forward to more moments of connection and community as the summer progresses.

  1. What’s one interesting fact about your life that everyone should know?

I love to run, lift weights, and run Tough Mudders (10+ mile obstacle courses).

  1. Who is one woman who has had a significant impact on your life and how?

Ella Fitzgerald has had a significant impact on my life. In her music, she improvises frequently. This jazz improvisation is known as ‘scatting’. Scatting involves knowledge of music theory, a good ear, and bravery. You have to make vocal choices in the moment and commit. Standing up in front of an audience and making up notes confidently on the spot isn’t easy, but it’s courageous. Ella’s scatting has taught me that risks are manageable, fun, and can lead to even greater success. In each riff, I remember to surprise myself so I continue to take small risks every day. I attribute her music to my success as an artist and a person. These small daily risks have led to: a BFA in theater from Syracuse University, a successful acting and teaching career, a cross country move to pursue a master’s degree for which I have a fellowship, the potential of a full time teaching career, teaching at Ramah Galim, and accepting myself for exactly who I am, everyday.