Words of Goodbye & Gratitude | Camp Ramah Northern California

Words of Goodbye & Gratitude

by Rabbi Sarah

On the day I arrived at camp this summer, I heard something that stuck with me.

Rosh Edah Maya Wasserman shared, “I came back to Ramah Galim this summer because I realized after my experience here in 2021 that this place is where I become by best self.” I imagine that many of us who have spent significant time at a Jewish overnight summer camp can probably relate to these profound words. For me, they struck so poignantly in my final days as Director of Ramah Galim both as a meaningful reflection on the transformative community we have built for so many individuals, and because I remember feeling this same way after my first experience at Ramah many years ago.

As I now transition onto the next exciting chapter of my rabbinic career in Denver, I wanted to take a moment and say goodbye. We learn from the legacy of Aaron and Miriam in this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Chukat, that sharing gratitude in the form of harkarat hatov (“recognizing the good”) is a fundamental aspect of saying goodbye.  The Israelites remember these leaders not for their titles, but for their ability to bring people together in love and peace and to find the resources the community needed, respectively.

I too want to thank every family who has partnered with me over the years to give your children, and in turn our community at large, the gift of camp. I have cherished every moment of joy and song and challenge with your children. I want to thank our tremendous supporters, partners, rabbis, and lay leaders who have been the foundation of our emergent camp community that will God-willing outlast all of us. I want to appreciate our site partners at MBA for hosting us so graciously over the year. I want to share hakarat hatov for our hardworking and dedicated staff who give 100% of themselves to the campers and culture of Ramah Galim each and every year. And finally, I want to thank my husband and the Ramah Galim Business Manager, Nate Bankirer, who has truly been my partner in building this camp from the beginning, always behind the scenes doing important mitzvot every day for the rest of us from the bunks to the beach.

Thank you to everyone for working closely with me to create this remarkable community.  I look forward to carrying the unique memories and relationships I have made at Ramah Galim on with me to the mountains of Colorado.  From here forward you can stay in touch with me at sshulman@gmail.com.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Sarah