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Why Ramah Works—and Why It’s Essential

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Robyn Diamond1.09.17

 

 

BY ARNOLD M. EISENCHANCELLOR, AND PRESIDENT OF THE FACULTIES; PROFESSOR OF JEWISH THOUGHT

“…I chat at Shabbat dinner with a married couple who met at camp 60 (!) years ago, and are en route to visit friends they met there as well. We agree that the greatest argument for Shabbat at camp is not the words or melodies of the tefillot we have just uttered by the lake, but the fact that counselors and staff are observing these rituals with the campers, who are in turn joyfully inhabiting this Jewish time and space with their friends. Heschel’s book on the Sabbath, for all its beauty, cannot compete with the weekly experience of doing Shabbat in this way. Read more

In such a place, Jewish young people can ask the hard “why” questions about things like Charlottesville and Harvey and receive the kind of answers that last a lifetime. Those answers come in the assurance that life is good and worthwhile—that Jewish life is good and worthwhile—because it contains experiences like those one has at camp, with friends and mentors like those one has at camp, as part of a people and a tradition that have changed the world for many centuries and will do so, God willing, for many more.”

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