Wally Levitt12.30.21
There are many ways we’ll all remember 2021. For Ramah Darom, 2021 will be remembered as RAMAHrkable: the year we celebrated our beloved organization’s first twenty-five.

The idea was to make our 25th year a celebration of all that Ramah Darom has accomplished; to enable our alumni to reconnect with the organization and with each other; and to look ahead to our bright future with excitement. From my perspective, I believe we accomplished all these goals and more.

So at the risk of co-opting BuzzFeed’s trademarked format, here is a list – in no particular order – of twenty-five personal highlights from Ramah Darom’s RAMAHrkable 25th year:

  1. The first night of Camp Staff Week in June, seeing almost 200 young tzevet singing and dancing together after two long years away from their favorite place on earth.

    Staff Week 2021 dancing

  2. The huge smiles on the faces of our young guests during “PJ Games”, a highlight of this fall’s Book it to Shabbat with PJ Library weekend that had been twice postponed due to Covid.

    PJ Library Book It To Shabbat Kids Jumping for Joy

  3. Sharing our exciting facility expansion plans with our community in the summer and kicking-off of our Kadima! fundraising campaign.

    kadima header with map and call outs

  4. Visiting “Café Darom” – the coffee shop fully operated by our summer Vocational Education participants – for the first time in two years.

    Wally visits Cafe Darom

  5. Seeing our alumni participate in a special Ramah Darom edition of Who Knows One? celebrating our 25th.

    Who know's one 25th graphic

  6. The last Monday in August: the first time our Atlanta staff was back together in the office in 16 months.

    August 30 calendar with red circle

  7. The “25 Years of Song” video mashup featuring Ramah Darom music staff from the last 25 years.

    25 years of song video capture

  8. The first joyful Havdallah as one full Camp after two weeks of “podding”.


  9. Seeing the reactions (”wow, this place is beautiful!”) of 8th graders from a Chicago Jewish middle school when they first arrived at Ramah Darom in May for a week-long getaway (since they were, sadly, not able to visit Israel this spring).

    beauty shot of the lake at Ramah Darom

  10. Reading each issue of the “Hill Times”, the amazing newsletter from our Camp Ramah Darom Alumni Association.

  11. Watching Naomi Less and Eliana Light play and sing (and cry!) together during our “Campfire Jam Session” at the Pesach retreat – the first time they had performed live in over a year.

    Naomi and Eliana recording

    Passover campfire with kids

  12. The unveiling of the new Ramah Darom T-Shirt wall on the lower level of the Levine Center.

    t-shirt wall

  13. Visiting Mobile, AL this fall – our first work trip in almost two years – to meet in-person with so many of our original Ramah Darom families and supporters.

    Mobile Alabama skyline

  14. The 25th year RAMAHrkable Summer Celebration at Camp, including the return of the famed Ramah Darom Big Boppers!

    Wally and Anna and Big Boppers

    25th Ramahrkable Summer Celebration

  15. Scrolling through Zoom pages during our “Light up the 8th Night” Chanukah candle-lighting and seeing so many familiar faces.

    Light the 8th Night with Ramah Darom. Sunday, December 5, 7:30pm ET on Zoom

  16. Camp drop-off at the Marriott hotel in Atlanta, seeing all the new and returning campers coming together after two long years.

    arrival day Voc Ed

  17. Our spring Zoom Havdallah led by Joanna Dulkin, the original Rosh Musica (head of music) and composer of “Drishat Shalom”.

    Joanna at Camp 2021

  18. Hearing that we had solidified our first major donor for our new Program Center, the first phase of our Kadima! campaign.

    Program Center

  19. Joining our Nitzanim campers for Shabbat services at Camp that included “Shabbat skits” followed by the whole aidah lined-up along the wall, then “rolling the Torah” (ie. spinning until they were all smooshed together!).

    Nitzanim Camper and skit

  20. The amazing Legacy Video featuring some of our founders telling their stories of the early days of Ramah Darom.

    Legacy Video

  21. Watching new campers learning the Ramah Darom dances during our “Ready for Ramah” Zoom sessions this spring.

    Ready for Ramah Graphic

  22. Opening night Shabbat Dinner during our Pesach retreat, where our amazing Passover community came together for the first time in two years.

  23. Seeing the campers in our older Aidot singing together and sharing their love for Ramah Darom and each other during “Slo-ach” (the time between Seudat Shlishit and Havdallah) on the last night of Camp. (Sorry no pictures because it’s during Shabbat.)No photos icon
  24. Closing ceremonies of Session Bet in August, where we all had the chance to reflect on our amazing 25th.

    Closing ceremony session B 2021

And last but most definitely not least…

  1. The RAMAHrkable Night 25th kick-off event last January: seeing hundreds of current and former Ramah Darom-niks together to joyfully celebrate our beloved organization.

    RAMAHrkable Night video

Wow – what a year!

Huge thanks are due to our 25th celebrations committee chaired by Flora Oynick; to our 25th Year Celebrations Project Manager, Andrea Slomka; and to all members of the Ramah Darom staff and community who have made this year – and the first 25 – so incredibly special.

Please enjoy this Thank You video.

Chazak chazak v’nitchazek! To the next 25!


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