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A Commitment to Jewish Camping

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Betty Behr4.03.20

When I think about which Jewish institutions have been an integral part of my life two come to mind, Ramah and Ahavath Achim (AA) Synagogue Sisterhood.

Our Ramah loving family
My daughter Sara at Ramah Wisconsin with her now-husband Jon Hoffenberg

I remember being 12 years old in Wisconsin and desperately wanting to go to Ramah, but my parents couldn’t afford to send me to camp. Fast forward many years to when my daughter was old enough to attend camp. We had just moved to Atlanta and I still had Ramah on my mind. There was no Ramah in the south so we sent her to Ramah Wisconsin, where Rabbi Loren Sykes was the Director. From that first summer, my daughter fell in love with Ramah and our lives were changed forever! Rabbi Sykes actually had to carry my daughter to the bus one year because she refused to leave camp. She loved it that much. And, my daughter Sara not only met her husband at camp but now works every summer at Ramah Wisconsin assisting with their Tikvah program.

Four years later, Rabbi Sykes moved to Atlanta and became the Founding Director of Ramah Darom. My family was thrilled. Even though my own children were campers and staff at Ramah Wisconsin, Ramah Darom became an important part of my life. I attended one of the earliest Ramah Retreats, served as a Board officer for several years, welcomed new camper families and had a lot of fun! I even had the opportunity to choose the interior furnishings for the Welcome Center and Lakeside Hotel when they were built in 2007. Another proud accomplishment for me was spearheading the fundraising campaign to build a treehouse at camp, as a thank you to Rabbi Sykes when he retired.

The Ramah Darom treehouse

While my commitment to Ramah Darom was growing so was my involvement at my Synagogue’s Sisterhood. As Treasurer, I noticed that we supported various Jewish entities and I suggested that Ramah Darom be added to their list of annual donations. This was not a difficult case to make since Ramah Darom and the AA Sisterhood already had a wonderful history. Eric Singer, the first Ramah Darom President was a long-standing member of the AA, as were his parents, and the AA Sisterhood donated the very first Torah and Chumashim to Ramah Darom when it was first established. I am proud to say that for the past 10 years, the AA Sisterhood has supported Ramah Darom’s Annual Fund, helping to provide camper scholarships in our region.

Ramah Darom campers on Yom Israel last summer

From its earliest beginnings, Ahavath Achim Sisterhood has focused on the education of all Jewish children. We salute not only traditional education but also experiential education that is a hallmark of Ramah Darom and Jewish Camping. As we reach our Sisterhood Centennial year, we look back with gratitude for the community connections we have fostered and we look forward to a future of continued partnership with Ramah Darom. It is my personal wish that all Sisterhoods and Jewish institutions in our region will join us in our commitment to Jewish camping and experiential education.

As a strong supporter of Ramah Darom and the AA Sisterhood, I invite you, the Ramah Darom and Atlanta community, to join me as we celebrate a milestone.

Ahavath Achim Sisterhood Centennial Celebration
April 19, 2020, from 4-7 PM

Click HERE to register online.