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Remarkable Ramah

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Shiri Abramson24.01.20

My Ramah story is remarkable but quite typical. I’ve been a part of the Ramah community for ten consecutive summers, starting as a camper in Sollelim (entering 5th grade) through Gesher (11th grade), going to Israel with Ramah seminar, and returning as a staff member in Kayitz (Summer) ’19 and again for this upcoming summer. Over the course of this decade, the Ramah community has nurtured my Jewish identity and fueled my education; it has enabled me to establish lifelong friendships and provided me with a space to grow. As a chanicha (camper) and especially as a madricha (counselor) at Ramah Darom, I have learned relevant, valuable life skills.

Over the course of this decade, the Ramah community has nurtured my Jewish identity and fueled my education; it has enabled me to establish lifelong friendships and provided me with a space to grow.

Now I am a Freshman at The University of Florida and have found that Ramah not only provides me with engaging programming on campus through the Ramah College Network, but it also provides me with opportunities to expand my skills as a madricha and immerse myself in the Ramah community, like my recent experience over winter break in sunny Southern California at the Weinstein Institute for Counselor Training program during the 2020 National Ramah Winter Leadership Training Conference.

Ramah Darom Tzevet at Weinstein Institute

The conference brought together Tzevet (Staff) from all of the Ramah camps across North America. We spent a weekend together exchanging ideas, expanding networks and improving our leadership skills. Most importantly, the conference strengthened the connection between Ramahniks from around the continent, using the most magical ingredient of Camp: Shabbat!

I participated in a specified training track called “Building Inclusive Communities.” Together, we brainstormed different ways to make our already inviting and inclusive community even more accessible and comfortable to current and future chanichim. During this session, it became clear to me that Ramah Darom has, from the get-go, worked extensively to build an adaptable inclusive community, aligned with modern values. I’m especially proud of our integrated approach to Tikvah support.

Ramah Darom has, from the get-go, worked extensively to build an adaptable, inclusive community aligned with modern values.

The Weinstein Institute provided me with exceptional training sessions and an opportunity to reconnect with my Ramah Darom and Ramah Seminar friends – I mean, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to spend a Shabbat at Camp during the year! It also allowed me to discover a newfound love for the broader Ramah movement. Surrounded by madrichim and Ramah professionals, I realized the importance of the larger Ramah community, which connects people from all around the world who share the same values.

The larger Ramah movement connects people from all around the world who share the same values.

The Ramahniks at the Weinstein Institute may never know what Ramah Darom Havdalah dancing is really like or understand how Mississippi Mud Brownies bring a Shabbat meal to unparalleled spiritual heights, but we all share a love for the Ramah movement and a drive to continue to be active members of the worldwide Jewish community. I started to grow with Ramah as a shy incoming fifth-grader, and my journey with Ramah is not over. I know my Jewish involvement will continue to mature through my connection to the larger Ramah kehillah (community) during my college years and the rest of my adult life.

I know my Jewish involvement will continue to mature through my connection to the larger Ramah kehillah (community) during my college years and the rest of my adult life.

Shiri Abramson is from Hollywood, Florida. She is currently a Freshman at the University of Florida and will be returning to Camp for Kayitz (Summer)’20, for her second year as Tzevet. Gesher ’17, Tzevet ’19