Experience Gratitude

Anna Serviansky7.23.23

Drishat Shalom from Camp Ramah Darom

It’s a beautiful day at Camp Ramah Darom! The sun is shining, I see happy campers in our pool and on the climbing tower and I just got to sample some fresh vegetables from the garden. We had an exciting week, which included visiting musician Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, the Ramah Bamah and Kochavim musicals, Yom Yisrael and many aidot yitziot (age division trips) out of Camp. Everyone is looking forward to spending Shabbat together after an action-packed and meaningful week. See our aidah highlights and watch the video below for a small snapshot of the kef (fun) we had!

I am full of gratitude for this sacred place and for all the people who make Camp happen. Sollelim’s middah (value) is hakarat hatov (recognizing the good). We show hakarat hatov by expressing gratitude to those who help make our lives better. At Camp, there are many ways in which we show our appreciation. We express thanks for a new day in our morning tefillot, we say brachot before and after we eat and our chanichim (campers) write thank you notes to our kitchen and facilities staff. Each week I share personalized notes with praise from our Roshim (Unit Heads) to recognize those who have gone above and beyond on their staff. If you would like to show hakarat hatov, please join me in donating to the Staff Appreciation Fund by clicking the link here.

The Torah also talks about gratitude. In Devarim, Moshe recounts several of the journeys of the Israelites and he reminds them:

כִּי֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ בֵּֽרַכְךָ֗ בְּכֹל֙ מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה יָדֶ֔ךָ יָדַ֣ע לֶכְתְּךָ֔ אֶת־הַמִּדְבָּ֥ר הַגָּדֹ֖ל הַזֶּ֑ה זֶ֣ה
אַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֗ה יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹ֥א חָסַ֖רְתָּ דָּבָֽר

For the Lord, your God, has blessed you in all the work of your hand; He knows of your walking through this great desert; these forty years that the Lord your God has been with you, you have lacked nothing.

Here too, Moshe is reminding them that though the journey had its difficult moments, they have been provided for and blessed and should acknowledge their good fortune.

This Shabbat, there will be many opportunities for hakarat hatov – for our kehillah (community), for the natural beauty of our Camp and for the time we still have this kayitz (summer) to enjoy our happy place together.

Say thank you to our amazing summer staff by donating to Ramah Darom’s Staff Appreciation Fun!


Garinim (3rd grade)

  • Had a pool party with fun music that everyone enjoyed
  • Loved their yitziah (trip) which included the Fun Factory (an arcade), blackberry picking and ice cream
  • Learned a favorite Camp game, gaga, and had a tournament

Nitzanim (4th grade)

  • Enjoyed visiting the Shoafim shuk and learning Ivrit (Hebrew) during Yom Yisrael and performing their song during Zimriyah (our song festival)
  • Experienced IDF basic training and talked about the importance of the army in Israel with our shlichim (Israeli staff)
  • Looking forward to Shabbat, when they will go on a hike to reflect on their summer so far

Sollelim (5th grade)

  • Enjoyed making food over a fire and eating s’mores on their campout
  • Switched their chuggim (activities) and sports this week and started to explore new areas in Camp
  • Had an incredible yitziah (trip) where they got to see chimpanzees and ended the day back at Camp with a game of Jeopardy

Halutzim (6th grade)

  • Practiced communication and teamwork skills during a fun game of shoe golf
  • Had a pajama party at tefillot (services) and focused on gratitude for things they might take for granted
  • Sang and danced at their Karaoke-rikkudiyah and created their own dances for their friends to learn

Kochavim (7th grade)

  • Presented “High School Musical” in Hebrew for the entire Camp on Thursday night and learned the importance of being beyachad (together) as they performed the final number on stage all together
  • Participated in a Gesher-Kochavim talent show where Kochavim and Gesher campers paired up and taught each other their talents and presented the others’ talent
  • Had a special shirah (singing) with Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, where they learned new songs and sang some classics too

Shoafim (8th grade)

  • Had an incredible yitziah (trip) where they went on a ropes course, explored Helen, GA, and spent the night at a trampoline/gymnasium park
  • Loved watching and participating in Ramah Bamah’s production of “Into the Woods”
  • Excited for Shoafim Shabbat, when they will lead Shabbat services, sing a Shabbat song they learned together as an aidah (age group) and set up the Chadar Ochel for Shabbat dinner

Nachshonim (9th grade)

  • Had musical tefillah (services) with legendary Jewish musician Rabbi Josh Warshawsky
  • Smiled through the rain on their campout, went to an arcade, went tubing and much more
  • Excited to play Ayala on Saturday night (Camp’s modified version of capture the flag)

Nivonim (10th grade)

  • Learned about the Civil Rights Movement firsthand through a visit to Birmingham and Montgomery, AL, where they met with Lynda Lowery, the youngest person to march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965
  • Watched the Montgomery Biscuits win against the Biloxi Shuckers
  • Experienced Israeli music first-hand by learning a song from the 2010s and challenged themselves to nail down the Hebrew for the all-Camp Zimriyah (singing festival)

Gesher (11th grade)

  • Helped write programs, participated in “tzevet limmud” (staff study), competed against each other in “staffsketball” (staff basketball) and hiked to the out-of-camp waterfall on their “day off” during “Yom Tzevet”, Gesher’s Yom Meyuchad” (special day of programming)
  • Learned their last Shabbat song, “Ki Tzarich” with Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, who is visiting Camp and wrote the song
  • Started on the construction of their legacy project, a swing that will be next to the lake and chose a lyric from a song that has carried them through this kayitz (summer) ma norah hamakom hazeh “How awesome is this place!”

Ramah Bamah

  • Put on two amazing productions of “Into The Woods”
  • Said l’hitroat to their Ramah Bamah friends that only stayed for the two-week program
  • Already talking about Bamah for next summer