Responsibility, Kindness & Inclusion

Anna Serviansky7.7.23

Drishat Shalom from Camp Ramah Darom

Machzor Bet (Second Session) is in full swing and we are so excited to have your chanichim (campers) with us at Ramah Darom. From brand new campers to those returning for their 8th summer to full summer campers who were here for Machzor Aleph and spent intersession with family, everyone is getting comfortable and settling into Camp life. Aidot (age groups) have been focusing on learning each other’s names and group bonding activities to ensure everyone feels welcome and included. It’s been a joy to see your chanichim see old friends and make new ones.

When people ask me what makes Ramah Darom different from other camps, I list three hallmarks: (1) our beautiful, natural surroundings, (2) our approach to joyful Judaism and (3) our commitment to inclusivity and kindness.

Camp Ramah Darom is different. Yes, we want your chanichim to make new friends. Yes, we want them to try new activities. Of course, we want them to experience our unparalleled Shabbatot. And we also want our chanichim to become the best versions of themselves and grow into adults who are committed to being welcoming to all.

At Camp, each aidah has a middah (value) that guides their program. For Nivonim, it is achriyut (responsibility). This middah was chosen because Nivonimers learn about social justice, and in this session, they will travel to Alabama to learn about the civil rights movement. This Shabbat, Nivonim will also lead the Camp in Shabbat tefillot (prayers) and a special opening song.

In Parshat Pinchas, we learn about the daughters of Zelophehad who petition Moses to inherit land at a time when only men could. These brave women stood up to speak out about injustice and were ultimately successful.

As Jews, it is our obligation to help protect those who are vulnerable and excluded. Here at Camp Ramah Darom, we learn to include everyone in our tzrifim (bunks) and aidot (age groups), regardless of their background or ability, to build one vibrant kehillah (community). By modeling and teaching this, we hope our chanichim go out into the world with a sense of achriyut to speak up and make this world a better place.

We are looking forward to a beautiful first Shabbat, building our kehillah and practicing kindness and inclusion every step of the way. Please scroll down to read our Aidah Highlights and watch our Machzor Bet Week 1 video.

Scroll down to read our Machzor Beth week 1 Aidah Highlights and click on the arrow below to watch the video.


Ta’am (2nd grade)

  • Took in all of the new experiences Camp has to offer with their middah (value), wonder
  • Splashed around in the pool and made new friends
  • Learned the names of colors in Hebrew

Nitzanim (4th grade)

  • Learned all about Camp, from tefillah to goal setting to peulot erev (evening activities) to the names of places and spaces around Camp
  • Enjoyed starting their chuggim (activities), sports, swimming and learning their aidah (age group) cheer and Zimriyah (song festival) song
  • Looking forward to their first Shabbat together

Sollelim (5th grade)

  • Played Minute to Win It to learn the names of all the campers in the aidah
  • Had an interactive musical tefillah where everyone participated
  • Started their awesome chuggim (activities) from the garden to theater to omanut (art) and so much more

Halutzim (6th grade)

  • Danced with enthusiasm and ruach (spirit) at opening ceremonies
  • Learned colors in Hebrew and practiced them during fun Camp games
  • Enjoyed a game show night where they dressed up as famous families to learn more about their Halutzim mishpacha (family)

Kochavim (7th grade)

  • Kicked off their High School Musical play preparations with auditions and learning the main number
  • Had a lot of fun at their peulat erev (evening activity) “Trashon Fashion”, a fashion show of costumes all made from recycled materials, where contestants competed to make the best “trashtume” to wear to the “Met Gala” and best B’nai Mitzvah outfit
  • Looking forward to the Kochavim Oneg this Shabbat and celebrating with the entire kehillah (community)

Shoafim (8th grade)

  • Had an incredible arrival day and learned the Shoafim aidah (age group) cheer
  • Learned about each other during their “speed friending” peulat erev (evening activity)
  • Excited for Shabbat and to review the service in our KabShab (Kabbalat Shabbat) bootcamp

Nachshonim (9th grade)

  • Started to learn their song for next Sunday night’s Zimriyah (all-Camp singing)
  • Introduced Nachsho Live through an “Untalented Show” and script writing workshop, both of which were aimed at getting chanichim (campers) out of their comfort zones
  • “Toured” Nachshoville, the area around their tzrifim (bunks) and began to learn more about the opportunities available to them as an older aidah (age group)

Nivonim (10th grade)

  • Welcomed campers into NivoU (NivoUniversity), a program where they specialize in and focus on waterskiing, omanut (art), music, tipus (climbing), fitness or machnaut (camping) and “graduate” at the end of the machzor (session)
  • Learned “StepNivo,” a dance unique to their aidah as a way to come together; the words to Shuva (by Zusha) in preparation for singing it as their Shabbat song and how to take a line from Birkat HaMazon and turn it into a song they repeat over and over
  • Excited to build their cohesion as they grow into being the “wise ones” like their aidah name indicates

Gesher (11th grade)

  • Visited Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC), where they spoke with Ramah Darom alumni Shira Wasser (Chief Leadership Officer) and Jacob Baime (CEO) about ICC’s work on college campuses and about The Geller Fellowship
  • Toured the White House and met with Shelley Greenspan, Ramah Darom alumna and Jewish Liasion to the White House and learned about her roles and responsibilities
  • Spent the night rock climbing at the Philidelphia Rock Gym in Malvern, PA, and will be spending this Shabbat with Camp Ramah in the Berkshires in Wingdale, NY

Ramah Bamah

Camp’s new 2-week musical theater specialty program for 8th & 9th-grade chanichim (campers)

    • Played theatre icebreaker games to get to know each other
    • Read through Into the Woods Jr. together as an ensemble for the first time
    • Learned about Jewish connections to musical theatre and composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim