Sunrise Island at Ramah Darom

Murray Friedman3.14.18

An Anniversary Gift of Love!

It was Passover at Ramah Darom in 2007. We were doing one of our favorite things, relaxing in the sun in the very comfortable Adirondack chairs, looking at the lake and the Island. After a while, Lynn turned to me and said, “It’s eroding, you know.” She had been studying the end of the island closest to the fire pit. “It’s eroding because of the way the water enters the lake from the stream and flows past that end”.

Each year we returned for Passover and each year we studied the erosion. One year, Lynn said, “That big tree at that end is dying. Its roots must be underwater instead of in the island soil.” Year after year we watched the advancing erosion and saw that the big tree was getting weaker.

Island: Passover 2014

Finally, in 2014, Lynn said, “Before things get any worse, let’s talk to Anthony Franklin. As the General Manager of the facility, he will know what steps we need to take. Maybe together we can come up with a plan.” Our first goal was to find out what could be done to stop the erosion. Then we could come up with a plan to restore the seven or eight feet we estimated already had eroded. We wanted the work done to ensure the proper protection for avoiding further erosion yet wanted the result to have a natural look and appearance to blend in with the rest of the property.

Island Erosion 2014

After talking with Anthony, we prepared a rough scheme for using the type of large rocks that were already used to protect the banks at the fire pit. Anthony knew a contractor who had done some similar work for Ramah Darom. He asked them for a rough estimate of what it would cost.

Our second goal was to preserve the trees and shrubs that were still viable.  Next, Anthony called a landscape expert he had used before and asked him to give us an assessment of what could stay and what should be added. He suggested cleaning out the overgrowth, preserving the trees and shrubs that were healthy and then planting new trees and shrubs that are native to north Georgia. The landscaper came up with a scheme and an estimate.

By Passover 2016, Anthony was ready to talk to Fred Levick, CEO of Ramah Darom, about putting the project in the budget. The project would be expensive, given where the work had to be done.

While prices were being gathered, Lynn and I had a discussion:  should we offer to contribute part of the cost or all of the cost to see that it would get done?  Then Lynn came up with a great idea. This was 2016. Our 50th wedding anniversary would be during Passover 2018. As a gift to each other in celebration of our anniversary, we could make a donation of the full cost of the restoration and landscaping. Done!

Lynn and Murray on the Island during restoration

When meeting with Fred, I offered our gift. The details of the plan were approved.  The only hitch was that it could only be done when the lake was lowered for dredging the silt out of the mouth of the creek. That was not scheduled until the Fall of 2017. The dredging began in December 2017 and the work on the island was accomplished in the first week of 2018. During that time, we were able to cross the construction bridge and see the work that was being done, close up.

Island Project: Restoration in progress
Island Restored: Sunrise Island at Ramah Darom

Lynn and I are grateful to Anthony and Fred for getting the project going and to the grading company and the landscape company for the excellent work they did. We are very proud that we had a part in accomplishing the stability and restoration and landscape for the island – Sunrise Island at Ramah Darom.

The island is now restored and landscaped, and this beautification project is complete.

Ramah Darom thanks, Murray and Lynn Friedman for their 50th Anniversary gift of the Sunrise Island restoration and a Mazel Tov on their anniversary.

Find out how YOU can leave YOUR mark and help to enhance Ramah Darom’s beautiful 122-acre campus and Jewish experiential programming, please visit ramahdarom.org/VISION2020.