Twenty-five?? I know, I know…we don’t look a day over eighteen.
The Ramah Darom story is one of vision, determination, commitment and a lot of heart. So many people have played a key role in getting us to this milestone year, and we will have many opportunities to thank them over the next twelve months. Please read on for some details about our plans for the year ahead.
Like all great success stories, Ramah Darom started with a dream.
You could say that Phillip Selber, Sol Singer and Morris Speizman are Ramah Darom’s very own Herzls. As far back as the mid-1950s, they collaborated on a feasibility study with the goal of establishing a Ramah in the south.Then in 1990, while on a camping trip with their sons, Eric Singer and Marc Cohen drove past Camp Tumbling Waters and wondered if this could be the site where the dream could become a reality. Over the next several years, plans for Ramah Darom: The Center for Southern Jewry came together thanks to dozens of committed volunteers across the southeast. Our founders envisioned an “educational village” in Clayton, a year-round home for Southern Jews of all ages to come together, learn together, have fun together and build community.
A quarter of a century later, Ramah Darom is proudly delivering on our founders’ vision. Every year (except that year we had a pandemic…anyone remember what year that was?), thousands of children, college-age students, families, community leaders and people of all ages come together on our breathtaking campus. We welcome Jews from the southeast and from around the world for exceptional, immersive experiences in Jewish living and learning year-round. Summer camp is our signature program, but ask anyone who attends our Passover retreat, PJ Library weekend, LimmudFest or any of our many retreats and they will tell you: once you discover Ramah Darom, your heart yearns to return year after year. Our goal is that no one should ever really be an alum of Ramah Darom.
Just before the pandemic hit, our Board of Directors completed a new 10-year Strategic Plan. Central to our strategy is a new “North Star” – an updated vision and mission statement. And at the core of our new North Star is the idea that Ramah Darom brings people together.
Ironically, just a month after finalizing this new plan, bringing people together became substantially more challenging.
But as we look ahead to 2021 and beyond, there’s nothing more exciting than knowing we will be back together in the beautiful North Georgia mountains very soon…praying together overlooking the lake from the Beit Knesset (Synagogue)…going for a hike to the waterfall…doing yoga at the Margam (Lakeside Pavilion) …studying text in the round in of one of the gazebos…making s’mores at the campfire…enjoying late night jam sessions on the Levine Center porch…or singing and dancing together during Havdallah. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is the critical importance of community. We have desperately missed being with our Ramah Darom kehillah (community) and can’t wait to shed the masks, social un-distance and be together again.
BIG PLANS FOR THE YEAR AHEAD
Our incredible 25th Year committee has been working tirelessly to plan a full slate of celebrations. It all begins with A RAMAHrkable Night on Saturday, January 16th. If you have not yet RSVP’d, please do and join us on Zoom for Havdallah, memories, music, laughs and more.
We have many other exciting things in store for the rest of the year culminating with a giant on-campus, maskless celebration as soon as we are able.
We also are excited that later this year, we will unveil a new master site plan for our Clayton campus. We’ve been working to envision the next evolution of our campus and are excited to share our plans with the community.
WE ARE THANKFUL!
As we begin our 25th year at Ramah Darom, we are truly indebted to those whose vision, determination and – let’s be honest – phenomenal fundraising have brought us to this moment.
We appreciate all the volunteers and financial supporters who have ensured Ramah Darom can continue delivering on our founders’ vision.
We are thankful to each and every one of all of you for being part of the amazing and warm Ramah Darom community these many years.
We can’t wait to be together again soon in 30525, and we look forward to the next 25 years and beyond with endless excitement.