Monthly Archives: August 2014

Cochavim Week 7 2014

CochavimWhat a week its been in Cochavim. We participated in fun programming like radio and al hagova (outdoor activities) and even special programs like midnight mitbachon. On Tuesday, we spent the day learning and partaking in special activities in honor of Tisha B’Av. We watched the movie Shrek and discussed individuality and also wrote letters to our future selves full of goals we have to make us better people. On Wednesday, we went on our Cochavim trip! We went mineral mining and bowling and ended our day with ice cream and had a lot of fun! This Friday was Boker Tzrif, where our counselors planned a morning full of themed activities for the bunk. From swimming in the lake to try and “find Nemo” to making facemasks at a impromptu slumber party, Boker Tzrif was definitely a highlight of our summer. For our last Shabbat, we reflected on our Shabbat experiences and learned ways to take Ramah Shabbat traditions home with us.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rachel Siegel, Cochvim Rosh Edah

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Dvar Torah — Parasha Vaethanon written by Rabbi Robert Scheinberg


The Torah portion of Vaethanan has been described as the ‘greatest hits collection’ of the torah.  This torah portion includes numerous well-known passages including the second retelling of the ten commandments, and verses quoted in the Torah service and in Aleinu.   But most famous of all is the Shema, which affirms our belief in one God and our commitment to perform various mitzvot as a way to keep this central teaching at the forefront of our minds.

One of the Hasidic masters, Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, made a perceptive comment about one verse in this paragraph, that reminds us of an element of the core mission of Ramah. The verse says, ‘vehayu hadevarim ha’eleh, asher anochi metzav’cha hayom, al levavecha.’   “These words that I command you this day shall be upon your heart.”

The Kotzker Rebbe noted the unusual construction in this verse: let these words be ‘upon’ your heart. Wouldn’t we have expected that the words would actually be ‘in’ our hearts rather than simply ‘upon’ them?

The Kotzker answers his own question:  certainly the ideal is for the words of torah to be within our hearts. But sometimes our hearts are closed — so our strategy should be to pile the words of torah upon our hearts, so that at the moment our hearts open, the words of the torah will slip right in.

I see two applications of this teaching to Jewish education at camp.  Many of our campers learn about Jewish tradition intensively during the year in their schools and synagogues and at home. But it is at camp that they live in a Jewish communal environment and they experience Judaism as the normative basis for the community. For many campers and staff members, camp is as close as we come (outside of Israel) to experiencing Jewish tradition on its ‘home turf,’ as it were. For many of us, camp is where we learn the value of an entire community observing shabbat, or where we learn to interact Jewishly with the beauty of the natural world.  And as a result, for many campers (and staff members), it is at camp that our hearts are most truly ‘open’ to more fully incorporate the Jewish teachings we have learned over the years.

And similarly, there are insights that our campers learn at camp that truly enter their hearts at other times, later on in their lives when their hearts are open to those teachings.  As a Ramah camper for many years (though at a different Ramah camp that shall remain nameless!), I learned so much about Jewish tradition, Jewish life, the Torah and Israel, and periodically even today I realize that these teachings are still entering my heart, as I undergo new life experiences that cause me to think again about what I learned at camp.

As another transformative Ramah summer comes to its conclusion, may our campers’ hearts be open to Jewish teachings in new ways. But we know that the true and full impact of this summer will be felt only in the future, as our campers’ hearts grow ever more open, as they gradually understand more fully what they have experienced this summer at Ramah.

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Shabbat Shalom from Wingdale, Week 7


We have had an incredible week which included Tisha B”Av,  the Rikudiyah, Solelim and Bogrim’s  production of  High School Musical, and a wonderful Boker Tzrif  filled with the most imaginative bunk activities.  Camp is buzzing with energy that will propel us into Sunday’s Yom Palmer (a day of competitive sports against Ramah New England).


Tonight will mark  our final Shabbat of Kayitz 2014.  I am somewhat reflective as I think of the entire summer and the impact it has made not only on our campers but on staff as well.  As our mission so aptly states, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires is transformative.  I ask you to take a moment, too, and think about how much your children have absorbed whether they have spent a full or half season with us.  Allow your children to bring Ramah home….in conversation, in school, in your synagogue, and with friends.  Be prepared to hear new melodies, funny stories and requests for sleepovers with their Ramah buddies.  Enjoy the culture and their new community.


Our leadership team of professionals and volunteers will  keep in touch with you throughout the year . You, too,  can easily get a daily dosage of CRB via our website, photos, Instagram, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Kol Ramah radio.


Enjoy the end of the summer. We wish your children a successful academic year and our best wishes to you and your family for a Shana Tova.


Shabbat Shalom.


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Gesher week #7 2014

GesherI cannot believe we are finishing the last FULL week of camp already! It went by so quickly! This week, Gesher Sport ozrim went on a special go-carting trip and the Al Hagova ozrim hiked together for two full days.Both ozrim groups had a blast! Our b-side wide tzedekah event, a quiddich tornamen on Wednesday was amazing! Gesher chanichim planned the entire event that raised $1,000 for a philanthropy, Save a Child’s Heart, that they selected. The tournament was spectacular and both leaders, participants and spectators were extremely proud. Monday night was Tisha B’Av. We planned a walking “tour” through Jewish history. Connectivity was our theme as we linked connections from personal experiences to the history surrounding Tisha B’Av. Our packed week continued including Yom Epic, the Gesher prom and the Rikuduah. This Shabbat is our last Shabbat as campers and our programming will focus on reflections of past summers Mixed emotions are pervasive as chanichim reflect and imagine their future returning, one day, as tzevet.  Shabbat Shalom.

Debbie Kruger, Gesher Rosh Edah

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Machon week #7 2014

MachonMachon (2)This week we commemorated Tisha B’av with a few different programs: addressing sinat chinam (senseless hatered) and sterotypes, memorializing the Six Day War, and analyzing the causes of the day’s misfortune. During Yom Daled, we created our own films and then had a screening, Oscar’s ceremony and party with paper plate awards for all our amazing actors. Our athletes are putting the final touches on their game play for Yom Palmer on Sunday. Finally, many bunks are having special activities during the day and at night utilizing the ropes course, the agam, and fire pit. It was an exciting last full week in Machon and we are looking forward to more excitement before returning home. Shabbat Shalom.

Jeremy Rose,  Machon Rosh Edah.

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Bogrim week #7 2014

BogrimOur summer together as Bogrim 2014 is rapidly coming to a close. As we look forward to another Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat in the amphitheater, we realize our next Shabbat in camp will be Machon 2015. Starting the week with a meaningful Tisha B’Av,  our campers connected the events that occurred two thousand years ago with more current happenings. We explored the concept of coexistence, in camp  and globally. Wednesday afternoon, all B-side chanichim competed in a friendly Quidditch tournament as part of a Gesher tzedakah event. We danced in the rikudiah on Thursday and today performed two productions of High School Musical, with Solelim, for the entire camp.  After Shabbat, Bogrim will get psyched for Sunday’s Yom Palmer.  Shabbat Shalom.

Gideon Weiss, Bogrim Rosh Edah

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Tzeirim week #7 2014

TzeirimTzeirim had a fantastic last full week of camp! We went on bunk trips (ice skating and bowling) on Sunday, and got back in time to enjoy a full afternoon of our awesome regular activities. After Tisha B’Av, we had a great Yom Been Around the World, during which we created songs and flags for our pretend countries and competed in lots of silly competitions.  We had so much fun dancing at the Rikkudiah (dance festival), and also loved watching the Solelim/ Bogrim production of High School Musical. We’re really excited about Shabbat Sha-B-side and getting ready to move up to B-side next summer! Shabbat shalom!

Paula Sass, Tzeirim Rosh Edah

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Shorahim week #7 2014

Shorashim (2)ShorashimWhat a wonderful week it was. We had a lot of fun during Yom Dr. Seuss on Wednesday, engaged in several activities themed around many of our favorite books. On Thursday everyone enjoyed a spectacular Rikudiah, where we were clearly the best dancers. This morning’s Boker Tzrif was great and was proceeded by watching Solelim and Bogrim perform and amazing production of High School Musical. As chanichim prepare for their last Shabbat of Kayitz 2014, I feel sad that I am unable to enjoy it with them in camp. It has been a terrific summer and I feel privileged to have spent it with your children.  I am now beginning Medical School and confident that Sam Teitelbaum, will successfully lead Shorashim for the next few days until the end of camp. Shabbat Shalom.

Rachel Engleberg, Shorashim Rosh Edah

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Nitzanim week # 7 2014

NitzanimIt’s been another incredible week for Nitzanim! On  Tisha B’av, we learned about its significance, its history, and its modes of observance. On Wednesday, we went to Quassy Amusement Park where Nitzanimers rode awesome roller coasters and got soaked in the water park. We finished off the day with a trip to Carvel and at night chanichim enjoyed  karaoke during our peulat erev. On Thursday, the entire camp danced their feet off to amazing Israeli music at the Rikudiah. Nitzanim obviously had the best performance! We are preparing for a beautiful final Shabbat together as we begin to conclude an unforgettable summer. Shabbat Shalom.

Gabe Cohen, Nitzanim Rosh Edah

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Solelim Week 7 2014


We had a very full and exciting seventh week! We had some fun and wacky peulot erev like a historical reenactment, and some opportunities for learning and community building on Tisha B’av. We danced together at the Rikudiyah and played in the B-side wide quidditch tournament for tzedakah. We channeled our inner Broadway stars in the Solelim/Bogrim machazeh, High School Musical, and it was amazing to see all the hard work of the past few weeks pay off in an incredible production! We have a lot to look forward to over the next week, and as we wrap up our last full week together, we are looking forward to spending Shabbat together as a Solelim kehillah.

Shabbat Shalom,

Zoe Grossman, Solelom Rosh Edah

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