Monthly Archives: September 2014

Yom Give Back 2014 – Jenna Statfeld

Yom Give BackWOW—Yom Give Back was a tremendous success on May 4th, and it is all thanks to each of you. We gave back to the community in so many ways. We had 62 volunteers, 10 team leaders and 5 volunteer sites. We collected and donated 11 bags of toiletries to the homeless shelter at Anshe Chesed. We visited the elderly in their homes, or accompanied them to a Yom Ha’atzmaut concert. We created notes and good wishes for the needy. We decorated flower pots to make the homes of the elderly more beautiful.

Thank you for your passion and your ruach. Thank you for working so hard to make yesterday happen — from reaching out to site after site, to spreading the word to your friends and getting them to register, to shlepping food yesterday when the rain began, to greeting people when they arrived, to setting up and cleaning up, to keeping the energy at Yom Give Back to exhilarating. Thank you also for your wisdom and advice — I learned so much from each of you during this process, and came out of every one of our meetings feeling deeply inspired by you.

I hope you all feel great about how Yom Give Back went — we got a ton of rave reviews both from participants and from camp leadership. I think this will be the first of many Yom Give Backs, and I think this was the perfect kick-off to the more regular presence of community service and chesed by the Ramah Alumni community.

Thank you for being part of this team – it is an honor to be working with you.

Jenna Statfeld

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Labor Day Weekend Re-cap – Annie Zaks

B-10Matt Albert and I had the great opportunity and privilege of following in the footsteps of some of camp’s finest individuals to run this year’s Labor Day Alumni Weekend. With this opportunity and the help of many dedicated individuals, we were able to pull off a successful weekend for families and young adults alike.

Labor Day is always an incredibly good time and this year was no different. The weekend was full of camp traditions like Kabbalat Shabbat in the amphitheater and 3’s and softball on Saturday.  There were also a ton of new and old adventures provided by the Al Hagova staff including rock climbing, the high ropes course, bike riding and picking and pickling your own vegetables from the new farm down on the Golf Course. We were also fortunate to enjoy hours and hours of fun in the sun down at the agam thanks to the help and supervision of the swim staff team.

For me and Matt, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires is near and dear to our hearts. It’s where we met most of our favorite people in the world (including each other), where some of our favorite memories come from, where we grew and developed strong foundations to be better adults, and where we truly learned what it means to be a part of a community. We are both so grateful to have been able to give back by running this weekend.


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Stadium Court Dedication, In Loving Memory of Eric Steinthal z”l

Steinthal SignOn Sunday, August 31st, with over 150 guests and Labor Day Weekend participants,  Camp Ramah in the Berkshires re-dedicated the newly refurbished basketball court in memory of Eric Steinthal z”l.

Commonly known to campers and alumni as the Stadium Court, this location has been a training ground for aspiring athletes and teams throughout generations.  Eric z”l and his  1995-96 B-10 bunkmates, lifelong friends, spent hours practicing on the court. Together friends and family conceived of this project to rebuild something that was in need of repair.  Raising over $76,000 in March, the court was completed in three months time.  Adin Meir,  a close friend of Steinthal z”l,  who spearheaded raising the funds, addressed the crowd on Sunday, recognizing that “If ever there was an organization that taught me the importance of donating time and money, of trying to be a mensch, it is Camp Ramah…. It is this community, this kehila kedosha, that always rises to the occasion  and meets challenges that it is being dealt”

Rabbi Paul Resnick also delivered heartfelt remarks and thanks to Adin, Bruce, Marilyn and Russel Steinthal, the outgoing Alumni Association President, Lani Kustanowitz, and the incoming Alumni Association President, Rebecca Kahn. He remarked that “Eric would probably not be happy with the big deal that we are making over the dedication….Today, we can celebrate  Eric’s life and recognize with joy the incredible efforts that were made to make today happen. ”

Adin concluded his tribute by saying to his friend: ” So, we are on your court, Eric.  The court that you grew up playing ball on, the court where you learned to play, the court where you taught others to play…it will be  used  by many hundreds and thousands of kids just like you in the future. Kids who will be lucky enough to come here for a month of their lives and experience the same kehila and develop similar friendships as you did…now we all have this place, that we love and that Eric loved, restored and usable for many years to come.”

Consider giving a gift to Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. Donations to the Eric Steinthal Scholarship Fund affords children the opportunity to attend CRB. 

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Incoming President’s Message – Rebecca Kahn

Rebecca KOver the past 4 years, I have had the privilege to work with and learn from Lani Kustanowitz.  She has taken RBAA to new heights with her vision and dedication.  Under her leadership, the RBAA has taken on new initiatives and rejuvenated old ones, specifically, creating new initiatives around community service, networking and young alumni engagement. She has done all of this with her unique blend of enthusiasm, spunk, and an admirable devotion to camp. Her love of camp is truly infectious. Spend five minutes talking to Lani, and you too will inevitably become a Camp Ramah lifer.  She is the perfect poster child for what it means to bring Ramah home with you.

I have known Lani since my first summer at camp in Nitzanim.  Even that first summer, she had a huge smile on her face and was eager to meet the next Ramah Kahn.  For many years she was just a  “character”  in my Ramah experience. First,  my brother’s friend, then Jeremy Kaplan’s girlfriend, then my counselor Nava’s little sister, then Rosh Edah of my sister’s edah and eventually the wife of Simmy, a counselor from my edah.  But over the past 4 years, Lani has become my friend and mentor.  Her commitment to camp and creating stronger links between alumni and camp is amazing and I can only hope to follow her tremendous lead. The alumni association has grown tremendously under her leadership, and I hope to continue her legacy.
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Outgoing President’s Message – Lani Kustanowitz

Lani KEarlier this summer, I had the opportunity to attend my 20-year Gesher 1994 reunion as a part of Yom Bogrei Ramah. Friends I had not seen in 20 years attended, and it took only seconds for us to take a stroll down memory lane. My fellow edah-mates, who have not returned to camp in years, were blown away by the thoughtful additions to camp’s facilities and programming. They loved the new “water-mister” near the Girls Kikar, the creation of the Breira program, and the opportunity for younger B-Side chanichim to play on JV teams at Yom Palmer. While we loved our own camp experience, they were touched by the enhancements and improvements, demonstrating the vitality of camp.

Over the past four years, I have had the privilege of being the president of the Ramah Berkshires Alumni Association (RBAA). Unlike many of my Edah-mates, I have returned to camp regularly, whether it is reuniting with camp friends over Labor Day weekend, providing staff-training during Shavua Hachana, or participating in the Ramah@50 Celebration. Through my role as the president, we have provided more and more opportunities for alumni to get involved- through chesed programming, networking opportunities, Shabbat dinners, Golf Outings, Labor Day Weekend, RBA, Purim carnivals and more. It has been incredibly gratifying to watch alumni take the initiative to reach out to the many constituents we now have.

It is with mixed emotion that I culminate my term as president and pass on the reigns to Rebecca Kahn, Gesher 1997. Not only has Rebecca filled almost ever position available within the Alumni Association, but she comes from an incredible Ramah family that has demonstrated great leadership and commitment to the Ramah community. Rebecca’s older brother Zachary (Gesher ’94), married to Jordana (Gesher ’96) has sat on the Labor Day committee for several years, and Ilana (Gesher ’00) has served as our RBAA Secretary and Rosh Labor Day. Rebecca’s experience, most recently as the Vice President of the RBAA, but also as the Secretary, Alumni Representative to the Advisory Council, and Rosh Labor Day, makes her a most fitting individual to serve as the new president. Rebecca has also sat on the CRB Board’s Capital, Development, and Camp Expansion committees.

Rebecca understands the importance of Jewish camping and the incredibly powerful role it plays in the lives of our children. It is with her experience, passion, insight, and soul that she will propel the RBAA. While I end this period with a heavy heart, I am most proud of the wonderful alumni that I have worked with over the past four years in my role as president. I am grateful to my past-presidents, Marc Damsky (1985), Richie Friedman (1976), and Steve Goldstein (1972), who have set the bar high in terms of the potential each president can bring to impact the Ramah community. It is with optimism, pride, and nachas that I look forward to watching Rebecca fill the role of RBAA President and impact future alumni.

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