Monthly Archives: August 2015

Behind the scenes at Kol Ramah – Amateur Radio at Camp Ramah

kol ramahMention “Radio” at Camp Ramah and thoughts immediately turn to our award winning camp broadcast station Kol Ramah, heard on the FM dial at 102.3 Mhz all around camp, streaming on kolramah.us and on your phone via the free android and iphone app.

What you may not know is that we also have a complete FCC licensed Amateur Radio station, N2SJ, (November 2 Sierra Juliet) where campers come to experience the excitement of communicating with other Amateur Radio stations in the next county and around the world.

This summer two participants (Bogrim and Gesher) earned their own Amateur Radio FCC operating licenses and received their own call signs!

N2SJ once again logged contacts worldwide, including with stations in England, Russia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Puerto Rico, Israel, Canada and throughout the US; from California to Carmel NY. We also monitored orbiting communications satellite SO-50. This is in spite of solar storms and geomagnetic disturbances this summer which at times made shortwave communication a challenge.

Radio at camp Ramah is supported in large part through the efforts of the Steve Jacobson Memorial Amateur Radio Association (www.sjmara.org).

To learn more about this wonderful hobby visit www.arrl.org, the National Association for Amateur Radio.

N2SJ is the FCC licensed club station of the Steve Jacobson Memorial Amateur Radio Association.

See you on the radio;

“73,

DE”

Mitch Mernick KC2EFR

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2015 Cochavim – Week 7

We had an  amazing and jam packed shavua  (week) in Cochavim! From our six terrific Arts Clinic options, to our five great peulot erev, to our four days with the regular shigrah (schedule), to our three special shigraot, to our two tiyulim( trips) and finally, to our one incredible rikkudiah  (dance festival), we had a fabulous  time. This Shabbat, we are going to learn about how to bring camp home with us.

Shabbat Shalom!

Didi Kalmanofsky, Rosh Cochavim

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2015 Nitzanim – Week 7

nitzanim 2 week 7What an incredible last full week in Nitzanim 2015!  With so many special activities, Nitzanimers  were engaged in the Arts Clinic which incorporated six specialists for Machaneh Aleph. Selecting a major and a minor, our chanichim chose from amazing programs: cartooning, music, musical theater, robotics, paper cutting, and circus arts.

On Wednesday, we left Camp for the second time this summer on our monthly tiyul. This time, we explored Quassy Amusement Park, enjoying everything from traditional roller coasters to water slides and even swimming in a small lake.

On Friday, Nitzanim participated in bunk trips out of Camp. After that, we prepared for our last Shabbat in Kayitz 2015. L’hitraot Nitzanim, see you in Shorashim 2016!

Shabbat Shalom.

Jon Weinreich, Rosh Nitzanim

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2015 Bogrim – Week 7

bogrim 2 week 7What a terrific last full week of camp! As the summer draws to a close, Bogrim is sprinting toward the finish line! Our final Etgar (challenge) trip was physically challenging and fun for all. Wednesday’s yom daled demonstrated amazing programming concluding with a reenactment of the Revolutionary War. Participating in Gesher’s Tzedakah project followed by the high energy sounds of Soulfarm made for an outstanding day.  We are looking forward to a relaxing Shabbat followed by a trip to Ramah Palmer for a day of sports competition on Sunday.

Shabbat Shalom.

Gideon Weiss,Rosh Bogrim

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2015 Shorashim – Week 7

shorashim 2 week 7Shorashim had an amazing week. Chanichim participated in a new program initiative—Arts Clinic, where they were introduced to  robotics, paper cutting, circus arts and cartooning. We had a blast. In Judaics, campers experienced an inspiring discussion about tikun olam focusing on ways  in which we  can give back to the world. On Wednesday, Shorashim  enjoyed an exhilarating day at Lake Compounce amusement park. During our final Shabbat we will be exploring the concepts of ethics and morals and connecting them to our own personal lives. With less than a week left at Camp, Shorashim is striving to make these few days as memorable as possible.

Shabbat Shalom.

Sam Teitelbaum, Rosh Shorashim

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Shabbat Shalom from Wingdale – Week 7

ResnickAs I walk around Camp, I am continuously impressed by the breadth and diversity of what goes on in Camp daily. This week was no different, beginning with a new initiative, the Arts Clinic for our three youngest edot.We had an incredible week. Jewelry making, drumming, robotics, cartooning ,paper cuts and circus arts were introduced to Cochavim, Shorashim, and Nitzanim, by professionals in each discipline. Chanichim delighted in their interest groups and appreciated the unique skills that they quickly acquired.  Our older campers were involved in hiking, biking, farming, and sports.  Baby chicks were hatched in Teva and we launched a successful two day canoeing and camping trip. Campers scaled mountains and others went water skiing. Tzeirim competed in sports against Ramah Poconos while Shorashim enjoyed a water park. Ta’am 2, our second session of a weeklong camp for entering 3rd graders, reveled in every bit of their overnight camping experience. All joined in for Thursday night’s  Rikudiah (Dance Festival) and Friday’s Boker Yisraeli, organized by our mishlachat.   And, the momentum continues next week, beginning with Yom Palmer and a special Machaneh Aleph adventure.  Yom Seminar and the Gesher play will be part of our final week, too.

Tonight marks our final Shabbat of Kayitz  2015.  Reflecting on  our 52nd season, I realize, once again the profound impact that it has made on so many campers and counselors.  I firmly believe that Camp Ramah in the Berkshires is transformative.  Take a moment to 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.  Thank you for sharing your children with us. Wishing your children a successful year and best wishes to you and your family for a Shana Tova.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Resnick

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D’var Torah – Rabbi Eliot Malomet

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WHAT DOES GOD WANT FROM US?

In Parashat Eikev we find ourselves in the middle of one of Moses’ great speeches. It is a speech that soars with blessing, it sighs with memory, it sings with lovely cadences about the land of Israel, and stings with warnings about what will happen if we forget God.

You will find in it the memorable line, “man does not live by bread alone” (Deut. 8:3) and also the bedrock verse of Birkat HaMazon: “VE-AKHALTA VE-SAVATA U-VERACHTA” (8:10) (Cue the table banging!)  And let’s not forget the second paragraph of the Sh’ma towards the end of the parasha. (11:13-21)

These are just some of the magnificent takeaways from this great speech.  But if I had to choose one great line to sum up the theme of his oration it would be this one:

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you, but to revere the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statues which I command you this day for good. (10:12-13)

That’s it.  Boiled down into an easy proposition.  What does God want? Reverence, obedience, love, service, and performance of the commandments. Sof pasuk.  End of story.

But it’s not the end of the story. Actually it’s only the beginning of the story.  Read the Bible closely and you will discover that there are some other attempts to answer what God wants from us.  In fact, for someone who has dipped just a little toe into the sea of biblical literature Moses’ question here in Deuteronomy sounds remarkably similar to another one posed many hundreds of years later. The prophet Micah, in a riveting oration of his own against the gross spiritual emptiness of temple sacrificial ritual says the following:

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord seeks of you; but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:7-8)

Micah mimics Moses, moreover, Micah modifies Moses. When we place the Micah and Moses messages side by side and we yield a very interesting teaching. Moses frames his question to the entire nation of Israel.  Micah to the individuals who make up that nation.  Moses calls for reverence and obedience.  Micah calls for justice and kindness. Moses wants Israel to be subordinate to God. Micah wants the individual to walk humbly with God.

These two messages compliment each other. Micah might actually be a response to Moses, (and perhaps, if you take the dating of Deuteronomy to be after Micah, Moses might even be a response to Micah!)  Reading the Bible, you can’t read one without hearing the echo of the other. And in truth, we need both of them.

The sad reality of religious life is that one can be punctilious about observance and also be a vile human being.  Even, as we have seen recently, a murderer.  Micah understood that.  When he calls for “doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God” he is reacting to a world where religious observance is detached from menschlakhkeit.  And yet, there is something to what Moses is saying too.  After all, anyone can be a mensch, but the key to Jewish menschlakhkeit is to ground it in reverence for God and the practice of mitzvot. We need the universalist spirit of Micah to animate the particularity of Moses, and we need the particularist words of Moses to ground the universalism of Micah.  We can’t have one without the other.  Both are necessary.

In the chronology of the Bible Moses initiates the question of what God wants, and Micah gives us his answer.  But his is not the final word.  Rather, each generation has to ask this question in its own way, and guide future generations with their answers.

This is our last Shabbat at Camp Ramah.  It has been a magnificent summer for us.  Ashreinu mah tov helkenu, how fortunate are we to be in this wonderful community and how fortunate we are, ashreinu, to be able to explore this basic question of Judaism and continue the never ending conversation of our people.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Malomet is the Rabbi of the Highland Park Conservative Temple – Congregation Anshe Emeth in Highland Park NJ.

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2015 Tzeirim – Week 7

DSCN1459Tzeirim can’t believe how fast this kayitz went by! It is even more unbelievable because our week has been jammed packed with programs!  Sunday’s  pep rally  pumped us for our Monday competition against Ramah in the Poconos. We had so much fun mingling, playing sports,  swimming in their pool and feeling so welcomed by another Ramah camp. Yom Daled  this week was Yom Televizia (TV), and our chanichim absolutely loved preparing and performing actual scripts from real TV shows. Pretending to be news reporters, chanichim went around camp making videos of Ramah newsworthy subjects–both serious and funny. Our week concluded with an awesome Rikudiah on Thursday night and creative programming for Boker Israeli  on Friday morning. It’s hard to believe this is the lastShabbat of camp, and we are looking forward to having a great last week in Tzeirim.

Shabbat shalom!

Mirit Sands, Rosh Tzeirim

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2015 Solelim – Week 7

solelim 1 week 7 This week, Solelim had a wonderful Yom Daled. Yom There’s an App For That,  kept us busy learning different iPhone apps. This was followed by a B-Side Wide Dodgeball tournament. We invited many guests to our tefillot this week, including the lead singer of Soulfarm, Noah Solomon and Cantor Chesler who both led spirited Tefillot. Thursday night, Solelim danced the night away at the Rikudiah! We are all  a little ambivalent about our last Shabbat together.  We will spend time reflecting upon our incredible summer together. Shabbat Shalom.

Deb Pollack, Rosh Solelim

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2015 Gesher – Week 7

gesher 2 week 7It’s been an incredibly unforgettable final full week for the biggest and best Gesher ever! We had a great beginning, with kids dressing up as real life celebrities and Camp personalities, in a Night of a Thousand Stars, on Saturday night. We continued in style with a lavish Gesher prom. On Wednesday afternoon, we raised a remarkable amount of money for tzedaka, at the B- side dodge ball tournament. Gesher rocked out with the rest of Camp at the Soul Farm concert on Wednesday night. The annual Camp rikudiah,on Thursday, was a huge success and the trip out of Camp on Friday, organized by mischlachat, was superb. We wait with anticipation for our last Shabbat as campers and are reserving lots ruach for Palmer Day! Here’s to a memorable final Shabbat as Gesher 2015!

Shabbat Shalom.

Gabe Cohen, Rosh Gesher

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