Ramah

Join Us: "Toward Inclusion: Perspectives on Disability, Social Responsibility, and Belonging”

The Jewish disabilities inclusion community has long served as a model of collaboration and cooperation between of various backgrounds.  The recent Ruderman Inclusion Summit in Boston assembled hundreds of people from all parts of the Jewish world.  And the Ramah TIkvah Network has served Jewish campers of all backgrounds since 1970.  A “typical” camper may come from a Reform background, attend a Conservative Movement camp, and participate in activities sponsored by Chabad (Orthodox) or Friendship Circle. 

The Typical Israel Experience And A Whole Lot More

Eight brave young adults with disabilities from across the United States traveled to Israel over winter break as part of Ramah Israel Institute’s Tikvah Ramah Israel Trip. Most of this year’s travelers are current participants in or recent graduates of the various vocational training programs at Ramah camps. They are in transition to the world of work and, in some cases, moving from their parents’ homes to other living environments. Their itinerary included many of the sites and experiences of a “standard 10-day Israel trip" and a whole lot more.

Ramah offers a Tikvah Israel trip every two years.

Tikvah participants in Israel. Courtesy of Howard Blas

Camp Ramah Darom’s Tikvah Program: Hope for the Future

Editor's Note: As the cold of winter approaches, many parents are thinking about summer and what camps are available for children with disabilities. This week we'll share several blogs about Jewish camping for children and teens of all abilities.

When I was first invited to staff the new Tikvah inclusion program at Camp Ramah Darom and was asked to describe it, I said, “The Tikvah program provides additional support to campers who may not be able to succeed on their own.” Even though I had worked with programs for kids with disabilities in the past—both in schools and in summer camp settings—I realize now that when the summer began, I didn’t fully understand the meaning of support.

2015 Campers at Ramah Darom. Courtesy of Ramah Darom

"Falling Off A Cliff": Vocational Education And Placement Essential For People With Disabilities

When the Tikvah Program for campers with disabilities was started in 1970 at Camp Ramah in New England, no one imagined a day when people with disabilities would be meaningfully included in Jewish camping. Now, 45 years later, every Ramah camp in the United States and Canada serves people with disabilities. The National Ramah Tikvah Network includes overnight camp programs, day camp programs, vocational educational programs, family camps and retreats and Israel programs. At Ramah, inclusion is natural, seamless and expected.

Vocational campers at Ramah New England. Courtesy of Howard Blas

Webinar This Weekend: Inclusive Camping Tips From Ramah

While there is still snow on the ground in parts of the northeast and most people are ready to transition from winter to spring, camp professionals think about summer all year long! We hire staff, recruit campers, host reunions, plan programs and participate in professional development. It is so important to share experiences with other camp professionals and to learn from them.

At Ramah, the camping arm of Conservative Judaism, we are excited to share our experiences in inclusive camping with colleagues from throughout the Jewish camping world.

That's one reason why the National Ramah Tikvah Network is looking forward to hosting an in-person seminar (which will also be presented as a webinar) entitled, “How Inclusive Camping Benefits Typical Campers, Campers with Disabilities, and Camp’s Bottom Line.

Tikvah Family Shabbaton: Not Merely Accommodated, But Accepted and Nurtured

I am filled with the overwhelming feeling of gratifying exhaustion from running Ramah New England’s second Tikvah Family Shabbaton.

Tikvah Family Shabbaton Participants. Courtesy of Tali Cohen

Learning To Be Independent

Editor's Note: We are delighted to share this blog, written by one of the participants in Ramah New England's Vocational Education program about her experiences.

My name is Gabriella Levi. I am 20 years old and this was my first summer in the Vocational Education program at Camp Ramah in New England. I am currently a student at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. I am studying to work in a preschool.

What I loved about Voc Ed was learning to be independent. I liked that I was treated as an adult more than a camper. For example, at Ramah I had a lot of choices for how to spend my time.

Summer Camp, Life Skills and Confidence

Editor's Note: Thanks to our friends at the Foundation for Jewish Camp for coordinating this series of blogs from camp. More voices to come!

We have all heard that Jewish summer camp is one of the most valuable experiences a parent can give their child to ensure a strong Jewish foundation. If you think of it as a construction project, the earth underneath the foundation is the community and together, this community builds the foundation they share.  As each child grows into an adult, the shared experience of community-building in a Jewish context continues to strengthen his or her Jewish foundation.

The author's son arrives at camp. Courtesy Marcia Cohodes

Environmental Learning: Why A Liberal Rabbi Is Hopeful

03/19/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Hopeful.

This is the word I would use to describe my primary Jewish community. Many might wonder how a liberal Conservative Rabbi could use such a positive word given the recent Pew study that many say predict the demise of liberal forms of Judaism (especially the Conservative Movement).

Eliav Bock

Ramah Bikes Across Israel

An enthusiastic group of 72 bike riders and hikers, ages 13-73, arrived in Eilat on April 30 after biking since April 24 all the way from Jerusalem. They made the trip -- the Ramah Israel Challenge -- to support special needs programs at Ramah camps in the United States and Canada.

Howard Blas
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