Dear Kehillat Ramah,
Welcome to Camp Ramah’s Opening Day 2020. While we are not physically together in Ojai, we want to take this opportunity to recognize one of our favorite days of the summer. Campers from all over are gathering virtually for Ta’am Ramah (a taste of Ramah) to reconnect with friends and staff. And The Ramah ruach (spirit) is tangible. We cannot deny the feelings of loss we are also holding, but we are grateful for these moments of connection that keep us going.
In true virtual Opening Day spirit, here is a video from Rabbi Joe to offer words of welcome and reminisce on past Opening Days at Camp Ramah.
Even if we are not physically at camp, we encourage you to take a moment to think about the impact camp has had on you. Whether camp has touched you, your children, grandchildren, spouse, or friend, each one of us has a unique connection to Ramah. We invite you to deepen that connection and ensure our future by contributing to our COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
As we navigate what a physically distanced summer looks like, our greatest hope is to come back stronger for Kayitz 2021. We have already reduced a projected $6.7 dollar deficit with difficult internal cuts, operational and capital adjustments and with generous philanthropic support. As of today, Camp Ramah is facing a $3.1 million shortfall due to the loss of summer and our retreat business. We know that we cannot navigate this nearly insurmountable financial challenge alone.
We are deeply moved that nearly half of our families have donated part or all of their tuition back to us. These gifts help ensure our short-term viability and long-term well-being. The impact is doubled by a generous group of camp families who created a challenge grant to match each donation dollar-for-dollar. According to one of our parents, “I never even considered taking the money back. Camp Ramah in California has been our family for 15 years, and I want camp to always be there for my kids, their future families, and all of us.”
Thank you to every parent who donated and to every supporter who made a meaningful contribution to us. We hope that you will invest in the future of Camp Ramah and the thousands of Journeys for a Lifetime that we can create together.
In order to join the families and leaders of Camp Ramah in giving, you can give on our website or mail a gift to our office. Checks can be made out to Camp Ramah in California (Attention: John Magoulas), 17525 Ventura Blvd., #310, Encino, CA 91316. You can also reach out to John Magoulas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-668-2929 to make a gift or further discuss how you can make an impact.
As we gather in virtual community to mark Opening Day 2020, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for our community. We want to be here for you always, so thank you for being here for us. May this kayitz create special memories, opportunities for learning, and the ruach that makes us Camp Ramah.
Ellen Brown, Board Chair
Rabbi Joe Menashe, Executive Director
P.S. If you have made a gift already, thank you.
Our value of friendship recognizes the importance of reaching out to others and being open to communication in return. If there is anyone in your community or network who feels passionately about Jewish summer camp and understands the value of a summer camp experience, please feel free to forward this information along.