Camp Ramah in California stands with the State of Israel and with our mishlachat (Israeli staff), alumni, families, and friends who are enduring unspeakable grief following the events of October 7, 2023.
Since its inception nearly seventy years ago, Camp Ramah in California has forged deep connections with our brothers and sisters in Israel. Those under attack are our alumni who made aliyah; campers and their families; tzevet (staff) on gap year experiences; and hundreds of former shlichim (emissaries), who have become family and an integral part of our camp community. We have had the gift of living with them, learning from them, and creating lasting lifelong relationships that extend past their time at camp. Ramah is not Ramah without them.
To our family in Israel –לִבִּי בְמִזְרָח – our hearts are with you as we stand in unwavering solidarity and support, praying for your safety and for the whole State of Israel. We have been in touch with our Mishlachat from this past kayitz and they are all safe, but many have been called back to reserves. We have connected with our tzevet who are spending their gap year in Israel; they too are safe.
“A cry is heard in Ramah —Wailing, bitter weeping—Rachel weeping for her children. She refuses to be comforted for her children who are gone…” (Jeremiah 31:15)
The Ramah movement had decided to centralize its communications regarding Israel support at this time through the National Ramah Commission. Click here for NRC’s central hub or click the button below:
TAKING ACTION – OLAM CHESED YIBANEH
- Postcards to our Israeli Staff: This past Kayitz (Summer), our chanichim (campers) had the privilege of having members of our mishlachat, our Israeli staff, as their madrichim (counselors), sports instructors, teachers, and chug leaders. This allowed our chanichim to build and deepen their connection to Israel and Israeli culture. While many of our staff in Israel may be back on army bases or just living in the aftermath of these current events, we want to encourage our community to send them words of prayer and love. These can be letters, pictures, or you can use this template to send them messages. A list of our 2023 mishlachat can be found here. Please email these to email@example.com with the subject line “Letters for Mishlachat.” If you have a physical letter, please contact Michal for a drop off either at our Encino office or at a city location.
- Videos of Encouragement: Over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing videos of encouragement for our mishlachat and families/chanichim living, serving, and studying in Israel. If you’d like to take part in this social media campaign, please send a 20-30 second video to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Add to our Kudoboard: If you’d like to share a brief message with our past mishlachot and the rest of our kehillah (community) in Israel, you can post it on our kudoboard. Click here.
- Some of the many ways to donate:
- The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is collecting donations for its Israel in Crisis Fund. All donations will be matched, doubling your impact. Click here.
- Kayitz 2023 Rosh Chinuch Rav Na’ama: In the last few days, I have received countless requests for medical equipment, support for evacuated citizens who lost their homes, and demand for food and military equipment for soldiers. In order to respond to these requests swiftly, I have teamed up with the civil command center in Jerusalem to help organize and mobilize supplies throughout the country according to the needs that arise. We have already provided meals and shelter to evacuees, equipment to soldiers (including my brother’s unit on the Lebanon border), and much more. The efforts are ongoing and many people are working around the clock to make sure all of the needs are met. If you would like to support this cause here is the link for a tax-deductible donation (all funds go directly to purchase equipment or pay suppliers) https://www.americaisraeldemocracy.org/savingoursharedhome (Please specify that the donation is for the civil command center)
- Ramah community member Nachum P. has been working with Kibbutz Nir Oz, which was destroyed, on a campaign to help support the families who are scattered around the country right now.
- Two Ramah alumni have raised more than $578,000 for Magen David Adom. You can join their efforts by donating directly: click here.
To support ongoing efforts in Israel, including those impacting our Ramah community, Ramah Israel has launched the Ramah Israel Relief and Support Fund. These funds will be used to purchase and directly distribute to the IDF essential items such as military-grade clothing, medical supplies, toiletries, field mattresses, and sleeping bags. Click here.
As camp professionals who work with children and teens, we know that many of us are navigating how best to talk with our kids about the events unfolding, how to find the words, how to find the space for our own emotions, how to offer acts of chesed (kindness) and how to support one another.
Supporting our Children and Teens
Our kids and teens are looking to us for cues for how to navigate and process what they are hearing, seeing, and feeling. We can support them by finding age-appropriate ways to open space for conversation and expression, by following their lead in answering questions, by limiting their exposure to videos and imagery, and by offering opportunities to come together and to act.
- LISTEN: How to Talk with Children About Israel – A recorded webinar from the Jewish Education Project
- READ: How to Talk to Kids About What’s Happening in Israel Right Now – An article by social scientist Sivan Zakai, Ph.D.
- How to Talk to Children About the Conflict in Israel – An article by Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher, LCSW
- Resources for Talking About Israel – An article by Dori Kirshner of Matan: Building Inclusive Communities
- REACH OUT: Email our Director of Camper Care and Staff Wellness, Dr. Aviva Levine Jacobs at email@example.com if you’d like information about drop-in mental health support for teens and parents or to connect one-on-one.
Sunday, October 8: “Our Hearts are in the East”
Wednesday, October 11: “Our Hearts are With You”
Wednesday, October 11: “Ramah is Here for You”
Wednesday, October 11: “Ramah’s Ongoing Support and Resources”
Wednesday, October 18: “Taking Action to Support Our Mishlachat”
Friday, November 17: “How Ramah Supports Israel Education”