Posted on Dec 17, 2019
Executive Director, Camp Ramah in the Rockies (Colorado)
List College ’00, The Rabbinical School ’09, The William Davidson School ’09
When he worked at Camp Ramah in Canada, Rabbi Eliav Bock used the wilderness skills he honed as a Boy Scout to take campers on five-day backcountry trips. “You’d throw them together, take away their creature comforts, and just see how they blossomed,” he recalls.
Though Bock saw the impact on young people of both outdoor adventure and Jewish camp, he didn’t see any program that combined the two. Then in 2009, as a fifth-year rabbinical student, Bock was asked to write a grant proposal describing a potential Jewish outdoor camp.
So was born Ramah in the Rockies, a runaway success that now brings nearly 500 campers and 100 staff to a Colorado ranch and its surrounding tall peaks. Bock, the executive director, says campers not only master outdoor skills, but also forge leadership skills, learn Jewish values, and connect Judaism to everything they do. Parents have credited Bock with creating an environment that allows children to “spread their Jewish wings” and develop a “mature, Jewish neshama.”
Bock’s dream? To nurture thousands of young Jews who take the camp’s values and use them “to make life decisions, live intentionally around Jewish spirituality and environmental ethics, create Jewish families and homes, and realize that Judaism can take many different forms.”