In Gratitude to JTS and Ramah

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JTS and Camp Ramah have had a powerful influence on three generations of the Hammerman family. In gratitude, Rabbi Richard and Sharon Freiberg Hammerman made a gift to the Crossroads Campaign, JTS’s ongoing capital campaign, to creatively benefit both institutions.

Richard and Sharon have named and endowed the Freiberg-Hammerman Ramah Ambassadors Program. The program supports JTS students who work at Ramah camps, where they share Jewish learning and programs and help identify and recruit the next generation of promising JTS students. 

“Ramah had a significant impact on my life,” Sharon said. Though she grew up in Greensboro, NC, starting in 1961 she was a camper at Ramah in Nyack and attended several other Ramah camps. As a Joint Program (List College) student, Richard Hammerman was recruited in 1964 to be one of the first staff members at the new Ramah in the Berkshires. Sharon and Richard overlapped there but didn’t connect until later when they both joined the staff at Ramah Glen Spey. 

“Our three children, Eytan, Leah (z”l), and Yael were campers as well as staff members at Ramah Berkshires. Three grandchildren went to Ramah this past summer,” Sharon said. Rabbi Yael Hammerman is a graduate of the Barnard/JTS Double Degree program. Her husband, Rabbi Joshua Rabin, is a JTS Rabbinical School graduate. Rabbi Eytan Hammerman is a graduate of List College, as is his wife Rebecca Hoffman Hammerman, who previously served as List College aassistant dean. Both Eytan and Yael were ordained at JTS Rabbinical School, like their father. In addition, Eytan, Yael, and Josh received MA degrees from The William Davidson School. 

For Sharon’s 70th birthday, the Hammermans decided to celebrate by making a gift supporting both Ramah and JTS. The Freiberg-Hammerman Ambassadors Program was a perfect fit. “I wanted to include my maiden name so that people whom I knew  at camp 50 years ago might recognize my name and be similarly inclined to support Ramah.”

Richard added that the gift made sense from a business perspective: “Our contribution acts as leverage. It will remain invested at JTS, underwriting Ambassadors’ stipends annually and increasing JTS recruitment—while developing future Jewish leaders and educators.”