Ramah Camps and Ramah Israel

The mission of the Ramah Camping Movement is to create and sustain excellent summer camps and Israel programs that inspire commitment to Jewish life, and to develop the next generation of Jewish leaders.

The Ramah Camping Movement began in 1947 with the establishment of the first Ramah camp in Conover, Wisconsin. That camp and additional Ramah camps have been maintained as a partnership among the Conservative community in a given geographic area, the National Ramah Commission, and The Jewish Theological Seminary.

Ramah operates 10 residential camps and four day camps in North America as well as extensive Israel programs. Offering programming conducted in Hebrew and English, the camps are a natural extension of a child’s year-round Jewish education. A four-week (grades 3–6) or eight-week (grades 7–11) session supplements what the child is learning in an afternoon school, day school, or Hebrew high school. Ramah camps also offer shorter sessions and “Taste of Ramah” programs for the youngest campers.

The Ramah camps offer opportunities for JTS students to serve as teachers in formal classroom settings, as arts and sports specialists, and as division heads and counselors with cabin groups. The camp program includes regular instruction in Jewish classical texts, Hebrew language, religious life, and contemporary Jewish issues; in some cases, experimental texts are created especially for this purpose.

Ramah also offers an intensive experience in religious life, focusing on daily worship, Sabbath observance, and ethical conduct. As a natural complement to these objectives, emphasis is placed on the creative use of the outdoors and on the development of personality, skills, and interests. A full program of crafts, athletics, the arts, and outdoor adventure is offered. To be eligible for admission, applicants are required to have a Hebrew education appropriate to their chronological age.

Through the National Ramah Tikvah Network of special needs programs, all of our camps provide a summer experience for children, teens, and young adults with disabilities. The National Ramah Tikvah Network provides year-round staff development, training, and mentoring for current Tikvah staff members, as well as for staff alumni.

Most of our camps run four- to six-day family camps in which the entire family—children of all ages, plus parents and grandparents—enjoys an intensive week of family camping, Jewish learning, and family building. Though brief, these experiences have an inordinately powerful impact on the development of Jewish family life.

The impact of Camp Ramah remains with campers, staff, and families throughout the year as they seek to stay involved and energize Jewish life in their communities.

The Ramah Camping Movement has developed several year-round fellowships and leadership teams who work together to engage past, present, and future Ramahniks in communities across North America.

Amitei Ramah is the group of over 70 individuals who spend the year as part-time fellows and coordinators, planning Ramah experiences, programs, and events across North America. Click here to learn more about the Amitei Ramah fellowship cohorts:

  • Ramah Service Corps Fellowship (university students and post-college young adults)
  • Gesher Ramah Local Coordinators (post-college adults and parent ambassadors)
  • Ramah College Network Fellowship (current university students)
  • Reshet Ramah Coordinators (post-college adults)
  • Amitei Ramah Tzeirim (teen leadership)
  • Backcountry Bayit (post-college adults)

Ramah offers extensive leadership development opportunities year-round, including:

  • The Bert B. Weinstein Institute for Counselor Training is held annually in January. Under the educational direction of the National Ramah Commission, the institute provides an intensive experience of Jewish studies and group leadership workshops to a limited number of college students of exceptional ability.
  • The Louis & Shoshanah Winer Institute for Rosh Edah Training is held each May and brings together division heads and senior staff from all of the Ramah camps for cross-camp training and enrichment.
  • The Alexander M. Shapiro Fellowships, established by the Zinbarg family of Congregation Oheb Shalom in South Orange, New Jersey, supplement the summer income of JTS students who spend the summer at Ramah. The fellows also participate in an educational seminar during the academic year.
  • Morton M. and Miriam Steinberg International Travel Fellowship includes college seniors and graduate students who are senior members of the Ramah educational staffs. These students participate in leadership initiatives related to the Ramah Camping Movement’s global outreach efforts. In recent years, delegations of NRC Steinberg Fellows traveled to Argentina, Germany, and Ukraine to establish relationships with their counterparts in local Ramah and Ramah-style camps.

Ramah Israel serves a wide range of children and adults:

  • The Ramah Israel Seminar is a summer program in Israel that couples studies related to Israel with carefully planned visits to interesting sites and an introduction to Israeli society. Seminar, with an optional trip to Poland, is intended for older high school students as a culmination of the Ramah summer-camp experience, serving as a bridge between one’s years as a camper and one’s return to camp as a staff member.
  • Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (TRY) is a high school semester program based in Jerusalem, and open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Participants take part in a fully accredited academic program of Judaic and general studies, along with other intensive educational experiences related to the development of Zionism and the State of Israel.
  • The Ramah Israel Institute offers synagogue, day school, and community groups a new approach to experiencing Israel. It combines touring with formal and informal educational activities focused on a theme of the group’s choosing. Family groups are assigned a family educator who creates a program for the children, as well as intergenerational activities for children and parents during the trip.
  • The Ramah Jerusalem Day Camp is a summer experience for children entering grades K through 9.

To contact the National Ramah Commission directly, please call (212) 678-8881 or email info@campramah.org. For more information about Ramah and for links to all Ramah camps, visit the Ramah Camping Movement online.