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The Amazing 2013 Ramah Mishlachat

By Guest Blogger Amy Skopp Cooper, National Associate Director

The 2013 Ramah Mishlachat

The 2013 Ramah Mishlachat

I recently returned from an exciting and inspiring five days at Kibbutz Shefayim, training the 250 shlichim–180 new and 70 returning–who will be working at Ramah camps across North America this summer. Together with a delegation of directors and assistant directors from each of the Ramah overnight camps, we talked about the core values of Ramah, the centrality of Israel within our camps, and how shlichim can successfully integrate within our communities.

2013 Ramah Wisconsin Mishlachat

2013 Ramah Wisconsin Mishlachat

Despite unprecedented rain, thunder, and hail, the spirit at Shefayim was palpable. The week is always a highlight of my annual preparation for the upcoming camp season, as I meet and get to know our incredible, talented, young shlichim. They are an outstanding group of Israelis, many of whom have just completed their service in the Israel Defense Forces, and they never fail to inspire. They are passionate about their love for Israel and are eager to share their idealism and their many talents with the Camp Ramah communities across North America. In addition to working and studying, most actively volunteer in various capacities throughout the country.

Our experience together was fantastic–full of energy, learning, sharing, singing, and dancing. Shlichim enthusiastically learned our Daber cheers, games, dances, and songs. Along with our camp directors, our returning mishlachat, and North American staff who joined us for several of the programs, the new shlichim explored issues of Jewish identity and Israeli identity. They shared the best of themselves, inspiring us every day with their hallmark enthusiasm and energy.

2013 Ramah Berkshires Mishlachat

2013 Ramah Berkshires Mishlachat

Over the course of the five days, the shlichim shared their personal stories about the development of their Jewish growth and identity. One returning shaliach movingly described how he celebrated his bar mitzvah at camp. He hadn’t had a bar mitzvah in Israel, and it was his Ramah friends who encouraged him to experience this milestone at camp. His friends taught him to read Torah, supported him, prepared him for the day, and celebrated with him. It was an incredibly joyful and meaningful experience that he will never forget.

After a spirited Shabbat together that created a wonderful sense of connectedness among the shlichim, the group departed feeling enriched by our experience together. With great excitement, I look forward  to the summer, when these fabulous young Israelis will arrive in all of our camps ready to spread their ruach and love of Israel to more than 6,500 campers and 2,500 staff members. They, in turn, will experience a wonderful summer of discovery, learning, friendship, and Jewish growth as members of the Ramah community.

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