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Inspiration at Joint Ramah-URJ Fellowship Training

Michael Fingerman

Michael Fingerman

by Guest Blogger Michael Fingerman, Ramah Service Corps Fellow and staff member, Ramah Nyack

As I returned back to the University of Pittsburgh’s frigid campus just a few weeks ago, I couldn’t stop wishing I had never left the warmth of California and the incredible community I had shared my Shabbat with at Camp Ramah in California. As a Ramah Service Corps Fellow, I spend my time working at Congregation Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh promoting Camp Ramah in Canada and helping to bring the success of informal Jewish education experienced over the summer at Camp Ramah back to the community.

Being an educator in the Jewish community, I have one single unique advantage, and that is my connection to the Ramah Service Corps (RSC).  Having the support of Ramah is what helps me grow as a learner and a teacher. I love being surrounded by brilliant minds that, when brought together, come up with beautiful programming goals.

URJ & Ramah Service Corps Fellows

URJ & Ramah Service Corps Fellows

Since the beginning of the Ramah Camping Movement, young Jewish leaders have been trained at becoming skilled educators throughout the summer. For years, some of the many incredible religious school and day school teachers and directors have gained “best practice” from their experiences at Camp Ramah.  As the RSC network continues to grow and expand across North America, these brilliant Ramah educators have the opportunity to connect and share best practices with each other on how to bring the successful methods of informal education into community schools year-round.

Joint URJ-Ramah Training

Joint URJ-Ramah Training

The RSC training in California, part of the larger National Ramah Winter Leadership Conference, was a truly incredible incubator of ideas, where the fellows had the opportunity to network and share with each other in a setting that was optimal for discussion and innovation. This year in particular, we were able to share much of our time with the URJ Fellows, discussing the similarities and differences between the Conservative and Reform Movements’ goals in the service corps fellowship program.  Working with the URJ Fellows was an inspiring experience, and seeing the approach taken by other camps helped us all gain a better perspective of how truly powerful this network is. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to share our stories of how we work to influence year-round informal Jewish education and promote camp!

Now that I am back on campus, and back to work, I am inspired to keep working as hard as I can to spread the vision and ideas of Camp Ramah to the members of my community. Being an RSC Fellow helps me be the best educator I can be by providing me with the support, ideas and methods to spread Camp Ramah throughout my community.

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