Kerem Takes NYC (and White Plains, too)

“Kerem” is a cohort of young Ramah professionals in their 20s, all of whom are working at NRC or at our camp offices all around North America. Almost all of the positions filled by these outstanding camp leaders didn’t exist just a few years ago, so the existence of this cohort is a sign of the growth of many of our camp operations and National Ramah initiatives. The group is dedicated to professional development, Jewish nurturing, and social networking.

Kerem Studying At Hadar

Kerem at Yeshivat Hadar

Under the auspices of Reshet Ramah, the group came together last Thursday at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) for our second retreat this year. We spent time sharing professional challenges and successes, and talking about the impact of new Reshet Ramah young alumni programming, including the newly launched Find Alumni directory. JTS Dean Shuly Rubin Schwartz, a Ramah alum, taught us about some of the early history of Ramah and led a discussion about the core values that created Ramah and continue to sustain us.
On Friday, we met at Yeshivat Hadar for Shacharit and text study. Rabbi Ethan Tucker (another Ramah alum) taught us biblical and rabbinic texts on leadership models and we learned in havruta with the Hadar Fellows.

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Kerem at the Google offices in NYC

Later we received a tour of the amazing New York offices of Google, and learned some of Google’s unique management strategies from two Ramah alumni working there, Shira Gilboa (Nyack) and Simon Brief (Berkshires).

We traveled to White Plains, NY, for Shabbat. Kabbalat Shabbat davening (in my living room) was fabulous, and we enjoyed a relaxed meal followed by spirited singing and shmoozing late into the night. We joined the Havurah minyan at Temple Israel Center on Shabbat morning, where Kerem Ramahniks led almost the entire service. (Throughout Shabbat, congregants kept asking me if I could bring this young enthusiastic group to our shul more often!)

On Shabbat afternoon, we talked with Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, head of the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) and the parent of a Ramah camper, about the Conservative Movement, the RA, and the importance of Ramah for our future. Later in the afternoon, we all walked over to the home of Rabbi Gordon Tucker (a Ramah staff alumnus), who shared some analysis of the Pew Report as well as a modern interpretation of the Haggada’s Four Sons.

Over Seudah Shlishit, we strategized about ways to come together next year. It was wonderful for me to see this group bond further, solidifying friendships and professional relationships that will keep our Ramah movement better connected.

The 20 participants in last week’s Kerem activities:

From the NRC office:
Laura Belinfante (California)
Becca Braverman (New England)
Eva Jablow (New England)
Dana Levinson (Nyack)
David Offit (New England)
Jeremy Pappas (Canada)
Brianna Spatz (JTS Davidson Internship)
Alana Tilman (Poconos/Nyack))

From the Ramah Metro Detroit Fellowship:
Hillel Buechler (Berkshires, New England)
Darrien Sherman (Canada)
Eli Jacober (California, New England, Berkshires, Darom)

From our camps:
Sarah Attermann (Darom)
Tali Cohen (Canada, New England)
Jeremy Fineberg (Wisconsin)
Andrea Fleishaker (Nyack)
Amy Mendelsohn (California)
Hannah Platt (California)
Rami Schwartzer (New England)
Andrew Stesis (Poconos, Berkshires)
Zach Usmani (Ramah Outdoor Adventure)

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