New Initiative Funded by The AVI CHAI Foundation
NEW YORK, NY (January 13, 2016) – The National Ramah Commission has received a new grant from The AVI CHAI Foundation to deepen the connection between Ramah camps and Conservative congregations. This grant will support a pilot initiative between the newest Ramah regional overnight camp, Camp Ramah in Northern California (Ramah NorCal), and a select number of synagogues in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ramah, the camping arm of Conservative Judaism, has partnered for 70 years with synagogues throughout North America. Synagogues with large Ramah contingents report more active youth groups, junior congregations, and young family programs. According to Sarah Shulman, director of Ramah NorCal, “We are delighted that The AVI CHAI Foundation is investing in this new initiative to deepen the camp-synagogue partnership to bring more of the ‘magic of Ramah’ into congregational life and to enroll more synagogue children and teens in Ramah camps.”
The Camp Ramah/Synagogue Initiative for the Bay Area will partner Ramah staff with clergy members, Jewish educators, youth leaders, and parent ambassadors at local synagogues. These teams, supported by Ramah NorCal, will develop family and youth programming designed to build a stronger Ramah culture in their congregations and to increase the number of synagogue families sending their children to Ramah camps.
Synagogues in the San Francisco Bay Area have a long history of support for Camp Ramah in Ojai, California, and will continue this relationship, even as more Ramah camping options are created.
In addition to the synagogue-specific programming and recruitment, the goal is to create more community-wide youth experiences in camp-style informal educational programming. To this end, there will be an annual conference bringing together key stakeholders from Ramah and each of the participating synagogues to share best practices and explore new and deeper collaborations.
Maureen Krantz, a Ramah California alumna and the Director of Community Engagement for Ramah NorCal, will serve as the lead professional for this effort. Born in Israel, Maureen was raised in Los Angeles, where she attended Jewish day school and was very active in Far West USY. She started her Ramah career as a counselor and specialist at Ramah California. Professionally, Maureen served as a legal career advisor for many years, after which she transitioned to working within the Jewish community in 2008. She has held development, programming, and managerial positions, most recently as the senior synagogue administrator at Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland, CA. She lives in Berkeley, CA, with her husband Derek (who was introduced to her by a Ramah friend) and can’t wait to spend the summer at the newest Ramah camp with her three children Shai, Aya, and Benny.