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Four Outstanding New Ramah Directors

We are very pleased to welcome four outstanding new Ramah directors to our leadership team:


Sarah Shulman, Director, Camp Ramah in Northern California
Rabbi Ethan Linden, Director, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires
Elana Rivel, Director, Ramah Day Camp in Philadelphia
Rami Schwartzer, Director, Ramah Day Camp of Greater Washington, DC


sarah_shulman_sqSarah Shulman, Director
Camp Ramah in Northern California (Ramah Galim)
Sarah is the first director of our newest overnight camp, Camp Ramah in Northern California (Ramah Galim, or “Ramah of the Waves”), which will open this summer on the beautiful campus of the Monterey Bay Academy on the Pacific shore, 90 minutes south of San Francisco. Sarah, a graduate of Stanford University, taught in Jewish day schools for six years prior to enrolling in the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and worked as a senior leader for five years at Ramah Outdoor Adventure in the Colorado Rockies. Last year, Sarah was the education director at Ramat Zion synagogue in Northridge, CA. Upon her ordination as a rabbi this May, Sarah, her husband Nate Bankirer, and their brand new daughter Lielle will move to the Bay Area.


Ramah Galim was created as a partnership among Camp Ramah in California, the National Ramah Commission, and the local Camp Ramah in Northern California board of directors. Ramah Galim will open this June as our second specialty camp, with specialty tracks in adventure sports, performing arts, and ocean exploration, including marine biology. Early enrollment forecasts have been exceeded, with more than 160 campers already signed up for the summer. Sarah’s work has been supported by a generous grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s New Camp Accelerator program for director training and mentoring, funded by The AVI CHAI Foundation, and from a generous grant from the San Francisco Federation.


ethan_linden_sqRabbi Ethan Linden, Director
Camp Ramah in the Berkshires
Ethan, a Cornell University graduate, began his Ramah career as a teacher at Camp Ramah in Canada in 1999. While attending JTS Rabbinical School, Ethan became a senior staff member at Camp Ramah in New England, and upon ordination in 2007 assumed the role of assistant director for three years. During his time in New England, Ethan also taught at a local Schechter day school and was the rabbinic adviser to the Harvard Hillel Conservative minyan. For the past seven years, he has served as rabbi of Shir Chadash, the Conservative congregation of New Orleans, where he helped rebuild a vibrant community impacted by Hurricane Katrina.


Ethan will move to the New York area this June with his wife Liba Kornfeld and their three children, Adin, Yona, and Liav, to begin his work with Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. He will assume the role of director on October 1, 2016.


elana_rivel_sqElana Rivel, Director
Ramah Day Camp in Philadelphia
Elana, who has worked in the field of Jewish education for nearly 30 years, began her career as the assistant director of Ramah Poconos. Since then she has held a wide range of positions across movements, across the country, and in both formal and informal settings. As the associate director of Jewish Learning Venture in Melrose Park (Philadelphia area), Elana managed, developed, and implemented initiatives that strengthen Jewish institutions and empower individuals to engage with the Jewish community. She was also a member of the pilot cohort of the Jim Joseph Foundation Fellowship, delving into the use of text and technology for building online communities. On February 1, 2016, Elana assumed leadership of Ramah Day Camp, which has been very successful since its inception in 1996.


Elana is married to Greg Halperin, a Poconos alumnus, and together they are the parents of two former Ramah Day Camp/Poconos campers, Max and Zoe. She has a BA from Brandeis and an MEd from the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University.)


rami_schwartzer_sqRami Schwartzer, Director
Ramah Day Camp of Greater Washington, DC
Rami, a veteran Ramah New England senior staff member, served as the director of the new Ramah Day Camp of Greater Washington, DC, in its inaugural 2015 summer. He is a graduate of the Joint Program of JTS and Columbia University. Upon receiving his rabbinic ordination from JTS this May, Rami and his wife Adina Rosen will move to Maryland to begin his rabbinic work, which includes directing the camp as well as working closely with area Conservative synagogues on outreach to bring young professionals and families more into Jewish life. As a Gladstein Fellow in Entrepreneurial Leadership, Rami is part of a cohort of professionals doing innovative rabbinic work in growing Jewish communities.


Rami’s position has been made possible by a partnership between the area Conservative synagogues and Camp Ramah in New England, with support from Reshet Ramah and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. With over 150 campers already enrolled for summer 2016, this new Ramah day camp is off to an amazing start.
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