Camp Ramah-Ukraine Provides Relief for Children Living in Uncertain Times
The Ramah camping experience has evolved into an honored tradition, not just in North America, but inUkraineas well. This year, in particular, with the political turmoil and violence that has so disrupted the lives of this nation, including its Jewish community, Camp Ramah is a “treat” both children and parents have been looking forward to for months.
The camp for teens officially opened Monday July 28. Mixed with the joy of counselors and campers re-united for ten days of incredible “kef” and learning, was the somber reality of the on-going war betweenIsraeland the Hamas terror organization inGaza, with casualties rising every day. Camp Director Gila Katz opened camp with a memorial service for all the Israeli soldiers who have died in this latest campaign, including Yuval Heiman z”l, the son of Schechter Institute employee, Zohara Heiman. May our knowledge of their heroic service be of comfort and help ease the pain felt by so many. More details on Camp Ramah-Ukraine to follow in the near future.
Ramah-Ukraine Family Camp Focuses on Judaism as a Family-Centered Religion
In mid-June, 26 families from cities all over Ukraine traveled to Cherkassy, (100 km from Kiev) for a real Camp Ramah experience. Fifty parents and grandparents, together with 33 children aged 6-12 years, learned together, played together and celebrated a most meaningful Shabbat together. As in past years, the aim of the camp is lofty yet pragmatic: to bring Judaism to marginally affiliated Jewish families as well as strengthen Jewish knowledge for community leaders so they in turn, can bring this awakened sense of tradition back into their homes and into their communities. Judging by the response of the participants, Camp Ramah 2014 was a resounding success!
A mother from Kharkov, a city in eastern Ukraine which has seen much fighting was thrilled to attend: “It was so important for me this year to be with Jewish families from all overUkraine. Times are tough and camp gave us a ‘ray of light.’”
“I loved creating memories with my grandchildren, which are my world,” shares a grandmother from Kiev.
A highlight of the Camp was the conversion ceremony of the parents of four families who are very active in the Kiev community. In preparation, they studied for over a year with Rabbi Reuven Stamov, rabbi of Kiev’s Masoret Kehillah, sponsored by Schechter Institute’s Midreshet Yerushalayim and Masorti Olami. At camp, they came before the Bet Din which consisted of three Masorti rabbis: Shlomo Zakharov, a Schechter graduate fromIsrael, Chaim Wiener, from England and head of the European Masorti Bet Din and Reuven Stamov.