December, 2016
A Note from Rabbi Joel Seltzer, Executive Director

Don't Forget to Save a B'rakhah (Blessing) for Me...

In this week's parashah, Parashat Toldot, we read of the birth and early lives of Esau and Jacob, twin brothers who struggle with one another even before their birth, and culminating with Jacob and Rebecca's plan to deceive Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing intended for first-born Esau.

Although we are intuitively supposed to root for Jacob, and although the midrash goes to great efforts in order to vilify Esau and turn him an archetype of wickedness (and thereby, offer a subversive polemic against Rome to their readers), nonetheless there is a scene in this week's parsahah which 'gets me every time.' 

Looking up at his bewildered father who realizes his mistake, Esau offers several emotional pleas to his father:

"Have you not saved a blessing for me father?" (Gen. 27:36)
"Have you but one blessing my father, bless me too!" (Gen. 27:38)

Esau makes a fair point. Are b'rakhot finite? Are they arrows in a spiritual quiver, once spent difficult to replenish? Does a parent (a counselor) have a limited number of b'rakhot for their children (campers)?

The truth is, on the one hand, Judaism does attempt to 'quantify' the concept of blessings. There are 100 B'rakhot to be said each day (or 200 from summer 2014!); there are specific time-bound blessings, blessings that can only be said a certain time of year while performing a specific action ( lulav, matzah, etc.); and there are some blessings that one may never get the opportunity to even say!

On the other hand however, we understand that a blessing is not something that can be so neatly confined. B'rakhot are all around us, at all times, and sometimes, they are hiding in our back pocket, just waiting to come out.

So, let's learn a lesson from Esau this week, let us reserve some blessings in our back pockets, waiting for those unexpected moments to arise, surprise, and motivate us to give thanks. And let's be certain to offer those blessings (especially when they are unexpected!) to our spouses, our children, our family and friends, and our community.  

Rabbi Joel
A Note from Elana Rivel, Ramah Day Camp Director

Each summer, 8th-10th graders spend the summer at Ramah Day Camp participating in a leadership development program as  Madrichim (counselors)-in-Training (Mem.I.Ts). They have weekly  hadrachah (training) sessions with experts in camp culture and child development and then have opportunity to put into practice what they have learned by working in partnership with  madrichim and  mumchim (specialists).  Mem.I.Ts also participate in social activities each week so that they have a chance to still be  chanichim (campers) and connect with other teens who are committed to camp. 
Five of last summer's Mem.I.Ts applied for, and have been selected to participate in our new Ramah Day Camp Internship. As interns they will bring their passion for Ramah to our recruitment and retention efforts. Events include open houses, special program days, camp fairs, parlor meetings, and more. We are pleased to announce this year's Ramah Day Camp Interns: Zoe Bailkin, Dennis Fleysh, Olivia Kogan, Ruthie Meles, and Adam Turk Karan. Mazal Tov to these Mem.I.Ts - we look forward to working with all of you and bringing your enthusiasm for camp to our community!

Our Young Alumni Night Out: Thanksgiving Edition and the
 #GivingTuesday #Grow Ramah 24-Hour $150,000 Challenge were  huge successes! Thanks to all who helped GROW RAMAH.

As we quickly approach 2017, the time is NOW to make your gift to the 2016 Annual Chai Campaign. Celebrate Hanukkah by making miracles happen for our HAPPY CAMPERS at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, Ramah Day Camp, and our Tikvah Programs through scholarship, programming and capital improvements. 

Gifts of stock, venmo, online, and checks are all great ways to give!

Click here to see an updated list of our 2016 Annual Chai Campaign Chai Society.
Camp Ramah in the Poconos
Camp Wide Reunion POC

Sunday, December 18, 2016
1536 Kings Highway N
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Enrollment Update

Taste of Ramah (2nd and 3rd Grade) Boys
Notzitzim (3rd and 4th Grade) Boys Full/Second Session 
Notzitzim (3rd and 4th Grade) Girls Full/Second Session 
Bogrim (7th Grade) Girls Both Sessions
Machon (8th Grade) Boys

Limited Spots:
Taste of Ramah (2nd and 3rd Grade) Girls
Halutzim (6th Grade) Boys Second/Full Session
 Shoafim (9th Grade) Boys and Girls

Save your child's spot for next summer,  ENROLL NOW!
Ramah Day Camp
December Open House

Sunday, December 11th
7601 Old York Rd, Elkins Park

Meet our Directors, join us for a tour, and participate in fun winter activities at our December Open House!
Ramah ShabbaTeeny

December 23rd
7601 Old York Rd, Elkins Park 

A Shabbat experience for kids ages 0-4 and their caregivers. Celebrate Shabbat with song, story, snack and shmoozing!
Proud of our Alumni!

Ari Sussman, former Rosh Musikah, was featured in WHYY for composing new music for the classic prayer, Oseh Shalom. Kol Hakavod, Ari!

Click here to read more. 
Ramahniks at AIPAC!

Sammy Breslau, Sam Donsky, and Rabbi Andy Green of Congregation Beth El
Jason Woronoff, Simmy Decker, and Josh Rosen

Members of Gesher '15 and '16 were among the 400 attendees at the Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit for Israel advocacy and political activism training.

USY Winter Kinnus

January 20-22nd 
Beth El Voorhees 

Pricing Information: 
Early Bird Registration: 11/17-12/22 for $185
General Registration: 12/23-1/9 for $195
Click here to register!
Mazel Tov!

Congratulations to these members of our Ramah Family:

B'nei Mitzvah

Gesher '03 and spouses at Chalal-Reinfeld wedding
Ronni Berson to Dave Mueller
Marty Pollak to Monica Palenzuela
Scott Rosenbaum to Ashley Fagel

Ilana Beck and Alex Hamilton
Hannah Chalal and Craig Reinfeld
Dawn Harvey and Josh Saidel
Jenna Nifoussi and Brian Fenelli

Rachel (Workman) and Lee Geller on the birth of their son, Samuel Owen. 
Rona (Gershon) and Josh Gelles on the birth of their daughter, Aria Maya. 
Numi Mansdorf and Stephen Nadel on the birth of their daughter, Libby.
Rabbi Ariel (Beinart) and Matt Russo on the birth of their son, Aviv Lev.
Ilana and Josh Skolnick on the birth of their son. 

Want to make a donation in honor of one of our community members? Click here!

If you would like to share news of your s'machot, please send your announcement to
HaMakom Y'nacheim Et'chem
Camp Ramah in the Poconos mourns the loss of the following members of our community:

HaMakom Y'nacheim Et'chem B'toch She'ar Aveilei Tzi'yon virushalayim.

Isaac Abella- father of Ben (Ursina Teitelbaum), grandfather of Lillie, Sam, and Asher.

Richard Egosi- husband of Sharon, father of alumni Josh and Jeremy, and current campers Yael and Liora.

Mindy B. Friedman-  sister of Simon (Gretchen) Glaser, aunt of Mabel and Dorothy Glaser. 

Leah Cohen Kaufman- mother of Diane (Michael) Wachs, grandmother of Marnie, Ben, and Lindsay.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to all of those who mourn their passing. 

Click here  to make a donation in memory of one of our community members.
2016-2017 Board of Directors

Lee Sussman, President
Camp Ramah in the Poconos/Ramah Day Camp
2100 Arch St Philadelphia, PA 19103

© 2016 Camp Ramah in the Poconos/Ramah Day Camp in Philadelphia. All rights reserved