Camp Ramah: Not Just Seasonal Education
By Isaac Judd
I have spent my last 10 summers at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Itís a special
place for me, where I have found life-long friends, learned many things, and
maybe discovered what has had the most effect on the rest of my life Ė I have
come to find meaning in Conservative Judaism.
Without Camp Ramah, I would not be who I am today. As a
staff member at camp, I get to (hopefully!) help children find their own Jewish
identities, as well as getting to continue my Jewish learning. At camp, I am
surrounded with people who are developing their Judaism, and seeking the same
answers for which I am also searching.
This situation repeats itself when I return to school at
Brandeis University. I am able to teach others, and also be taught by others.
Whether at school or at camp, I am surrounded with people to study and discuss
My Camp Ramah summers, and my Brandeis University academic
years, complement each other. I take programs that I have created at camp for
children, and try to utilize them at school for my peers. I take programs that I
have participated in at school, and try to apply their lessons at Ramah. The two
places have taken on a singular meaning in my life, as they are the places where
I can easily develop my Jewish values.
My life as an observant Conservative Jew has changed because
of the experiences that these places have provided. They have shaped how I live
my life today on a college campus, and I am confident that these lessons will
have a huge impact on the rest of my Jewish life.
USY: In Praise
By Heather Lobenstein
University of Arizona
After the completion of several dedicated years to Far West USY as an active
participant on many levels, I left for the University of Arizona not knowing
what to expect as a Jewish student.
I went to college with the intent of
becoming a leader on campus. Hillel was the open door that allowed me to
flourish because it was full of so much opportunity. I found my place among the
3,500 Jewish students on campus by becoming the KOACH Co-Chair.
Jewish community was very warm and welcoming, and soon I became a supporter of
several of the events that took place off-campus as well. After a very
successful year working with KOACH, I did not know what I could do over the
summer that would allow me to continue with the strides that we had made as an
organization on campus.
My decision to staff Far West on Wheels this summer came
from seeing how much staff effected my development as a leader in USY,
especially from the regionís very own traveling tour which I attended as a USYer
for three summers and chaired, still as a USYer, once. To give back to an
organization that has given me so much over the years is important to me.
I feel that by going on this trip and interacting with these
students, I can inform them of what they can do after high school, that what
they are doing now is not the end of their Jewish involvement, and that a world
of opportunity awaits them.