Camp Ramah Galim

Riding Your Wave In the Sea of Judaism: The Start-up Camp Ramah Galim

imgresThere is nothing quite like the oceanic rhythm of Camp Ramah campers and staff surrounding you from dawn till dusk. In those eternal moments, you begin to feel the pulse of this camp’s namesake — Galim. Singing, dancing, exploring, studying, rock climbing, scuba diving — an immersive summer at Camp Ramah in Northern California transforms hearts and minds to live Jewish lives.

Along with Elyssa and Talya, I have been blessed to visit, teach, and support our brand new Camp Ramah NorCal, known in Hebrew as Ramah Galim, or "Ramah of the Waves." Clearly, if we can create the ruach of Ramah amidst the strawberry fields of Watsonville, then we can do anything! Thanks to the devoted leadership of many, including CBS members Craig Miller and Alex Bernstein, Ramah Galim has been overwhelmed by the response of parents looking for a meaningful, authentic Jewish camping experience. Registration was expected at 100 and is now over 250! Who could resist such a panoply of ways to live your Judaism? Outdoor adventures, ocean explorations, and performing arts – each track of this new camp meets each child right where they are, lifting their souls ever higher.

Facebook_JoshHorwitz---AaronMiller---------RabbiGlazer_CampRamahNorcal_July2016 I've been part of Ramah since my second year as a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). Traveling to and teaching at almost every Ramah in the Northeast, it has become clear to me that the many unique Ramah traditions mark a transformational camping movement born from the vision of Conservative/Masorti Judaism; the movement continues to inspire and renew one generation to the next, producing Jewish leaders and families unlike any other!

And so this summer I brought deep expectations – along with my family (who joined many other rabbinic families from near and far) – to Ramah NorCal, the new jewel in the Bay Area Jewish community. As rabbi of CBS, along with our amazing Youth Advisor, David Herrera, we look forward to our ongoing partnership with Ramah Galim and its leadership (headed by Rabbi Sarah Shulman) Facebook_SarahShulmanLielRabbiGlazer_CampRamahNorcal_July2016with the goal of ensuring more and more Jewish campers feel their unique pulse as part of the waves of this oceanic blessing of Ramah Galim, and that this summer magic washes back through our communal family in the coming years.

While Elyssa was facilitating Jewish art and spiritual direction workshops for all ages, I was blessed to teach the staff and campers about some of the layers of meaning within the name Ramah Galim. This culminated with our dedication of the Aron HaKodesh during the camp's Founder’s Day, when I shared two "take-aways" from the Zohar on the mystery of galim, or waves. Firstly, to be children of galim is to be riding the waves of our ancestors, as the children of Abraham and Sarah who enacted mitzvot as innumerable as galei yam, the waves of the sea. Secondly, to download the taste of the world that is coming – that is, Shabbat — we must be as galim, for all exists within these waves, intermingled, heaps upon heaps, reaching out to all!

I am grateful for the ability to support and partner with Ramah Galim, and I know that the camp is so appreciative of the unconditional support provided by CBS. The pulsing rhythm of our CBS spiritual life will only be enhanced by continuing to support Jewish camping experiences and making spaces for informal, experiential Judaism to come alive in our community! As we welcome Rebecca Goodman to our team as Director of Youth Education,Facebook_RabbiGlazerArkDedication2_CampRamahNorcal_July2016 along with David Herrera who is been blessed to spend all summer with our campers at Ramah Galim, we have great things to look forward to together! May we continue to be and become children of galim! That is the secret of Ramah Galim and it is the secret of CBS. Let us continue to reach out to all, making new friends and deepening old friendships so that we continue building and nurturing our Jewish lives with love as deep as the ocean. May this summer immerse our children in the waves of inspiration that make up the oceanic blessing of Judaism. From these children inherit a better world, thanks to the actions we commit to take.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Photo captions:
- Josh Horwitz, Sam Toeman, Aaron Miller, Raquel Sweet, Nathan Fell, Adina Sweet, and Rabbi Glazer at Camp Ramah NorCal
- Rabbi Sarah Shulman, Liel Shulman, & Rabbi Glazer at Camp Ramah NorCal
- Rabbi Glazer speaking at the dedication of the Ramah Galim ark during Founder's Day

So Excited About Camp Ramah In NorCal!

imgresSarah Shulman is the Director of Camp Ramah in Northern California. She is also a rabbi-in-training at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, slated to obtain smicha in May of 2016. According to the inspiring note she shared with the Camp Ramah in Northern California mailing list this week, she was called to the rabbinate during a visit to CBS.

"This past Shabbat I visited Congregation Beth Sholom, the special place where seven years ago I decided to become a rabbi. During a vibrant public dialogue with Rabbi Aubrey Glazer about the power of camp to inspire and transform youth and communities, I pointed to the purple seat where I made the decision to go to rabbinical school. As we read that same morning in the Torah about Abraham and Sarah leaving their home to embark on a momentous spiritual journey, I reflected on my own path and the incredible opportunities, lessons, and mentors it has brought into my life.

But I also could not help but feel that Lech Lecha, God’s call to Abraham to “Go for yourself,” speaks to the experience of venturing from your home for a few weeks in the summer to go to Jewish camp. This summer, the shores of Monterey Bay will be home to seekers whom have left what is comfortable and familiar behind in order to experience true friendship and adventure, joy and reflection, Jewish living and leadership. As I travel from community to community, synagogue to synagogue, and school to school sharing the vision of Camp Ramah in Northern California, I see my own excitement for the possibilities that await reflected in the eyes and ideas of partners in this important journey of creation."

Well said, Sarah, and kol hakavod on leading the establishment and growth of a Ramah in our neck of the woods! The CBS family -- and all of our families! -- are very excited!
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And for all those excited prospective families, a reminder to take advantage of the opportunity to meet Sarah, get a taste of Camp Ramah in Northern California, and learn more about the camp's amazing specialty programs in ocean exploration, performing arts, and adventure sports. Kids and adults are welcome. Bring your friends! Light snacks provided. Details below.

Date: Thursday, November 5th
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Private home, San Francisco, CA. Address provided upon RSVP.
Questions/RSVP: Contact Daniele Hurwitz, Program Director of Camp Ramah in Northern California.