During Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month in February, PAS will turn attention to the sometimes hidden disabilities of mental illness and addiction.
On the morning of July 30, members of the PAS Education Team ventured north to Nyack, NY and the campus of Ramah Day Camp. Jessie Lavintman, Rachel Singer, Zack Friedman, and Niki Fleishman were greeted by Director of Operations Jesse Nagelberg and welcomed by the entire staff and campers as they danced with abandon on the migrash (field). Israeli music and good vibes filled the air as the campers, from bunks Kokhavim to Tze’irim hopped, turned, and waved in unison. As each bunk left after morning shaharit prayers, we had a chance to visit with our PAS chanichim (campers) and heard about their favorite activities at Ramah, particularly swimming, omanut (art), and bishul (baking). We all shared enthusiasm and anticipation for the fall and the start of a new Congregational School year.
After we parted from the children, Jesse gave us a tour through the grassy ins and outs and hilly ups and downs, of the camp. We heard our voices echo in the new sports/activity complex, decorated wall-to-wall with Israeli flags. We ran our fingers over the holiday- and Israel-themed murals that adorned the walkway to the hadar okhel (dining hall), and learned the history of the camp over the last half century. A highlight was visiting with the chanichim in omanut, as they fashioned personal Israeli passports and tzedakah boxes adorned with real stones so they resembled the Kotel. Between the Israeli dancing, art, and the ruach (spirit) in the atmosphere, we felt as if we were at a camp in the Negev or the Golan!
We had an amazing day and are so grateful for the opportunity to experience not only this beautiful camp, but its dynamic staff, and its truly delightful and inspiring campers.