Camp: Ramah Berkshires, Ramah New England
Ramah has been a large part of my Jewish life. I spent five summers on staff at Palmer, including three years as a Rosh Edah; 15 summers as the camp doctor at Berkshires; father of two Ramah campers (Nyack and Berkshires), one of whom will be in camp this summer; and many years on the medical committee of both Ramah Berkshires and National Ramah, as well as serving on the Berkshires board. Ramah has inspired me in many ways both personally and professionally. Summers at camp (past and present) are important training grounds for educators, and I use that term in the broadest sense of the word – formal and informal, personal and professional. I learned a lot about kids and child behavior at camp, which has been important to this day in how and what I say to parents of patients in my office – advice regarding children, their growth and development in a very complicated world. I think that many folks, whether they realize it or not, are learning skills that serve them well (as parents) in camp. And Jewishly, I think that camp is the place that many of us still turn to in order to “charge our batteries.”
I went on this ride originally as both a way to get back to Israel and a means to get back into shape. I have connections to Tikvah from my years at Palmer in the early 1980′s. I was almost an Amitzim counselor one summer, but ended up elsewhere on staff , a weird series of events that wound up inspiring a young Howard Blas to later become the Tikvah Director in Palmer (Howard and I were happy to ride together and catch up after all these years). Additionally, and most important personally, I went on this ride in honor of a dear friend of mine who has been ill and is an inspiration to many.