Several years ago the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia announced a search for artifacts from the early years of Jewish summer camps. To prepare a new exhibit exploring the fascinating history of this 100-year- old tradition, the museum turned to camp alumni to submit items of interest.  Rabbi Dr. Burton Cohen,  a camper in Ramah’s first summer who became Director of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and later Director of the National Ramah Commission, submitted three artifacts.

Banquet Menu

Camp Ramah (1947)

The closing program of the summer included songs, speeches, and ended with Hatikvah, translated as the Jewish National Anthem.

Award of Burton Cohen

Camp Ramah (1947)

Museum exhibit caption:  Camp Ramah made speaking Hebrew a central part of the camp experience. Burton Cohen earned this award, the Hebrew letter resh (the first letter of the Hebrew word ramah), for always speaking Hebrew at camp. When a camper earned all three letters of the word ramah, they won a trip into town.


Camp Ramah (1947)

Museum exhibit caption:  Before it became known as “Color War,” campers at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin played either on the City team or the Country team.  The Hebrew word ir, meaning “city,” is printed on this napkin.

Items as displayed at the Museum of American Jewish History