Jacob Cytryn, reflecting on Daniella’s impact:
As I reflect on Daniella’s impact, I remember meeting her for the first time in January 2014, during her Mishlachat interview in Israel to join Ramah Wisconsin’s summer Hebrew staff. At the time we were struck by her poise and her impressive resume. We were excited at the palpable potential in the room that day – Daniella’s passion for education, Israel, and Judaism – and the seriousness with which she approached every decision. Her impact on Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, felt already that first summer, would grow as she returned for two additional summers as a counselor and then three more as a Rosh Eidah (Unit Head).
Daniella accepted the role of Assistant Director just weeks before the global pandemic upended all of our lives. She began her work from Israel in July 2020, with her visa approved, but unable to move to Chicago due to pandemic restrictions. In spite of this, she began her role with eagerness and vigor – meeting campers, parents, and a variety of stakeholders over Zoom, working into the wee hours of Tel Aviv nights to match our American schedules. She helped identify and define our organization’s core values and led our overnight team preparations for a successful, healthy, miraculous 2021 summer.
During summer 2022, Daniella led the implementation of key aspects of our 2020 Strategic Plan innovations — including our new programmatic offerings (trail biking, tubing and Ninja obstacle course), flexible session lengths, updated commitment to Jewish learning, connection to Israel, and living modern Hebrew.
Daniella has been an integral member of the Camp Ramah in Wisconsin community for the past nine summers — a phenomenal educator who has greatly enhanced our camp experience. I know that our entire community joins me in thanking Daniella for her lasting impact. She will remain a lifelong member of our Ramah family.
Daniella Elyashar, reflecting on her personal Ramah journey:
“My journey with Ramah began in 2014, when I came to camp for the first time as a shlicha. As a 20-year-old Israeli who didn’t know much about American Jewry or summer camps, Ramah taught me the meaning of true community and what it means to work in, and for, the ultimate educational laboratory. Returning to camp for the following eight summers, I have been lucky to play an active role in impacting Ramah’s journey. I have loved watching campers grow into staff members, and staff members grow into various leadership roles at camp. I am confident that they will continue making Ramah the special place that it is.
Serving as the Assistant Director these past two years has been full of surprises, challenges and wonderful moments of joy, growth, inclusion and connections. When I finally moved to the US for this exciting role, I was thrilled to deepen my connections with the Midwestern Jewish communities – including visiting campers and families in person! Getting to know these same campers up at camp, watching them develop skills in various areas and seeing our staff form connections with them perfectly symbolized Ramah magic. Working on how we structure and build our programming in the Mercaz (programming center), thinking about Ivrit Ba’Anafim (Hebrew Immersion in Specialty Areas) and Tarbut Israel (Israeli Culture), as well as partnering with various educators was a terrific way to see the Ramah educational laboratory in action.
I have been extremely lucky to have been part of a hard-working, passionate, caring, dedicated and goal-oriented team who constantly pour love and energy into their work to make camp possible. Individually and collectively, the amazing year-round team at Ramah, as well as the unbelievably talented summer leadership teams, have made a huge impact on me as an educator and I will continue to grow thanks to them. I am very thankful to have worked closely with Jacob, who has pushed me to think creatively and out of the box about various camp aspects, and I’m grateful for the partnership we established. I am also thankful to have worked so closely with Lauren, whose contribution to the year-round team has been immeasurable.
Ramah’s המנון (anthem) mentions that camp will blaze a path when life challenges us (יפלס לנו דרך בסבך החיים). I cherish everything I have learned during this role, and greatly appreciate the paths Ramah has led me down. I can’t wait to see how camp continues to carve out paths and journeys for future campers and staff over the generations to come.”