Two weeks ago, I spent a couple of fantastic days in the Twin Cities. Organized by Barrie Orloff, the new Camp Ramah in Wisconsin representative in the Twin Cities, I visited The Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School (HMJDS) where I had lunches with groups of 3rd and 4th graders, 5th and 6th graders, and 7th and 8th graders. It was nice to see so many current Ramah campers at the lunches, along with new campers already signed up for next summer, and students who are thinking about joining us next summer. I had a wonderful albeit brief visit with our Rosh Ivrit, Batsheva Berman, and a rich and productive visit with Dr. Ray Levi, Head of School.

I met with a group of parents that are seriously considering sending their children to camp for the first time. It was a great and open discussion about what Camp Ramah in Wisconsin has to offer their children as well as what their Jewish aspirations are for their children as they continue to grow and mature.

The afternoon was filled teaching classes at The Talmud Torah of Minneapolis. Suzie Schalom was so gracious in giving me time to actuallly teach groups of students. Using the video titled "Shofar Calling, "a hip-hop midrash on the two Torah readings for the mornings of Rosh HaShanah (click here to check out the video), we talked about Teshuvah, what it means to do serious self-reflection, and to fulfill our mission for this world. The students were engaged and had some deep comments about the upcoming High Holiday season.

On Tuesday, Barrie and I were treated to a tour of the Talmud Torah of St. Paul given by Head of School and Camp Ramah in Wisconsin alumna, Sara Lynn Newberger. There was such great energy in the classes and we had a wonderful lunch with a combination of current and future campers. I am always fascinated by the questions children ask about camp, ranging from "How many times a week do you serve macaroni and cheese?" to "Are the counselors nice?" and everything in-between.

Thanks for a great trip. I can't wait to get back to the Twin Cities again later in the fall.

Rabbi Loren Sykes, Director