From left: Susan, Josh, Daniel, Steven and Marc Sacks
Camp Ramah in Wisconsin has been a blessing for our family.
Our Ramah journey began in 2004 when I was on a bus on a JUF Nachshon men’s mission to Israel. Former Ramah Wisconsin President Jeff Kopin sat next to me, introduced himself and asked me to consider Ramah for our sons and for our family. He passionately spoke of camp as the place where our kids would make their best friends, experience serious Jewish literacy and education, develop a deep love for Judaism, an appreciation for the importance of a close and embracing Jewish community, and create an even deeper personal connection to Israel. Jeff assured me that we would be warmly welcomed, and that Ramah would impact our entire family. And it turns out… Jeff was right.
Several years after that Israel bus ride we enrolled our son Steven as a Bogrim camper. He loved Ramah immediately, spent two more summers as a camper and worked on staff as Rosh Shira (Head Song Leader). Our oldest son Josh also worked at Ramah for three years as a cabin counselor and Rosh Shira. Our youngest son Daniel began at Ramah Day Camp and continued at the overnight camp through his camper years and then on staff including this past summer as a Nivonim counselor. Our sons developed deep friendships, and all loved their experience at Ramah.
Susan and I have been grateful for all of these Ramah blessings and more.
Soon after Steven began as a camper I reached out to Rabbi David Soloff to express our interest in partnering with camp to enhance music and song leading at camp. We wanted to help raise the level of joyous and exciting Jewish music at camp and to enhance musical tefillah and song sessions after meals. We found in Rabbi Soloff an enthusiastic, open-minded and open-hearted partner. That strong partnership has continued to this day with enthusiastic, thoughtful support from Jacob Cytryn as well.
I was honored some years ago to be invited to join the Ramah board, which has been a labor of love. I was asked to lead the Givah fundraising campaign, an effort which successfully built the beautiful new Nivonim campus. Susan has contributed significantly to camp as well, developing the popular “extreme beading” camp workshops with her friend Karen Budin and with encouragement and support from Rosh Omanut Abby Maeir.
This past summer Susan and I worked at camp for a week on kitchen duty. It was the most inspiring, deeply connecting experience I have had in all my years of involvement at Ramah. Our efforts were clearly needed in the kitchen and we worked long, hard hours, but it was truly a labor of love and joy. Along with the other parent volunteers we loved seeing the happy faces of campers and staff as we served the meals and heard the stories of their amazing summer at camp.
Ramah has indeed been a blessing for our family. In addition to our annual support, we have proudly joined the Ramah Legacy Society to ensure that future generations can experience the deep friendships and joyous Judaism that we have found at camp.