by Rena Forester
We advertised a Shabbat celebration for alumni of all Ramah camps and were pleased that over 30 people showed up at Hillel for Kabbalat Shabbat/Ma’ariv and dinner on Friday night. The davening was beautiful, filling the room with an awesome Shabbat energy. Kabbalat Shabbat was led by Melody Mostow (Canada) and Ma’ariv was led by Eitan Kantor (Wisconsin, Rockies). Allie Hurwich (Wisconsin) presented the D’var Torah. She spoke beautifully about what Ramah means to her and how it has impacted her life. In her words, “After my Nivo summer, I left camp believing that my incredible experience was gone forever, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Since then, my relationships have only grown and strengthened. In a way, it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. The older I get, the more I realize its profound role in my life. Whether its for job interviews or just a simple game of Jewish geography, it never ceases to amaze me how I always know someone who knows someone who knows someone. ”Following davening, Eitan Kantor taught a song that he learned at Rockies this past summer. Everyone sang along.
Following services, all of the Ramahniks sat in the living room of Hillel together for dinner. The room was overflowing with people. People stayed and mingled for over an hour after they had finished eating. It was wonderful to see people reconnecting. I noticed that many upperclassmen befriended freshmen which was a great thing to see. We ate delicious food together and reminisced about camp as people shared funny stories from being campers and counselors. We had a wonderful discussion about camp as well. People shared lessons they learned from camp. One person explained that as she moves into a small house with seven girls, she feels confident that she will be able to handle this situation because she learned to live with others at camp. Another person shared that she learned how to work with others at camp. Yet another person explained that most of the Hebrew she knows, she learned at camp. We also discussed how camp has impacted our lives- both at IU and in general. One person explained that her decision to work for a Jewish non-profit is largely due to her experiences at camp. Another person explained that she is proud to be Jewish and enjoys the customs and religious practices as a result of going to Ramah.