Summer 2008

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MERCAZ USA Newsletter — Summer 2008

Ramah Experience Touches Israeli Staff

For the past sixty years, the Ramah Camps have been employing Israeli staff to work during the summer season. Now, as both Israel and Ramah celebrate their sixtieth anniversary, one can look at the positive influence of this encounter between the Israelis and the North Americans as a two-way street.

This summer, more than 200 Israeli shlichim, are working at the various Ramah camps. As Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, Ramah's National Director, writes: "The presence of shlichim add tremendously to Ramah's Zionist mission. [They] give our campers and staff a personal connection to Israel, heightening our awareness of the real issues that face Israeli society today, and become extended family for 'Ramahniks' who visit Israel."

At the same time, however, Ramah has had a profound influence on the Israeli visitors. As Cohen notes: "Having been exposed, sometimes for the first time in their lives, to the powerful message of Conservative Judaism, many shlichim return to Israel after a summer at Ramah inspired in a new way Jewishly, often seeking deeper connections with Jewish religious life in Israel."

"As hundreds of Ramah shlichim experience the joy and beauty of Jewish religious life at Camp Ramah and return to Israel each year, we believe that their impact on Israeli society can be substantial, contributing to a more pluralistic view of Judaism and bringing more young men and women closer to Torah."


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