Friday, November 11, 2011

Ramah Leaders Shine at the GA This Week

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National Ramah Commission, Inc. of The Jewish Theological Seminary 
November 11, 2011
14 Cheshvan 5772

Ramah Leaders Shine at the GA This Week 


Dear Friends of Ramah,

What a great few days for Ramah at the Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly (GA) in Denver this week.

Amy Skopp Cooper Covenant Video 2011

Sunday night was truly magical. Hundreds of Jewish leaders came together for the annual Covenant Foundation awards dinner, at which Amy Skopp Cooper, National Assistant Director and Director of Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, NY, was recognized as one of three winners of this year's prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education. I encourage you watch this inspiring video about Amy's work at Ramah Nyack.

Throughout the night, and all three days of the convention, people came up to me saying how wonderful were Amy's video and speech, how deserving she was, and how terrific it was to have Ramah again recognized for excellence. Fellow winner Rabbi Shai Held is also a Ramahnik, and among the previous winners of the Covenant Award in the past two decades are close to a dozen Ramahniks, including Dr. Sara Rubinow Simon, one of the winners in the first year that the award was established (1991); Ellie Bach Gelman (1996); Henia Lewin (1997); Rabbi Yosi (Joel) Gordon (2000); Lorraine Posner Arcus (2001); Vicky Kelman (2003); Jane Taubenfeld Cohen (2006); Rabbi Philip Warmflash (2007); Susan Werk (2008); Rabbi Stuart Seltzer (2009); and Rabbi Loren Sykes (2006), past Director of Ramah Darom and current Director of Ramah Wisconsin.

Anna Hartman
Anna Hartman

Looking towards the future, the Covenant Foundation this year announced the inaugural Pomegranate Prize, recognizing five promising Jewish educators. One of the five award recipients was Anna (Robinowitz) Hartman, Director of Early Childhood Education at Greenfield Hebrew Academy in Atlanta. Anna is an alumna of Camp Ramah in New England, where she was a camper, and of Ramah Darom, where she served as a staff member with Director Rabbi Loren Sykes. She represents a new generation of Ramahniks who are making valuable contributions to their Jewish communities. We were joined at the Covenant dinner by ten other young Ramah alumni, who were attending the GA as representatives of Hillel, members of local delegations, and Wexner Fellows. The enthusiasm of these lively Ramahniks was contagious.

Ramah Alumni Reception
Ramah Alumni Reception, November 7, 2011

On Monday night, for the first time in at least a decade, we held a Ramah Alumni Reception at the GA, where Ramah alumni and friends were invited to meet and share stories. Almost 100 alumni attended, and the publicity for the reception throughout the GA kept people talking about the impact of Ramah on their lives, and on the landscape of leadership of Jewish communities globally. Click here to see photos from the event on Facebook. While at the reception, we celebrated the impact of Ramah and Amy's award, and we announced the imminent creation of a Ramah movement-wide alumni initiative. Being in Denver, we also celebrated the second outstanding season of our newest camp, Ramah Outdoor Adventure.

As I walked around throughout the three days at the GA, it was striking to see so many GA delegates proudly wearing the Ramah buttons that we gave out to Ramah alumni, Ramah parents, and Ramah grandparents, and to recognize the significance of Ramah's influence in so many organizations. As JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen commented, "We are so proud of Amy Skopp Cooper and all that she and Ramah Nyack have accomplished. But this is also about Ramah being recognized as perhaps the greatest single creation of JTS, the Conservative Movement, and North American Jewry in terms of real lives impacted."


Best regards, 


Mitchell Cohen  

Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, National Director


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