History of Ramah
During the 1940s, The Jewish Theological Seminary established several programs to reconnect Jewish youth with the synagogue and cultivate American-born Jewish leadership. One of these programs was Camp Ramah, a program conceived by Moshe Davis and Sylvia Ettenberg of the JTS Teachers' Institute. The first Ramah camp opened in Conover, WI, in 1947. Over the course of the next twenty-five years, a network of resident camps was established, so that today, in addition to Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, there are Ramah camps in Lakewood, PA (Camp Ramah in the Poconos, founded in 1950); Palmer, MA (Camp Ramah in New England, which opened at East Hampton, CT in 1953 and moved to the Palmer site in 1965); Ojai, CA (Camp Ramah in California, founded in 1956); Utterson, ON (Camp Ramah in Canada, founded in 1960); and Wingdale, NY (Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, which opened in Nyack, NY, in 1961 and moved to the Wingdale site in 1964). In 1997, Ramah opened Ramah Darom, in Clayton, GA, and in 2010, Ramah opened its first specialty camp, Ramah Outdoor Adventure in Deckers, CO.
More than 9,000 campers and staff annually attend Ramah’s seven overnight camps, three day camps, and Israel programs. More than 1,500 university and graduate students work as counselors, teachers, and specialists, along with an additional 200 professionals--rabbis, cantors, social workers, psychologists, doctors, nurses, Jewish educators, coaches, and others. Approximately 45 rabbinical, cantorial, education and other graduate students from JTS, as well as others from AJU and other universities, work at Ramah in senior educational roles. More than 200 mishlachat members work at Ramah camps each summer, strengthening the connections between the camp communities and Israel.