Posts tagged JDAIM
At Camp Ramah, Inclusion Is a Mission

"At Camp Ramah, we try to individualize programs that benefit each type of camper who comes through our door. I meet individually with families. I talk to parents. I meet with teachers and educators to figure how we could we make camp successful for all different types of kids. I work with typical campers, too, to see how we can make camp successful for them." - Elana Naftalin-Kelman, Tikvah Director

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Inclusion in the Workplace Too

Dozens of articles online and in print publications proudly and enthusiastically note that February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). JDAIM, marked by agencies and organizations throughout the Jewish world, is described as “a unified effort among Jewish organizations worldwide to raise awareness and foster inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in Jewish communities worldwide.”

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Ramah Tikvah Programs: New Initiatives and Year-Round Activities

Since the first Ramah Tikvah program opened in 1970, the Ramah Camping Movement has continued to be a pioneer in the inclusion of Jewish campers with disabilities. Tikvah programs now operate in all Ramah camps across North America, offering the inspirational Ramah experience to Jewish children, teens, and young adults with learning, developmental, cognitive, and social disabilities.

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Family pays tribute to Tikvah program

For the past five years, 20-year-old Adam Berzin of Ramsey has spent his summers at Camp Ramah Wisconsin, at the camp’s Tikvah program.

Created more than 40 years ago and offered at nine Ramah camps in the United States and Canada, Tikvah welcomes children, teens, and young adults with a wide range of learning, developmental, cognitive, and social disabilities, “enhancing Jewish identity and teaching Jewish values in a supportive, inclusive, fun environment,” according to its website.

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Ramah’s special needs programs turn a camp into a home

Like many children and teenagers, Michael Rosenbaum of Los Feliz sees going to summer camp as a highlight of his year.

He relishes the outdoor activities, cooking classes, swimming, dancing and games at Camp Ramah in Ojai. He enjoys connecting with his Jewish heritage through daily celebrations and songs, and he especially loves seeing his camp friends from previous years. And, since last summer, the 18-year-old has been thrilled at the opportunity to work at the camp as a cooking teacher’s assistant.

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Inclusion Comes from the Top – and the Bottom, and Middle

On a recent ten-day Tikvah Ramah Israel trip, twelve participants with disabilities, ages 18-40, were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime visit to a 1,000-soldier army base. Admittedly, other tour groups visit army bases; our group spent three hours at the MAZI/Bar-Lev base near Kiryat Milachi, where soldiers – in full uniform – with Down Syndrome, autism, and other intellectual disabilities are “just soldiers.”

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Ramah’s Tikvah Program for campers with disabilities offers summer fun in Jewish setting

“Having kids with disabilities is just as normal as having sports at Camp Ramah. It’s what we do,” said Howard Blas, director of the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah.

That is great news for 18-year old Uriel Levitt of Silver Spring, who has Down syndrome, a genetic condition in which a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. This summer will be his fourth one at the camp. “He’s got this amazing opportunity for growth and independence. He’s away from home for two months,” said his mother, Dina Levitt.

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