Programs for children, teens, and young adults with disabilities

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.

The goal of the programs in the National Ramah Tikvah Network is to enhance Jewish identity and teach Jewish values in a supportive, inclusive, fun environment. At Ramah, campers with disabilities have many opportunities to connect and participate in activities with campers throughout the camp. These interactions provide an exceptional benefit to the entire Ramah community by fostering a heightened sensitivity toward individual differences.

View National Ramah Tikvah Network Brochure

Tikvah at Overnight Camps


Berkshires

Wingdale, NY

Elizabeth Chipkin
Breira B'Ramah Director
(201) 871-7262

Breira B’Ramah is a four-week inclusion program for campers with mild to moderate learning, social or emotional challenges, such as ADHD, high-functioning autism, pragmatic, receptive and expressive language issues, and anxiety. This program is designed for campers entering fourth through seventh grades, although once a camper is accepted into the program and reaches eighth grade, a recommendation may be made that a camper stay for the full summer. Campers live in bunks with typical campers and are integrated into all activities, guided by dedicated, trained staff. Campers in the Breira program receive assistance in the areas of social skills, conflict resolution, communication, and frustration tolerance as well as support with organizational and sensory challenges.


California

Ojai, CA

Elana Naftalin-Kelman
Tikvah Director
(310) 476-8571

The Tikvah Program serves children, teens, and young adults ages 10-23 with learning, emotional, and developmental disabilities.

The Amitzim edah is for campers ages 10-17 and consists of two four-week sessions. Amitzim-ers participate in all camp activities and are included with their typical peers throughout the day. Program goals include teaching independent living skills and modeling appropriate peer relationships.

Ezra is a vocational training program for young adults ages 18-23. Participants are staff at camp and receive job training experience in a number of service areas both in and outside of camp. Program goals include preparing young adults for independent living and teaching them employment-related skills. Camp provides an ideal setting for participants in the Ezra program to grow and thrive with peers under adult supervision in a Jewish setting.

Camp Ohr Lanu at Ramah California is a week-long camp for families who have children with disabilities. Families come to camp to experience support from other families, get respite, and learn, while enjoying activities such as swimming, hiking, sports, and climbing.


Canada

Utterson, ON

Casey and Adam Green
Tikvah Directors
(416) 789-2193

The Tikvah Program is a six-week program for teens with developmental disabilities, ages 12-21. The program provides recreational, social, and educational experiences for campers. Campers in the Tikvah program enjoy swimming, hiking, sports, and arts and crafts, and also attend daily services, study Hebrew, and learn Jewish customs. Each camper is integrated into the ongoing activities of the camp according to his or her abilities. The program includes a vocational education component for young adults ages 18-21.


Darom

Clayton, GA

Audra Kaplan
Tikvah Director
(404) 531-0801

Susan Tecktiel
Camp Yofi Director
(404) 531-0801

The Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah Darom offers two four-week sessions for adolescents ages 12-17. Tikvah at Ramah Darom is the first program in the Southeast focused on providing a traditional and immersive Jewish summer camping experience to Jewish teenagers diagnosed with social and communication difficulties such as autism spectrum disorder, social anxiety, PDD, Asperger's Syndrome, and non-verbal learning disorders. Campers will participate in much-loved camp activities such as sports, swimming, arts, boating, ropes course, and campfires, all within the warm environment of Camp Ramah Darom. Tikvah’s program is designed to help campers build friendships, develop their social skills, and broaden their independent living abilities.

Ramah Darom’s Vocational Training Program is designed for participants of post-high school age and will include job placements within camp. Participants will receive coaching in areas of employment, life skills, and relationship development. Placements take into account participants’ ability level, stamina, and vocational interests. Work placements include the following areas: early childhood, farming, dining hall, kitchen, infirmary, administrative/office, maintenance, mailroom, canteen, sports, and art center. In addition, participants are guided in developing meaningful projects based upon their interests and creativity. Participants are valued members of Ramah Darom, enjoying all aspects of our Jewish community.

Camp Yofi at Camp Ramah Darom is a nationally acclaimed program for Jewish families with children with autism spectrum disorders between the ages of 6 and 13. Single parents, grandparents, and siblings are invited to attend, and all Jewish families are welcome. The program is held at Ramah Darom’s Kaplan Mitchell Retreat & Conference Center, a 122-acre facility in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


New England

Palmer, MA

Bonnie Schwartz
Tikvah Director
(781) 400-0204

The Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England has the following components:

Amitzim is an eight-week overnight camping program serving 13- to 18-year-olds with a wide range of disabilities, including developmental and intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and neurological impairments. Amitzim campers live in accessible bunks with specially trained counselors and participate in an extensive camping program with numerous formal and informal opportunities for inclusion.

The Inclusion program is for camper-age children with disabilities who live in and participate in the daily activities of a typical bunk. Inclusion campers receive additional support and participate in the full range of camp activities.

Tochnit Avodah (Voc Ed) offers vocational training, socialization and a group living experience to young adults with disabilities. Through close communication with participants’ parents and year-round support professionals we develop a summer program individualized to each participant’s needs, focusing on goals in the areas of social skills, job skills, and independent living skills. We also offer summer employment with necessary supports to a select group of graduates of Tochnit Avodah.

The Tikvah Family Shabbaton is a “Taste of Tikvah” experience for the entire family. The Shabbaton includes programming designed specifically for parents, children with disabilities, and their typically-developing siblings. The Shabbaton creates a unique, supportive community where everyone is not only accepted, but truly celebrated.


Northern California

Monterey, CA

Howard Blas
Tikvah Director
(413) 374-7210

The Tikvah Program, founded in 2016 in Ramah Galim’s inaugural summer, is a two-week program for campers with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities. Campers in the Tikvah program participate in the wide range of camp activities in three specialty tracks: performing arts, ocean exploration, and adventure sports. Special activities include kayaking, surfing, horseback riding, swimming, singing and dancing, rock climbing, Shabbat, overnights, havdallah on the beach and bonding with friends. 

The Ezra Program offers vocational training for young adult campers ages 18 to 26. Individualized internship and mentorship opportunities include, but are not limited to, horse care, office/administrative work, and food services/hospitality. Ezra participants develop life and social/recreational skills through participation in age-appropriate camper and staff activities.


Poconos

Lakewood, PA

Orlee Krass
Tikvah Director
(215) 885-8556

Adena Sternthal
Tikvah Family Camp Director
(267) 648-5211

The Tikvah Program at Ramah Poconos is continuously growing and evolving to offer new opportunities for Jewish children with disabilities. We strive to serve campers with a wide range of disabilities, including developmental and intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, learning differences, and neurological impairments. Ramah Poconos continues to offer a continuum of experiences for children and families with special needs, including Yedidim (our residential program), the Tikvah track at Ramah Day Camp, and the Tikvah Family Camp.

The Tikvah Family Camp is a five-day overnight program for families with children ages 4-13 with developmental disabilities and/or social learning disabilities. This program incorporates Jewish learning, recreation, spiritual reflection, and fun in the beautiful natural environment of Ramah Poconos.


Rockies

Deckers, CO

Abigail Gavens
Tikvah Director

The Tikvah Program is a full inclusion program that serves adolescents ages 11-17 with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities, including Asperger’s Syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders. Two-week and four-week options are available. With staff support, Tikvah campers are able to be fully integrated into both the base camp and masa (excursion) program. Activities include horseback riding, Jewish learning, rock climbing, wilderness survival, arts and crafts, agriculture, sports, aerobics, and mining as well as meals, activities, evening programs, and Shabbat services. In addition, campers in the Tikvah program go on multi-day masaot (excursions) in the Colorado Wilderness.


Wisconsin

Conover, WI

Jacob Cytryn
Director
(312) 606-9316

The Tikvah Program provides inclusion opportunities for children ages 11-18 with learning, social, and communication difficulties, including those who are higher functioning on the autism spectrum. Tikvah provides all the opportunities of the Ramah experience with additional staffing and support. Through individualized programming and supported by highly skilled staff, teens in the Tikvah program develop friendships, have fun, and learn in formal and informal Jewish settings. There is an introductory four-week program, “Taste of Tikvah,” as well as the full eight-week session.

Atzmayim (Hebrew for “independent”), the Tikvah Vocational Program, is designed to strengthen social and vocational skills in participants who are high school graduates ages 18-21. It is intended to assist in transitioning to an independent living environment such as a college campus or developing the ability to select and engage in leisure activities at home.


Tikvah at Day Camps


Chicago-area

Wheeling, IL

Lori Stark
Director
(312) 606-0444

In partnership with Keshet, a Chicago-area program for Jewish children with special needs, Ramah Day Camp hosts a day camp experience for children ages 5-11 with a wide range of disabilities. Campers enroll through Keshet, but are fully integrated with Ramah campers. Children may attend camp for a four-week or eight-week session. 


Nyack

Nyack, NY

Rabbi Ami Hersh
Director
(212) 678-8884

Ramah Nyack is committed to the value of inclusion, founded in the Jewish ideal that teaches that we are all created B’tzelem Elohim, in God’s image. Ramah Nyack is committed to providing a Jewish summer camp experience to all children, including those with disabilities. Campers with disabilities follow the regular camp schedule with support and accommodations as needed. Ramah Nyack has a camper care team on staff led by a school psychologist and social worker who work closely with camp staff to provide the needed support to all campers. Enrollment of campers with disabilities is made on an individual basis to ensure that children can successfully be accommodated in the program.


Philadelphia-area

Elkins Park, PA

Elana Rivel
Director

Eileen Graub
Assistant Director
(215) 885-8556

The Tikvah Program is a six-week program for teens with developmental disabilities, ages 12-21. The program provides recreational, social, and educational experiences for campers. Campers in the Tikvah program enjoy swimming, hiking, sports, and arts and crafts, and also attend daily services, study Hebrew, and learn Jewish customs. Each camper is integrated into the ongoing activities of the camp according to his or her abilities. The program includes a vocational education component for young adults ages 18-21.


Greater Washington, D.C

Germantown, MD

Sharon Safra
Assistant Director
(301) 500-8251

In keeping with Camp Ramah in New England’s longstanding commitment to inclusion, the Ramah Day Camp of Greater Washington, D.C. works with families to accommodate campers with disabilities. Enrollment of campers with disabilities is made on a case by case basis to ensure that we can successfully accommodate the child within the camp program. As the day camp grows in years to come, Ramah Day Camp is committed to expanding opportunities for campers with disabilities.


Hello, World!

Vocational Education Programs

Continuing its ongoing support of Ramah’s vocational programs, the Ruderman Family Foundation has granted $150,000 over three years (2015-2017) for vocational education at Ramah California, Canada, New England and Wisconsin, and to encourage vocational education inclusion programs at other Ramah camps.


California

Ojai, CA

Elana Naftalin-Kelman
Tikvah Director
(310) 476-8571

Ezra is a vocational training program for young adults ages 18-23. Participants are staff at camp and receive job training experience in a number of service areas both in and outside of camp. Program goals include preparing young adults for independent living and teaching them employment-related skills. Camp provides an ideal setting for participants in the Ezra program to grow and thrive with peers under adult supervision in a Jewish setting.

 


Canada

Utterson, ON

Casey and Adam Green
Tikvah Directors
(416) 789-2193

The Tikvah Program is a six-week program for teens with developmental disabilities, ages 12-21. The program provides recreational, social, and educational experiences for campers. Campers in the Tikvah program enjoy swimming, hiking, sports, and arts and crafts, and also attend daily services, study Hebrew, and learn Jewish customs. Each camper is integrated into the ongoing activities of the camp according to his or her abilities. The program includes a vocational education component for young adults ages 18-21.


Darom

Clayton, GA

Audra Kaplan
Tikvah Director
(404) 531-0801

Ramah Darom’s Vocational Training Program is designed for participants of post-high school age and will include job placements within camp. Participants will receive coaching in areas of employment, life skills, and relationship development. Placements take into account participants’ ability level, stamina, and vocational interests. Work placements include the following areas: early childhood, farming, dining hall, kitchen, infirmary, administrative/office, maintenance, mailroom, canteen, sports, and art center. In addition, participants are guided in developing meaningful projects based upon their interests and creativity. Participants are valued members of Ramah Darom, enjoying all aspects of our Jewish community.


New England

Palmer, MA

Bonnie Schwartz
Tikvah Director
(781) 400-0204

Tochnit Avodah (Voc Ed) offers vocational training, socialization and a group living experience to young adults with disabilities. Through close communication with participants’ parents and year-round support professionals we develop a summer program individualized to each participant’s needs, focusing on goals in the areas of social skills, job skills, and independent living skills. We also offer summer employment with necessary supports to a select group of graduates of Tochnit Avodah.


Northern California

Monterey, CA

Howard Blas
Tikvah Director
(413) 374-7210

The Ezra Program offers vocational training for young adult campers ages 18 to 26. Individualized internship and mentorship opportunities include, but are not limited to, horse care, office/administrative work, and food services/hospitality. Ezra participants develop life and social/recreational skills through participation in age-appropriate camper and staff activities.


Wisconsin

Conover, WI

Jacob Cytryn
Director
(312) 606-9316

Atzmayim (Hebrew for “independent”), the Tikvah Vocational Program, is designed to strengthen social and vocational skills in participants who are high school graduates ages 18-21. It is intended to assist in transitioning to an independent living environment such as a college campus or developing the ability to select and engage in leisure activities at home.

 

Family Camps & Retreats


California

Ojai, CA

Elana Naftalin-Kelman
Tikvah Director
(310) 476-8571

Camp Ohr Lanu at Ramah California is a week-long camp for families who have children with disabilities. Families come to camp to experience support from other families, get respite, and learn, while enjoying activities such as swimming, hiking, sports, and climbing.

 


Darom

Clayton, GA

Susan Tecktiel
Camp Yofi Director
(404) 531-0801

Camp Yofi at Camp Ramah Darom is a nationally acclaimed program for Jewish families with children with autism spectrum disorders between the ages of 6 and 13. Single parents, grandparents, and siblings are invited to attend, and all Jewish families are welcome. The program is held at Ramah Darom’s Kaplan Mitchell Retreat & Conference Center, a 122-acre facility in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


New England

Palmer, MA

Bonnie Schwartz
Tikvah Director
(781) 400-0204

 

The Tikvah Family Shabbaton is a “Taste of Tikvah” experience for the entire family. The Shabbaton includes programming designed specifically for parents, children with disabilities, and their typically-developing siblings. The Shabbaton creates a unique, supportive community where everyone is not only accepted, but truly celebrated.

Read more about the Tikvah programs at Ramah New England.


Poconos

Lakewood, PA

Adena Sternthal
Tikvah Family Camp Director
(267) 648-5211

The Tikvah Family Camp is a five-day overnight program for families with children ages 4-13 with developmental disabilities and/or social learning disabilities. This program incorporates Jewish learning, recreation, spiritual reflection, and fun in the beautiful natural environment of Ramah Poconos.