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Camp Ramah in the Berkshires in Wingdale, New York, is one of seven overnight summer camps and three day camps affiliated with the Conservative Movement of Judaism and the National Ramah Commission. It is accredited by the American Camp Association.
It is a religiously oriented camp that observes the laws of Shabbat and Kashrut. Hebrew is widely used in all facets of camp life, from the names for buildings, physical infrastructure, and services, to camp activities and programs.
The current Director is Rabbi Paul Resnick, and the Assistant Director is Rabbi Amy Roth. Rabbi Jerome (Jerry) Abrams was the founder of the camp in 1964. He is now Director Emeritus. Rabbi David Mogilner, Rabbi Sheldon (Shelley) Dorph, David August, Rabbi Burton Cohen were Directors in late 1960 and 1970s.
Despite its name, the camp is not technically located in the Berkshires. It sits on 299-acre (1.21 km2) site in Dutchess County, New York, about 30 miles (48 km) southwest of the Massachusetts border and the Berkshire Mountains, on Lake Ellis.
Campers are divided by age groups, called Edot in Hebrew:
- Cochavim ("Stars"), entering 4th Grade
- Nitzanim ("Flower Buds"), entering 5th Grade
- Shorashim ("Roots"), entering 6th Grade
- Tzeirim ("Youths"), entering 7th Grade
- Sollelim ("Pavers"), entering 8th Grade
- Bogrim ("Graduates"), entering 9th Grade
- Machon ("Institute") entering 10th Grade
- Gesher ("Bridge"), entering 11th Grade
Campers attend daily religious prayer services. On Mondays, Saturdays and on Thursdays the campers execute the traditional torah service or reading of the Jewish holy book. Also the campers attend classes or programs which the camp has set up to structure their Jewish background.
Since 2003, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces association sponsored a summer camp program for Israeli children who have lost a parent or sibling in a war or terrorist attack. The children spend the summer at various Jewish sleep-away camps in the United States. In 2007, Camp Ramah in the Berkshires hosted 50 campers and staff members.The Same program took place in 2008 and 2009.
- Camp Ramah in the Berkshires website
- National Ramah Commission website
- "Research Findings on the Impact of Camp Ramah," 2004
- Jewish Summer Camps in America