Camp Ramah in the Poconos is a summer camp affiliated with the National Ramah Commission. Opened in 1950, it is located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, in the mountains of Wayne County in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

As with other Ramah camps, Camp Ramah in the Poconos is focused on Jewish education. Its operation is infused with some sort of an educational theme, whether it be Zionism, the Jewish lifecycle, or ritual. The camp seeks to maintain a connection with the State of Israel and uses Hebrew as the language of official instruction, communication, and education.


Divisions (Edot)

Campers are split up into divisions by grade and age. These divisions are called Edot the plural of the word Edah (עדה) which means group in Hebrew. The Edot which are at Ramah Poconos are:

  • Notzetzim – נוצצים ("sparkles"), entering 4th and 5th grades. Formerly known as Nitzanim – ניצנים ("buds")
  • Tzi'irim – צעירים ("young ones"), entering 6th grade.
  • Chalutzim – חלוצים ("pioneers"), entering 7th grade.
  • Bogrim – בוגרים ("mature ones," "graduates"), entering 8th grade.
  • Machon – מכון ("foundation" or "institute"), entering 9th grade.
  • Shoafim – שואפים ("those who strive"), entering 10th grade. Formerly know as K'votzatz Yonatan – קבצת ינתן ("Yonatan Netanyahu's group")
  • Gesher – גשר ("bridge"), entering 11th grade.


The staff of Ramah Poconos is composed largely of former Ramah campers. Many campers to return as counselors and specialists for several summers while they are in college. After college, they can continue to come back as the head of the age groups or in other positions. Camp Ramah encourages new recruits and give staff members who recruit others a bonus payment. Staff are trained on a perpetual basis throughout the summer beginning with the week before the campers come. This "staff week" is named after and funded by an endowment in honor of Director Emeritus, Cheryl Magen. It is spent drilling safety procedures, camp rules, activity planning, and many other important things into the staff members. Throughout the summer, counselors and other staff members have Hadracha, (transliteration of הדרכה the Hebrew word for guidance) sessions that continue to train the staff in all necessary areas. Senior counselors are expected to mentor the junior counselors, so their Hadracha sessions spend a lot of focus on how to teach the younger counselors. Junior counselors are taught how to deal with issues for the first time. All staff is encouraged seek guidance from other staff at any time.


In addition to the regular staff, Ramah Poconos, together with the Jewish Agency for Israel, brings 40–50 Israeli staff members to camp each summer. These Israelis are a full part of the camp and participate in all areas of the camp. By contributing to the immersive environment of the camp, Israeli staff members enhance the quality of Jewish education at Ramah Poconos. Although every Israeli staff member has historically been assigned to a camper bunk, beginning in the summer of 2007, the assigned staff member eats with their bunk at mealtime.

Current leadership


The current director is Rabbi Todd Zeff

The 2009 Hanhala is:
Matthew Kanoff Rosh Notzetzim
Matthew Dorsch Rosh Tzi'irim
Josh Dorsch Rosh Chalutzim
Ariele Beinart Rosh Bogrim
Sarah Waxman Rosh Machon
Ari Saks Rosh Shoafim
Nicole Schechter Rosh Gesher[original research?]


Basic outdoor living skills are taught in camp through age-appropriate experiences, culminating in backpacking and overnight hikes and canoe trips. Ecology, the Jewish connection to nature, and camping skills are integrated with group-building and personal achievement challenges. The campers are permitted to choose two regular activities, like arts and crafts, Radio Ramah (WCRP), teva (nature), mitbachon (baking and cooking), creative dramatics, and many others. Some sports available for campers include basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer, hockey, softball, volley ball, archery, and flag football.

Additionally, Ramah Poconos offers many opportunities for campers to express their creativity within the context of Judaism. The camp drama program puts on several plays each summer, all of which are performed entirely in Hebrew. The arts and crafts building has plenty of opportunities for painting, drawing, ceramics, and other forms of artistic expression. The music program gives singing lessons to the campers about 2–3 times a week and often offers additional musical activities, such as bands and a capella groups.


Waterfront and Sports


The view of the Ramah pool and lake as seen from boys campus

The camp's pool and lake provide the setting for Red Cross certification, and instruction in boating, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and windsurfing. All waterfront staff are certified lifeguards, and many have a history of competitive swimming or boating.

Sport choices include basketball, baseball, floor hockey, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and tennis. Ramah Poconos boasts excellent sports facilities, including a newly reconstructed baseball field and three basketball courts. Special sports programs include inter-camp games, yoga, martial arts (including Krav Maga), Ramah Tennis Open, and Maccabiah, the two-day color war, and the campers between Notzetzim (entering 5th grade), and Machon, (campers entering 9th grade) are divided into four colors and participate in dozens of Olympic and made-up mini-games during the second session only (mid-July to mid-august).

Beginning in the summer of 2007, famous basketball player Tamir Goodman will spend time at Ramah Poconos to run a special basketball clinic, and almost every child will get to play, talk, and interact with him, whether they are in the basketball sport or not.

Tikvah Family Camp

The Tikvah Family Camp at Camp Ramah in the Poconos is a five-day overnight program that provides Jewish children with developmental disorders and/or social learning disorders, their parents, and their siblings the opportunity to experience together a Jewish summer camp. The Tikvah Family Camp director is Deborah Musher.

See also


External links

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