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Camp Ramah New England Blog

February 17, 2012

TIkvah Staff past and present from Ramah New England, Darom and Wisconsin joined New York area Tikvah parents last Saturday night at REELabilities, a unique abilities/disabilities film festival. The festival, which now takes place in several US cities, was started in 2007.  The NY festival is... Read more...

Greetings from Ojai--The Ramah Special Needs Network and Directors Meetings
January 4, 2012

 Greetings from Camp Ramah in California.  In a short while, amitzim counselor, Estie Martin, inclusion counselor, David Cohen, former Tikvah long-time staff member, Shira Arcus, and I will join our colleagues from Ramah special needs programs from across North America to share our various... Read more...

An Open Letter to the Mishlochot: The Special Tikvah/Mishlochot Relationship
January 4, 2012

Thank you to so many of our mishlochot friends who came from all over Israel to visit with our Tikvah Ramah Israel Program participants during our recent Israel trip.   Thank you for hosting us in your homes in Beit Shemesh and Modiin.  Thanks for taking us swimming and making us a beautiful... Read more...

Special Bar/Bat Mitzvahs Encourage and Model “The Possible”
October 22, 2011

A couple of years ago, I became aware of the sad fact that many Tikvah campers had not celebrated their becoming bar/bat mitzvah.  It seemed natural that all children—regardless of ability or disability--celebrated b’nai mitzvah.  I therefore added the following questions on our... Read more...

Diary of a Bike Ride: Howard Blas' Piece in CT Jewish Ledger (and an Invitation to Ride This Sunday in West Hartford, CT to Support Tikvah)
June 16, 2011

Read about the recent Ramah Galil Bike Ride, posted onine at the CT Jewish Ledger website. not too late to sign up for the Tour De Shuls, this Sunday in West Hartford.  Come ride 20, 35 or 50 miles, or walk/run//bike 5 or 10... Read more...

Tikvah Camper, Eric Parkes, and Amitzim Counselors Featured in CT Jewish Ledger Article on Tour De Shuls
June 9, 2011

Hit the road for a good causePosted by JLedger on June 7, 2011 in CT News | 0 Comment i2 Votes// PDRTJS_settings_3335671_post_5348={"id":3335671,"unique_id":"wp-post-5348","title":"Hit the road for a good... Read more...

Come Ride in Tour De Shuls-to Support our Tikvah Program (Check out former Tikvah camper Josh Starr in his conducting debut!)
May 31, 2011

 Tour De Shuls, a series of bike rides organized by the Federation of Jewish Mens Clubs, supports the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England. It is not too late to sign up for this years rides: ( --June 5th Tour De Shuls bike ride in Boston and the June 19th Tour... Read more...

Hanging Out In Israel, With My Mentors, and 40 Bike Riders
May 29, 2011

Last Motzaei Shabbat, at the C Hacienda Forestview Hotel  in Maalot, Israel, 40 plus Ramah Galil bikeriders celebrated Lag B'Omer with a bonfire and performance by the Shuk, featuring former Amitzim rosh edah and voc ed advisor, Ami Yares.  This allowed me to spend ever more time with my... Read more...

Bringing Together Ramah Special Needs Staff
May 29, 2011

Read Tikvah Director Howard Blas' thoughts on how bringing the Ramah specical needs program directors together on a regular basis (via video conferencing and google groups) has lead to more collaboration on many levels between the Ramah camps in the US and Canada.  Most recently, a group of... Read more...

The Ramah Galil Israel Bike Rider—Everyone Has a Story!
May 12, 2011

This Sunday, Rosh Edah, Rami Schwartzer, and I will join 40 riders, representing Ramah camps across the US and Canada, in the first ever Ramah Galil Bike Ride (  Each rider has a unique story of why he or she is riding in support of special needs camping programs... Read more...

Former Tikvah Camper Eytan Nisinzweig In The News
April 14, 2011

People often ask me, "What happens to Tikvah campers when they graduate or leave Tikvah? "  Read one of many amazing success stories: with heartEytan Nisinzweig is a 25-year Greenwich artist and... Read more...

Learning Torah, With Tikvah, Shabbos Is Calling Style
February 11, 2011

Last night may have been my best night yet online!  No, I did not watch a cool YouTube video or reconnect on Facebook with a friend from 2nd grade--i learned Torah with members of Camp Ramah in New England's Vocational Training Program.  This group of young adults with a range of special... Read more...

“Shabbos Is Calling” – Keeping Campers Engaged Year Round"
February 6, 2011

Tikvah Director, Howard Blas, was asked to guest post on the Matan blog:“Why can’t camp be twelve months instead of just two months?” asks Marcia Yellin, mother of Jacob Yellin, a long time camper and member of the vocational training program at... Read more...

February 5, 2011

“Shabbos Is Calling” – Keeping Campers Engaged Year RoundTikvah Director, Howard Blas, was invited to be a guest blogger on the matankids blog: 4th, 2011 “Why can’t camp be twelve months instead of just two months?”... Read more...

February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month
February 3, 2011

Read Tikvah Director, Howard Blas', blogpost on Davar Acher, the blog of the Jim Joseph Foundation Fellows.  He writes about the many ABILITIES of people with special needs.  Featured are former Tikvah campers Aaron Rudolph and Eytan Nizinzweig.   Others noted who are making a... Read more...

The Tikvah at 40 Quilt!
December 7, 2010

Thank you to Marcia Yellin, mother of long time Amitzimer and Voc Eder, Jacob Yellin, to Rhonda Parker and to all of the attendees at this summer's amazing "Tikvah at 40" celebration.   As part of the festivities, we painted squares which were made in to a beautiful quilt, likely to be around... Read more...

Tikvah Director Howard Blas' Address to Beth El Synagogue-Shabbat Chanukah
December 6, 2010

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah. Often on Shabbat Chanukah, Chanukah gets a disproportionate share of attention, and Shabbat is in the background.  I wouldn’t want this Shabbat’s parsha of Miketz, which has so much to do with DREAMs, to be overlooked. Forty one years ago, Herb... Read more...

Voc Ed and Post Voc Ed Reunion Shabbaton in West Hartford, CT
December 6, 2010

Voc Ed and Post Voc Ed enjoyed a fantastic Shabbat Chanukah in West Hartford.  The Emanuel Synagogue and Beth El Synagogue were amazing hosts.  We enjoyed great food, friendship, Shlock Rock and special Camp Ramah Voc Ed/Post Voc  Ed Reunion sweatpants!  Can't wait for Kayitz, 2011 at... Read more...

Blas Bike Ride Update: $531 in Sponsors in One Week!
November 13, 2010

The Training for Ramah Galil Ride 2011 continues--and what a great cause--Ramah special needs camping programs.Thanks to Ramah friends who have sponsored me so far.  I am more than 10% of the way there.  I am trying to reach my goal of $5,000.Please consider sponsoring me if you haven't. ... Read more...

Amitzim, Voc Ed and Post Voc Ed: Shabbos Is Calling Goes Video!!
November 11, 2010

Yasher Koach to Tikvah campers, staff and family members.  After lots of work preparing our video cameras, headsets and computers, Amitzim campers and staff members "met" at 7 pm for a video conference on MegaMeeting.  A total of 12 people sang Shabbat songs, and shmoozed about such things as... Read more...

Howard Blas To Ride In Ramah Bike Ride-To Benefit Ramah Special Needs Programs
November 4, 2010

I just signed up to spend five days riding 50-65 miles per day through the Galil and mountainous Golan Heights of Israel.  Why?The ride combines three of my loves:  Jewish special needs camping, Israel and bike riding.  I have spent more than 1/3 of my life working with our Tikvah Program;... Read more...

Voc Ed, The Marriott and Walgreens
August 19, 2010

 Members of Tochnit Avodah, the Vocational Training Program, work in camp for three hours each day. They work in the gan, the mercaz, the dining room, the education department, on the ropes course and in the guest house.Wednesdays is everyone’s day off.  We take trips which are sometimes... Read more...

Bryce and Yehuda
August 19, 2010

Yehuda Gubani of Beit Shemesh,Israel was just honored for 25 years of service to CampRamah in New England.  Yehuda is a gifted teacher who brings his love of Israel, Hebrew language and Yemenite culture to Ramah campers and staff.  Bryce Lavalla is a 20 year old man with Down Syndrome who wears... Read more...

Weinberg Foudation Visits With Tikvah and Inclusion Programs
July 14, 2010

We were pleased to host Stan Goldman, Program Director (Disabilities, and Education, Children, Youth, and Families) and Trustee Barry Schloss of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Highlights included a special tour of the Tikvah Village, Voc Ed Building and Tikvah Greenberg Guest... Read more...

All Smiles for "TIkvah at 40"
July 7, 2010

Members of the Tikvah Program can't stop smiling!  We are so excited to welcome Tikvah alumni, staff and friends to our "Tikvah at 40" Celebration and Reunion in Palmer this Sunday from 2:30 to 7:30.  At 2:30, we will be welcomed by our director, Rabbi Ed Gelb.  Then, enjoy an art... Read more...

Bike Riding For Tikvah: Tour De Shuls in Two States!
June 29, 2010

I biked 50 miles last Sunday, but that is not big news.  The truly wonderful story is that shul members, riders, some congregational rabbis and cantors, and members of the Tikvah Voc Ed Program came out to support the Tour de Shuls bike rides in both Boston, MA and West Hartford, CT. The... Read more...

Tour de Shuls-Connecticut Style (Bike Ride to Support Tikvah!)
June 10, 2010

Tour de Shuls...Connecticut styleConnecticut Jewish LedgerPublished: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:00 PM EDTHelping to give special needs kids a fun summerBy Cindy MindellFor several years, the New England Region of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs has raised money to support the Tikvah Program at... Read more...

A Refreshing Taste of Palmer (and Kazakhstan) in Central Park
June 4, 2010

As you can imagine, the days leading up to camp are exciting and action packed.  For the Tikvah Director, who doesn’t work out of the camp office, there is no period of “packing up the office and moving to Palmer.”  So, when the office is in transition, my computer is still on... Read more...

100 Days of Butterflies: A Tribute To Nechama Leibowitz
March 11, 2010

I have been working at camp for sixteen years and directing the Tikvah Program for ten years.  As we are in the final stretch in preparing for Kayitz, 2010,  I admit to feeling a bit nervous.  Will camp be as great as last year?  Will the staff work well together?  Will the campers and staff... Read more...

Camp Bnai Mitzvahs Are Special!
February 28, 2010

As both a camp parent and as the director of the Tikvah Program, I have attended many bar and bat mitzvahs of Ramah New England campers.  And I have seen first hand just how a bar or bat mitzvah is enhanced when camp friends--from close by and from far away—are able to attend.A highlight of... Read more...

Tikvah Director Howard Blas Blogs for Jim Joseph Foundation Fellows Program
February 7, 2010

In past blogposts, I have shared news of the Jim Joseph Foundation Fellows Program.  The fourteen fellows, from across the country and from various fields of formal and informal Jewish education, are learning to develop online communities of practice.  I look forward to sharing more about... Read more...

The Question Everyone is Asking?Did Eric Levine Actually Meet President Obama? Tales From The Voc Ed/Post Voc Ed Reunion/ Shabbaton in Washington
January 27, 2010

As the "State of The Union" Address draws to a close, I feel compelled to answer this burning question: Did Eric Levine meet Barack Obama? Odds makers in DC and on the entire east coast were betting that, if anyone from the Tikvah delegation would meet the President, it would be Eric! In fact, even... Read more...

The Amazing Tikvah, Ramah, Israel, Mishlachat Relationship
December 24, 2009

I just arrived in Jerusalem where I will spend Shabbat with the 13 other Fellows and three teachers of the Jim Joseph Foundation Fellowship Program of the Lookstein Center. We have been learning together and traveling together since our arrival in Israel this past Monday. The truth is, more than... Read more...

Giving and Receiving Gifts
December 16, 2009

Like it or not, this is the season of giving and receiving gifts. We are thinking about gifts we will give to our children, their teachers, our co-workers, family members, even our letter carriers.  We may even think about gifts for ourselves!  There is always the hope that we will receive as... Read more...

Tikvah Campers, Families, Staff and Friends THRIVE in the "Off Season"
November 24, 2009

Many years ago, Marcy Yellin, mother long time Amitzim camper and Voc Eder, Jacob Yellin, raised an interesting observation. I suspect her comment is no different from ones we hear from Ramah parents in all Ramah camps. The Yellin Family has LOVED Ramah and Tikvah. "Our only regret is that Tikvah... Read more...