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

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 (http://www.ramahbikeride.org).  Each rider has a unique story of why he or she is riding in support of special needs camping programs at all Ramah camps.  As my rider page explains, I came to Ramah New England in 1984 to work in the kitchen.  When there was an unexpected last minute opening for a counselor position in Nivonim, they considered mefor the job, but I was too young!  A guy named Cliff Nerwen, scheduled to be an Amitzim counselor, agreed to make the move to Nivonim, and I took his spot in Tikvah!

I can honestly say that “switch” to Tikvah changed my life—this is my 17th year affiliated with Tikvah.  And Cliff Nerwen, a long time Nivonim counselor and Rosh Edah at CRNE, is now a pediatrician; he works each summer as a camp doctor at Ramah Berkshires. I look forward to reconnecting with Cliff as we ride together through the Golan Heights and Galil—for a good cause!  Check out my rider page!http://www.firstgiving.com

And Rami  has his own special story. “My connection to Tikvah runs deep,” Rami reports. “As a camper, I spent much of my summers volunteering my time in the Tikvah program and another three summers working for the program in different forms. Today, as a rosh edah elsewhere in camp, I continue to see Tikvah as a crucial component of my camp experience and get great joy out of watching my campers of all ages and abilities make Tikvah a part of their summer as well.”  

Rami is now working in New York City as a Special Projects Coordinator for the National Ramah Commission.  When he started working in this capacity, the idea for the ride began to materialize.  “They needed a coordinator for the trip and, eager to be involved in any kind of project related to Tikvah, especially on a national level, I happily jumped on board.” 

In addition, Rami notes,  “On a more personal note, I dedicate my own five days of riding to the honor of my dear friend, shul buddy, and soon-to-be brother-in-law (Dani, brother of long time Tikvah Rosh Edah, Ariella Rosen), to whom the Tikvah program at Ramah NE has been incredibly meaningful over the years.”  Read Rami’s story and consider sponsoring him!  http://www.firstgiving.com

Thanks to the kindness of many in our camp community, I have raised  nearly $11,000!  And Rami has exceeded his goal of $3,200!  The 40 riders are likely to raise more than $180,000!!! We are so close to hitting our goal!

Kol Hakavode to all of the riders and supporters—especially those with Ramah New England affiliations--Rami, me, Ciff, Ellen Phaff Shein and Harriet.