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

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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 mentors, Herb and Barbara Greenberg, founders and directors for 29 years of the TIkvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England.  I was privileged to work with and learn from the for 6 years prior to their  making aliyah.  Since taking over as director 11 years ago, I continue to be in regular contact.

Last Shabbat, the Greenbergs and I had an opportunity to lead two session for the riders on the history of Tikvah.  The 40 riders and various guests were amazed to hear about the early years--trying to get camps to agree to "take" Tikvah, trying to recruit campers and staff, etc.  And they were treated to stories illustrating how far we have come--Tikvah Israel trips, an inclusion program, extensive vocational  training opportunities, and special needs programs in many Ramah camps in the US and Canada. 

The riders, who raised more than $205,000, which will be distributed to the various Ramah camps and National Ramah to support special needs camping, left with a strong connection to the cause they are riding for!