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Camp Ramah's Tikvah Program Articles

May22013
Ramah Celebrates, Raises Money For Its Pioneering Camps By Biking Across Israel
May 2, 2013

An enthusiastic group of 72 bike riders and hikers, ages 13-73, arrived in Eilat on April 30 after biking since April 24 all the way from Jerusalem. They made the trip — the Ramah Israel Challenge — to support special needs programs at Ramah camps in the United States and Canada. Meaningful… Read more...

Mar62013
Jewish camps seeking to bring diverse groups under the same tent
March 6, 2013

NEW YORK (JTA) — Is there a more enthusiastic camper in the world than Ezra Fields-Meyer, a 17-year-old with high-functioning autism and a regular at Camp Ramah in Southern California? Not if you ask his father. Tom Fields-Meyer says his son’s annual visit to the rural retreat in Ojai, 80 miles… Read more...

Feb182013
Fresh Perspectives on Israel
February 18, 2013

Friends, Today I’m happy to share with you a fascinating description of Israel through the eyes of a group of young adults with Asperger Syndrome. Howard Blas, architect of Ramah New England’s highly respected inclusion program, accompanied this group on their Birthright trip and… Read more...

Nov282012
Tikvah Staff Alumni at the Post-GA Disability Inclusion Initiative
November 28, 2012

When Shelley Cohen and Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi returned to their bus after their tour of Camp Ramah in New England, they knew they had to bring the issue of inclusion of people with disabilities to a much larger audience. They had just participated in a three-day bus tour for funders of summer… Read more...

Jul132012
Our Inclusive Community
July 13, 2012

Our Tikvah participants joined the whole camp for a trip to Six Flags. Every year, I wonder if this is the best use of our time. It is a fun day, but it is very taxing. We assess the campers and their needs (Which rides? How much supervision? Water park?) and we assign two or three staff members to… Read more...

Aug302011
"Shabbos Is Calling" to Campers with Disabilities: All Year Long
August 30, 2011

This month, members of Camp Ramah in New England’s Tikvah Program returned to their home communities in New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Florida and California. Unlike their neurotypical peers who have year-round opportunities to participate in… Read more...

Feb242011
Shabbos is Calling: Camp Ramah engages Jewish teens with special needs in a year-round Jewish experience
February 24, 2011

In Azeem Kayum’s moving book, Wrestling with the Goddess, his mom writes, “Azeem does not want your sympathy. He wants your friendship. He wants to be accepted for who he is. I want all of you to realize that any one of you can be hit by a car today and become disabled. Would you like… Read more...

Dec242010
Jewish Educational Leadership: Nurturing an Online Community of Practice
December 24, 2010

Camp Ramah has been serving campers with special needs for over forty years. These include Ramah camps in Massachusetts, Canada, Wisconsin, New York, Georgia, California, Pennsylvania and Illinois, which offer programs for campers with a range of special needs. Some offer overnight camping… Read more...

Nov42010
Campers with Developmental Disabilities: The Tikvah Program
November 4, 2010

Disabilities: What the Ancient Rabbis knew At a pre-season retreat, twenty senior staff members of Camp Ramah in New England spent a weekend discussing the educational theme for the upcoming summer—the biblical concept of betzelem elohim —the idea that everyone is created in the… Read more...

Oct142010
Breaking barriers: Walgreens hires West Hartford man with special needs
October 14, 2010

Aaron Rudolph’s drive to work from his home in West Hartford to the Walgreen’s Distribution Center in Windsor is usually uneventful. Having special needs and landing a meaningful job often poses more of a challenge. Rudolph is one of the lucky ones. A story in the Hartford Courant five years ago… Read more...

Oct92010
Blessed with Options: The special Bat Mitzvah
October 9, 2010

Becoming a Bat Mitzvah has the potential to be affirming, celebratory, and a wonderful welcome into the Jewish community as a whole and into the community of Jewish women in particular. Yet, planning a Bat Mitzvah can be confusing and stressful, given the various practices accepted and the options… Read more...

Aug22010
Camp for Everyone: The blessings of Jewish camps for special-needs kids
August 2, 2010

Are you completely sick of me yammering about camp? Well, you’ll be glad to know that this is my last camp-related column of the summer. But while the others have been jokey, this one is anything but. Ezra Kress at camp in 2010. Photo by Jeffrey Kress Meet Ezra, the 12-year-old son of my… Read more...

Jul132010
Ramah Special Needs Program Celebrates 40 Years of Inclusion
July 13, 2010

Campers, families, counselors and others touched by Ramah’s Tikvah program for special needs youth converged Sunday at Camp Ramah New England to mark the groundbreaking initiative and four decades of impact. The Tikvah program, established at Camp Ramah New England in 1970, and now active… Read more...

Jul122010
Camp Ramah Marks 40 Years of Inclusion for Special Needs Campers
July 12, 2010

Avi Friedman Matthew Bander, left, of Brighton, is a former Tikvah camper who attended the 40th anniversary celebrations at Camp Ramah New England on Sunday. He is pictured with Emily Perlmutter, a friend of his and the program. PALMER, MA — Campers, families, counselors and others touched… Read more...

Jun92010
Tour de Shuls... Connecticut style
June 9, 2010

Helping to give special needs kids a fun summer By Cindy Mindell For several years, the New England Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs has raised money to support the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England, one of the first summer programs for Jewish campers with special needs…. Read more...

Apr162010
Choosing the Right One: Summer Camps for Children with I/DD
April 16, 2010

Summer camp - both day camps and overnight camps - offer opportunities for children to learn new skills, form friendships, experiment with new interests, and learn new things about themselves. Children with intellectual disabilities are increasingly participating in these programs. But truly… Read more...

Feb262010
Connecting Members of the Tikvah Community Year-Round
February 26, 2010

This has been a very exciting “off season” for the Tikvah Program — with the magic of our community continuing, even if we can’t be at camp. As many of you know, I am one of fourteen Jewish educators from across the country selected to join the first cohort of Jim Joseph Foundation Fellows (JJFF)…. Read more...

Jun112009
Toward an Orthodox Community that is More Responsive to People with Special Needs
June 11, 2009

Howard Blas is a social worker and special educator who primarily teaches students with special needs and circumstances in Jewish Studies and for bar and bat mitzvah. He is Director of the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England. Howard’s work has appeared in publications such as The Jerusalem… Read more...

Jun52009
Gearing Up for ‘Tour de Shuls’
June 5, 2009

Photo courtesy of Ken Turkewitz, New England Region Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, Tour-de-Shuls Chair 2009 Riders and supporters from Camp Ramah gather at last years race. NEEDHAM — Over two years ago on a Sunday afternoon, Stephen Baum found himself heading south on his weekly bike… Read more...

Jan72009
A Wonderful Tikvah Trip to Israel
January 7, 2009

It is always difficult to pinpoint the highlight of any visit to Israel. For ten Tikvah Program participants and alumni, who participated with Tikvah Director Howard Blas and two madrichim on a recent ten-day Tikvah Ramah Israel Program, all would likely agree that seeing camp friends ranks near… Read more...

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