During these tough times, it is especially important to celebrate happy occasions. That is why invitations to celebrate Zoom and occasional in person brisses and baby namings, b’nai mitzvahs and weddings have been so meaningful.
Tomorrow, the Ramah Camping Movement embarks on a week of events which mark two historical events: Tikvah at 50 and the ADA at 30.
The Tikvah Program has been including campers with disabilities at Ramah camps since 1970. We began to celebrate this milestone in 2019 in Jerusalem at the start of our last Ramah Israel Bike Ride and Hike; to kick off the ride and hike, we honored Tikvah’s founders, Herb and Barbara Greenberg. We had hoped to continue the festivities with an event at Camp Ramah in New England this summer. Instead, we will continue on Zoom tomorrow evening, when we also mark the 30th anniversary of the passage of the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush. It is a civil rights law which prohibits discrimination based on disability. The ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations. Ironically, religious entities like synagogues are completely exempt from Title III of the ADA. All of their facilities, programs, and activities, whether they are religious or secular in nature, are exempt.
At Ramah, people with disabilities participate in all aspects of camp—camping and vocational training programs, they serve as staff members, and they attend Israel programs. The impact of Ramah on campers, family members, staff and the entire Ramah community is extraordinary.
Tomorrow night, we kick off our special week with “Jewish Journeys: Tikvah's Role in the Jewish Disability Narrative”—it will focus on the growth and impact of Ramah’s Tikvah programs over the past fifty years, through the lens of Tikvah alumni, parents, staff, and community members. There is still time to register:
We will also be singing and dancing in celebration of Tikvah, viewing movie clubs and discussing disabilities inclusion, and more.
Keep an eye for special events in celebration of ADA at 30—start your search here, on the ADA Anniversary website!