Every year, at Rosh Hashanah and Passover, I receive a hand written New Year’s card from Matthew, a camper from my Tikvah bunk in 1984 and 1985 at Camp Ramah in New England. We still correspond on Facebook, and he remembers the names of everyone in our bunks those years. Matthew is still in touch with some of his bunkmates and always fills me in on how each person is doing. I know about many of them, of course, since I am also in touch with them.
When I began posting about “Tikvah at 50” and some of the online events we are planning, Tikvah alum from years and decades ago began to post. Eric, also in my bunk in the mid ‘80s, wrote, “Wow, 50 years! I'm proud to have been in that edah back in the 80's. Todah Rabah to Herb and Barbara Greenberg for creating such a legacy. Too bad that due to the virus, there will be no 50th anniversary celebration.” Eric was paying tribute to Tikvah’s founders, who had the vision to create an environment with people with disabilities were included in a Jewish overnight summer camp—starting in 1970. Eric was also feeling sad and disappointed that the big in person reunion scheduled for last Sunday—July 19, 2020—at Camp Ramah in New England—would be postponed.
Matthew read Eric’s comment and added, “I remember the Tikvah group very well and the Greenberg’s who ran the Tikvah Program. It is very bad that we cannot get together for this wonderful event at the camp this summer to enjoy this event and to see everyone. If I could get the schedule of the events, I would like to be part of the events on the computer or Zoom. Thank you.”
I received so many similar text and Facebook messages—from alum of Tikvah from 5, 10, 20, 30, and 36 years ago.
The message is clear. Tikvah alum had the same positive, meaningful, impactful Jewish summer camp experience that their peers had—and they want to continue staying connected with this special community. Our Virtual Voc Ed Training and Socializing Program is showing us the power of connecting online. Participants from Toronto, Sacramento, Chicago, DC, Florida and other places—across 4 time zones, have been meeting to learn and socialize—and they are really connecting.
Reshet Ramah has succeeded in connecting alum from across camps, from across the generations. We will continue to find ways to further develop and expand our National Ramah Tikvah Network to find new, innovative ways for members of the Tikvah Programs to stay connected—to each other, and to the larger camp communities!