Camp Ramah Opens Its Doors For The First Time To Families Unaffiliated With A Synagogue

Jan 29, 2013, 05:00 ET from Camp Ramah

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, Camp Ramah in the Poconos and Ramah Day Camp in Melrose Park, PA are opening their doors to campers whose families are not currently affiliated with a synagogue. 

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"Times are changing, American Jewry is changing, and Ramah wants to be known as inclusive, rather than exclusive when it comes to bringing in new campers to live 'the Ramah experience,'" said Rabbi Joel Seltzer, Director, Camp Ramah in the Poconos.  "It is well documented that a Jewish summer camping experience is the primary factor in young people remaining Jewish and aligning themselves with American Jewry through adulthood.  Ramah plays a significant role in that now and we want to play an even more significant role moving forward."

Thanks to a grant from the Zell Family Foundation and the AVI CHAI Foundation to pilot a new initiative to bring more children with little or no Jewish institutional affiliation into Ramah camps, the 'OpenDoor" program is set to begin this coming summer.

Ramah is currently identifying unaffiliated families interested in the camp. Before the summer even begins, Ramah staff will work closely with campers and their families to ensure a successful integration at camp.  During the summer, extra staff will be on hand for any additional support these campers may need and follow-up programs will be planned after the summer for overnight campers and families, and during the summer for Day Camp families.

Sam Zell, an alumnus of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, and the AVI CHAI Foundation have made this grant in recognition of Ramah's leading role in inspiring children from all levels of Jewish background to build strong Jewish identity in a joyful manner.

"With OpenDoor Ramah, we hope to bring the gift of a Ramah camping experience to even more children in our community.  Ramah is a home to so many, now it can be a home for everyone," said Seltzer.

Ramah's mission is to create a nurturing, safe, fun-filled Jewish community that inspires the educational, social, cultural, moral, physical, and emotional growth of campers and staff, fostering life-long Jewish identity.

For information on the program, contact Tamar Barbash at 215-885-8556 or via email at

SOURCE Camp Ramah