Ramah launches first overnight camp in Israel - for Israelis

Central to the success of these camps is the "disconnection from mobile phones" policy, as discovered by research conducted by the Forum.

A summer camp in Israel.  (photo credit: Big Idea)
A summer camp in Israel.
(photo credit: Big Idea)

Summer Camps Israel Forum and Ramah, the camping arm of Conservative/Masorti Judaism in North America, announced the opening of their first overnight camp in Israel – geared towards Israelis, as well as Jewish youth from the Diaspora.  The inaugural camp is located at the Ben-Shemen Youth Village.

The decision to establish a Ramah overnight camp in Israel was influenced by research conducted by Summer Camps Israel. This study, carried out among 600 teenagers, examined the profound impact of summer camps held in Israel on young minds. The findings revealed that summer camps, especially those with a ‘disconnection from mobile’ policy, significantly boosted self-esteem, abilities, and independence among children and teenagers.

Shawna Goodman Sone, founder of Summer Camps Israel, expressed her excitement about the new endeavor, stating, “What we have developed is a growing field of overnight summer camps from the North American model, adapted to the Israeli reality. The positive effects of disconnecting from mobile devices and engaging in meaningful experiences have proven to be transformational for the participants.”

What is Camp Ramah?

Camp Ramah, a network of Jewish summer camps affiliated with the Conservative Movement, has a rich history that dates back to the 1940s.

Established by the Jewish Theological Seminary, the camps operate in the United States, Canada, and Israel, sharing a commitment to serving kosher food and observing Shabbat.

 DIASPORA JEWISH youth attend a summer camp in Israel. (credit: KIMAMA)
DIASPORA JEWISH youth attend a summer camp in Israel. (credit: KIMAMA)

The first camp opened its doors in Conover, Wisconsin, in 1947, with a vision of reconnecting Jewish youth with their heritage and fostering a new generation of American-born Jewish leaders.

Over the years, Ramah camps have expanded, offering a diverse range of programs, including educational sessions on Judaism, Zionism, and Hebrew-language instruction.

From sleep-away camps of varying durations to day camps and high school programs in Israel, Camp Ramah continues to nurture Jewish identity and strengthen ties within the community.