WELCOME TO CAMP RAMAH IN THE BERKSHIRES! WE ARE SO GLAD THAT YOU WILL BE AT CAMP THIS SUMMER.
WE KNOW YOU WILL HAVE AN EXPERIENCE THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME!
Whether you are a first time camper or have been to camp before, the following list of questions will help answer some common questions.
- How am I going to get to Camp? Do I have to take the bus?
- I have a lot of stuff! How am I supposed to pack it all and how am I going to get it up to Camp?
- I can never go a whole summer without my cell phone, TV, iPod, iPad, and/or computer. How will I ever survive?
- I packed all of these pens and stationery, what am I supposed to do with them?
- I never do laundry at home, how does it get done at camp?
- I can't find my kippah. Is it okay to wear my baseball cap in tefillot?
- What happens if I get sick at camp?
- I take medicine every day. Can I keep it in my bunk so it is easier to take?
- My friends and I like to play cards. Can we play for small bets?
- I love camp, but I miss my family and friends. When do I get to use the phone?
- I don't know how to make my bed. Can I sleep in my sleeping bag?
- I just can't seem to fall asleep at night. What can I do until I am ready to fall asleep?
- Will I be in a bunk with all my friends?
- In the morning I have both sports and schiyah (swimming). I am always hungry. Can I bring my own snacks to camp?
- Can I leave the campgrounds at any time during the summer?
- What is Yom Sport?
- I love the 4th of July at camp, but it just isn't the same without fireworks. Couldn't we light just one little sparkler?
- My buddies and I like to rough house. Can we do this in our bunk?
- What do I do if I have a problem with another camper?
- Sometimes I get mad and use foul language. Is this cool?
- Can I bring a water gun, or waterballoons, to camp?
- I play a musical instrument. Should I bring it to camp?
- Does camp have a policy about illegal drugs and alcohol use?
- Is it okay if I wear earrings at camp?
- My birthday is in July. Can my parents send me a birthday cake or other snacks?
- Some of my best friends are members of the opposite sex and we have nowhere to hang out together. Is it okay if we just hang out in one of our bunks?
- I like someone! What is an appropriate display of affection?
- Is smoking permitted at camp?
- What am I allowed to do on Shabbat?
- What should I bring to wear for t'fillot and for Shabbat services?
- I love camp and want to leave my name on my bunk wall. Is that ok?
- Camp is such a beautiful place. How can I help to keep it that way?
- There is a lot of Hebrew spoken at Camp. How am I going to understand what is going on?
- How many campers in a bunk?
- Are the bathrooms attached to the bunks?
- What if I can't drink milk or have allergies to peanuts or wheat?
- Can my family come and visit me at Camp?
- Where is Camp?
- Hebrew Glossary
A: At Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, we believe that the Camp experience begins when you hop on the bus to come up. This is a place where you can see old friends, make some new ones, and talk about all the things that will happen when you arrive in Wingdale. We require all campers to travel to camp by bus. This means that you will be dropped of by your parent at a local designated stop. We believe that this is the most beneficial way for you to begin the summer.
A: Camp Trunk Delivery will pick your duffels up from your home/apartment 1-3 days prior to camp and delivery them to your bunk the day before camp starts. Please bear in mind that drivers and camp counselors will be hoisting your bags and trunks after you pack them. We don’t want them to get hurt. For their sake, please don’t ever pack water. Or sand, which weighs almost as much.
Some helpful hints:
- Pack toiletries in large, freezer quality zip lock bags. Prop them upright inside luggage. Even if they leak, they don’t drip on everything else.
- Electronics (CD and DVD players, radios, etc.) can be fragile. They are best brought to camp in backpacks, rather than sent ahead. Ditto for tennis racquets!
Q: I can never go a whole summer without my cell phone, TV, iPod, iPad, and/or computer. How will I ever survive?
A: With the invention of e-mail there aren't too many people writing letters with a pen and paper anymore. But a summer at camp is an opportunity to practice your creative writing skills in your letters to friends and family. At camp you will be able to receive, but not send e-mails during the summer. You'll have a lot to write about - new friends, great counselors and more!
A: Laundry is done weekly during the summer. It goes to a service and is returned the next day. All clothing should be clearly labeled with name and should be wash and wear. We will not be able to properly launder dressy blouses, shirts, dresses, etc. As with any laundry service, items may get lost, discolored, or even ruined. Do not send any “dry clean only” items.
Campers entering 11th grade have the option to do their own laundry at camp and should bring quarters and liquid detergent.
A: Praying is a holy act in Judaism. Baseball caps are a fashion statement, not a religious one. All banim (boys) must wear a kippah during t'fillot. Banot (girls) who want to wear a kippah are welcome to do so. We also require that a head covering be worn during all meals at Camp.
A: Camp has a fully staffed Mirpa'ah (infirmary), usually called the Marp. In the event that your child has a non-emergency health concern that does not require immediate medical attention (such as a minor cough or the sniffles) the infirmary offers two daily "sick call" periods where campers may be seen by our medical staff for consultation.
There is a nurse and doctor at Camp at all times. If you don't feel well during the night or outside of sick call, make sure you tell your counselor first so he/she can talk you to the Marp.
A: No, the state of New York does not allow any medicine to be kept in your bunk, including Tylenol or any other over-the-counter drug. Campers who take medicine go to the Marp (infirmary) to take their medicine or they pick up their medicine before meals at the Flowerhouse (a second Marp-like location). If you have an inhaler for asthma, you should carry it with you at all times so you have it when you need it, and bring an extra (just in case)!
Q: My friends and I like to play cards. Can we play for small bets?
A: You can certainly play cards at camp, but betting or gambling with money is illegal and not permitted.
A: Eventually, we all have to learn how to change our sheets and make our beds. Camp is now the time. Everyone's bed must have a bottom and top sheet, as well as a blanket. Your counselors are there to help you. Sleeping bags are used for out-of-bunk overnights only.
A: There are lots of ways to relax before you fall asleep at camp. If you are still awake, try these simple techniques: read a book in bed with your flashlight, write a letter, play solitaire or count sheep! BUT REMEMBER- NEVER LEAVE YOUR BUNK AFTER LIGHTS OUT!
A: We will do everything we can to bunk you with at least one of your requested friends. Don't forget that making new friends is what camp is all about! Bunking assignments will be announced in the second week of June.
Q: In the morning I have both sports and schiyah (swimming). I am always hungry. Can I bring my own snacks to camp?
A: We serve three healthy, balanced meals each day and at least one snack daily. In addition, your bunk will be ordering "treats" from our canteen, two days a week. Any food brought to camp or sent to camp will be removed by your counselors and donated to a Tzedakah project. Don't bring it!
A: During the summer, you may have several opportunities to leave camp with your bunk or edah (division). Campers entering 9th through 11th grades will sleep out of camp for close to a week. All campers may go on a special trip with your edah or to a waterpark, a museum, or even more! No one can leave the campgrounds for any reason without the permission of the Camp Director.
A: Some people call it Maccabiah or Color War or Mini-Olympics. Whatever you call it, it is great fun! The whole camp participates in a daylong competition of different events.
Q: I love the 4th of July at camp, but it just isn't the same without fireworks. Couldn't we light just one little sparkler?
A: Fire is a serious danger at camp. One little sparkler, one little match, could start a fire that would not only impact the camp, but the beautiful forest that surrounds it as well. We must do everything we can to avoid a fire. Therefore, fireworks, incense and candles are not allowed by campers at camp.
A: Camp is a place where all people need to feel safe. Let's stick to non-contact sports. Don't ever touch another person in a way that would make them feel uncomfortable. Even if you are just playing around, it might seem threatening to someone else.
A: It is very easy to get into the habit of swearing when you get hurt, or frustrated or even when using these words as slang in everyday speech. Polluting the camp air with cursing is not a "cool" way to express yourself.
A: No, we do not allow any kind of weapons in camp. This includes Swiss Army knives, water guns and toy weapons. The environment that we seek to create for our camp community is a peaceful one. Weapons of ANY kind-real or not-will be confiscated and brought to the attention of the Camp Director.
A: Yes, but you must be responsible for your own equipment. Take care of your instrument. If you are worried about damage or loss, DON'T BRING IT. Camp Ramah in the Berkshires will not be held responsible if it is lost, missing or broken.
A: Absolutely! Camp has a zero tolerance policy for illegal drug and alcohol use in camp. If you use drugs and alcohol at camp you will be sent home. No refunds. No exceptions.
A: Judaism views that the human body is a vessel that should be treated with respect. At camp, staff and campers are only allowed to wear earrings in their ears. We do not allow any other piercing, for example: belly button rings, etc. If you come to camp wearing body-piercing rings, you will be asked to remove them for the summer. Campers are also not allowed to pierce their ears (or anything else) while at camp.
Q: Some of my best friends are members of the opposite sex and we have nowhere to hang out together. Is it okay if we just hang out in one of our bunks?
A: Why do campers return to Ramah year after year? To be with their friends! And we know the importance of these special friendships. However, camp consists of private and public spaces. Bunks are private spaces where people change clothes, shower, rest, and relax. While you might feel comfortable with a certain situation, someone else might not! Therefore, boys are not allowed inside girls' bunks and girls are not allowed inside boys' bunks.
A: Judaism has much to teach about this subject. We hope that during the summer, you will have the opportunity to discuss some of your questions and other issues in an appropriate framework. But for now, here are some guidelines for the summer: Touching people inappropriately, against their will or speaking to them in an inappropriate sexual manner is not permitted in camp. Sexually explicit material is also not allowed in camp. If you have any questions or feel uncomfortable with someone else's behavior, please talk to a staff member.
A: No, campers are not allowed to smoke at camp. If you are caught smoking at camp it will result in a phone call to your parents and you will be sent home.
A: Friday night services are a very special time at camp. The whole camp comes together for Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv. We even have special music and dance presentations before Kabbalat Shabbat. At our Camp, each Shabbat we wear white cloting. What you wear is a personal choice, but there are certain guidelines that we have in order to create that special Shabbat ruach. Male campers typically wear white collared shirts and females campers wear white sweaters over any color dress. We encourage you to wear white dresses as well though. Shoulders must be covered at all times.
Dress for Shabbat t'fillot should be modest. All banim must cover their heads with kippot. Banot are welcome to wear kippot. We do not wear jeans to t'fillot on Friday night. On Saturday mornings, white is not required and the dress is typically more casual.
Button Down Shirts/Blouses
Tight Fitting Dresses
Spaghetti Straps/Sleeveless Shirts- (unless you wear a jacket or sweater)
A: With the help of campers and staff, we will preserve our environment by our own acts. One of the ways you can help keep Camp beautiful is by not throwing your garbage on the ground. Make sure that you put it in a garbage can!
A: One of the founding missions of Ramah was to introduce Hebrew as a living language. We do this now by bringing Israelis to camp to work in all kinds of positions, by performing the plays in Hebrew, offering special peulot (activities), and much more. Words and phrases are used over and over, such as places and numbers for telling time. Before you know it, you will be very familiar with the Hebrew at camp with the help of your counselors and friends. Remember, if you don't know, ask!
A: Campers are organized at Camp Ramah by their grades for the following school year. Our campers, for the most part, live in bunks that can accommodate up to 15 campers. Our oldest female campers, entering 11th grade, live in a single much larger bunk. In addition, we have 2-4 staff in each bunk.
A: The bunks do have attached bathrooms and shower stalls. Each bunk has two bathrooms and two showers and our counselors can help create a bunk schedule so that everyone gets a turn!
A: Campers with allergies are offered alternatives such as soy milk, sun butter, and gluten free meal substitutes.
A: At Camp, we strongly encourage letter writing regularly. When it comes to packages, we do not think that campers should receive an undue number of packages! Each camper will be permitted to receive ONE package PER SESSION. We want to make sure that Camp is a clean and healthy environment, specifically within the bunks. In addition, we know that an abundance of packages can create competition in the bunk.
We will be sending package label(s) in June, for you to put on each package. If campers receive more than one package per session, WE WILL RETURN IT! This of course does not include forgotten necessary items from home, which will be sent through the yoetzet (advisor).
A: No. Girls may only wear one-piece bathing suits. Girls may not wear t-shirts over bikinis or tankinis during any swim time.
Q: I heard from one of my friends that there are big events at Camp and that they are often a surprise. What does that mean?
Q: What if I get really hot and need to put a fan in my bunk? Am I allowed to bring any other things with me to make me more comfortable in my bunk?
A: Yes. Campers are allowed to bring small clip on fans or battery operated fans.
Q: I really like to sing, dance, and act. Is there an opportunity for me to do these activities at Camp?
A: Yes! We encourage all of our campers who are interested to join the camp plays each year. There will be many opportunities for you to get involved with the play, to learn some Hebrew, and to sing your heart out! Auditions will happen when you arrive in the summer.
A: There is one visitor's day during the summer which marks the end of first session. Due to the potential disruptions, we are unable to allow additional visiting time. However, we encourage you to write to your family during your stay at camp.
A: Camp is in Wingdale, NY. Our campground offers fresh mountain air and several natural vistas in a peaceful setting. Campers sleep in wooden bunks with private bathrooms. Directions to Camp.
Agam - Lake
Banim - Boys
Banot - Girls
Birkat Hamotzi - the prayer for bread before a meal
Birkat Hamazon - the prayer after a meal
Bogrim - Edah name for 9th Graders
Cochavim - Edah name for 4th Graders
Edah - Age Division, or Group
Hadar Ochel - Dining Hall
Gan - a group of young children with parents working in camp
Gesher - Edah name for 11th Graders
Harga'ah - story or other "soothing" program in bunk before sleep
Machon - Edah name for 10th graders
Madrich/a - Counselor
Mirpa'ah - (known as the "Marp")- Infirmary or Health Center
Mirpeset- Porch or Patio Area
Nitzanim- Edah name for 5th graders
Pe'ulat Erev - Evening Activity
Pe'ulot - Activities
Rosh Edah - Division Head
Ruach - Spirit
Schiyah - Swimming
Shorashim - Edah name for 6th graders
Solelim - Edah name for 8th graders
T'fillot - Morning, Afternoon or Evening Prayers
Tzeirim - Edah name for 7th Graders
Tzevet - Staff
Tzrif - Bunk