Camp Ramah in California

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Entrance to Camp Ramah in California, located on 385 Fairview Rd. in Ojai, California.

Camp Ramah in California is a Jewish summer camp located in Ojai, California.[1][2][3] The camp is affiliated with the Conservative Movement and observes the laws of Judaism, Shabbat, and the laws of Kashrut.[4][5][6]


The camp was founded in 1956 by Rabbi Jacob Pressman.[7][8] In 2007, the camp installed the largest private non-profit solar power generator system in the state of California, a 270 kW system.[9] Population-wise, it is the largest of the Ramah summer camps, and it caters to the communities of the west coasts of the United States, Canada, Mexico, as well as the non-contiguous states of Hawaii and Alaska.[10][11] It has also hosted campers from the United Kingdom. It is one of the only Ramah camps that operates a winter camp and holds winter weekends owing to the favorable winter climate. The summer season is split up into two four-week sessions attended by over 1,350 campers.[12] Prayers are held in a synagogue in the round.[13][14]


The current Executive Director is Rabbi Joe Menashe.[15] He follows Rabbi Daniel Greyber, Brian Greene and Rabbi Edward Feinstein.

Chaim Potok, author of The Chosen, The Promise, and My Name is Asher Lev, was director of the camp in 1957-59 before embarking on his career as a writer.[16][17][18] Brian Greene and Rabbi Daniel Greyber have been executive directors of the camp.[19][20]

Following Chaim Potok, the camp was led by Tzvili Yardeni, Dr. Walter Ackerman, Rabbi Zvi Dershowitz, Rabbi Ronald Levine and then Asher Meltzer.

Rabbi Zvi Dershowitz directed the winter camp program and was the administrative director during the summer program from 1963 until 1973 (during which Dr. Walter Ackerman was the director of the summer camping program). Rabbi Dershowitz helped to start the winter weekends and helped to create what is now the current campus on 385 Fairview Road. To this date, he remains Camp Ramah's longest serving director consecutively.[21][22]


The campers are split up into age groups, called Edot (Plural) or "Edah" (Singular):

  • Gesher ("bridge") is a special 2-week program for younger campers entering 3rd to 5th grade who want to be acclimated to camp-life in shorter sessions.
  • Nitzanim ("sprouts"), entering 4th and 5th grade
  • Giborei Yisrael ("heroes of Israel"), entering 6th grade
  • Adat Shalom ("the tribe of peace"), entering 7th grade
  • Sollelim ("trail blazers"), entering 8th grade
  • Tzophim ("scouts"), entering 9th grade
  • Kochavim ("stars") entering 10th grade
  • Machon ("foundation") entering 11th grade
  • Amitzim ("the strong ones") is an edah for special needs children of camp-age.

Machon is the oldest age group for campers. The following summer, former campers (or "Ramahniks") are eligible for a six-week tour of Israel called the Ramah Seminar. Mador is a program for first-time counselors and Madrega is a program for first-time specialists, those entering 12th grade.

For special-needs adults, there is a program known as "Ezra" ("help"), for them to be on staff in preparation for careers.

The "Tzevet" ("staff") is divided into "Madrichim" (counselors) and "Moomchim ("specialists"), while each Edah is led by a "Rosh Edah" ("head of the age group").[23]

Special programs[edit]

The camp holds a family Memorial Day weekend, as well as a week-long program in August for families with children with special needs.[24][25][26]

In addition, Camp Ramah is rented out by Rotary clubs in order to host RYLA, a student leadership camp. The event lasts about four days and invites students from all over California.

Notable staff and alumni[edit]

  • Craig Taubman the singer/songwriter began to play Jewish music at the age of 15 by leading Jewish prayer services with his guitar.[27]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Campus Notes". The Jerusalem Post. February 2, 2001. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Campus Notes". The Jerusalem Post. February 2, 2001. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Ojai Property Reported Sold". Los Angeles Times. May 29, 1955. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Young people key to Conservative growth, says JTS head". Cleveland Jewish News. April 3, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Why am I on a plane heading 'home' from Israel to Los Angeles?". Midstream. September 1, 2006. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  6. ^ Contemporary American Judaism: transformation and renewal. Columbia University Press. 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  7. ^ The Ramah experience: community and commitment. Jewish Theological Seminary of America. 1989. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  8. ^ Larry B. Stammer, A Witness to Hate and Hope, The Los Angeles Times, October 23, 1999
  9. ^ Architectural Forensics. McGraw-Hill Professional. 2007. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Shorts: Family life". Jweekly. June 20, 2008. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  11. ^ Daniel, Rabbi (April 3, 2008). "Green endowments mean big returns for nonprofit | Green Living". Jewish Journal. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  12. ^ Silverman, Rabbi Hillel E. (2009). The Time of My Life: Sixty Fulfilling Years as a Congregational Rabbi. Jersey City, NJ: Ktav. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-60280-119-6. 
  13. ^ Jewish Stories from Heaven and Earth: Inspiring Tales to Nourish the Heart and Soul. Jewish Lights Publishing. 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  14. ^ Tradition renewed: a history of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Volume 1. Jewish Theological Seminary of America. 1997. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Year Round Staff". Camp Ramah in California. Retrieved March 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Deaths – Potok, Rabbi Chaim". The New York Times. July 25, 2002. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. Chaim Potok". PBS. July 26, 2002. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly .. Chaim Potok". PBS. July 26, 2002. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Off to Camp? This Summer, Send Cash, Pencils". Forward. February 2, 2001. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  20. ^ Eshman, Rob (August 10, 2006). "Who Is A Jew? | Opinion". Jewish Journal. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Daniel, Rabbi (July 5, 2007). "Campfire stories from Israel at Ramah: I felt a missile go just over my head'". Jewish Journal. Retrieved September 14, 2010. 
  24. ^ The Jewish Family Fun Book: Holiday Projects, Everyday Activities, and Travel Ideas with Jewish Themes. Jewish Lights Publishing. 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  25. ^ V'Khol Banayikh: Jewish Education for All - A Jewish Special Needs Resource Guide. Torah Aura Productions. ISBN 1-934527-20-3. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Article". Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  27. ^ Eizehu Gibor - Living Jewish Values. Torah Aura Productions. 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 

Coordinates: 34°27′42.80″N 119°15′58.04″W / 34.4618889°N 119.2661222°W / 34.4618889; -119.2661222