How to Make Your Quarantine Weeks More Like Camp Ramah, by Esther D. Kustanowitz

Posted by Aleeza Adelman on under Uncategorized



How to Make Your Quarantine Weeks More Like Camp Ramah 

By Esther D. Kustanowitz

We don’t know how long this will last. So why not make quarantine like the most fun times you ever had?


Breakfast: Bagels, scrambled eggs, and, in a nod to Labor Day Alumni weekend, the New York Times. Use this as a time to talk to your campers/tzevet about what’s going on in the world.

Lunch: Grilled cheese, with a slice of tomato that will cause everyone to peel the pieces of bread apart to remove the offending vegetable.

Dinner: Soup and salad bar: counselors will make your salads to order so no one sneezes on anything.

EXTRA CREDIT: Create your own family “Hamodia” with the day’s schedule– use a whiteboard to save the environment. (For those newer campers – this is the daily newsletter that was once published at Ramah Berkshires.)

Snacks: The Chanutiyah will be open from 2:30 to 4pm daily. Twizzlers and Pringles available for purchase. Bug juice ALL DAY.


Kittah/Shiurim: Learn Parshat Hashavua, listen to a Daf Yomi podcast, or browse Sefaria for some Jewish texts you’ve never studied before.

Schiyah: If you have access to a pool, make sure it’s filled with Purell, dive in and enjoy (keep your eyes and mouth closed).* If not, wait till it rains, then run around outside at a distance of 10 feet from each other. Buddy tag board creation optional. (*Please do not actually do this.)

Yom Sport/Al Hagova: Pick a sunny day or a rainy day. Divide into teams or every person is their own team (depending on how many “campers and counselors” you have). Develop challenges like The Floor is Lava, House Run, Chai Climb (timing campers as they run up and down stairs – best time for 18 reps wins), and the Don’t Touch Your Face Challenge.

Yom Dalet (or what we now call “Yom Hav”): The campers are in charge of creating programming for that day (within reason – only one Yom Dalet/Yom Hav a week, and maybe only one or two Yom Netflixes a month).

Radio: Start your own radio station, YouTube channel or quarantinecast. Take requests from other quarantined friends.

Peulat Erev: Ga-Ga (disinfecting the ball every time it hits another player), Capture the Tuna Cans From the Cellar So We Can Eat Lunch Tomorrow, curated dance party from tzevet Radio.

Hatzagah: Launch an in-house revival of your camp play, b’Ivrit; translate a bunch of English songs into Hebrew for a medley; or just sing along with YouTube clips of Ben Platt singing songs from Broadway musicals. Shortcut: Here’s a link to the archive of Hebrew musicals from the National Ramah Commission.


Erev Shabbat: Make Shabbat-o-grams in Omanut, or send virtually via e-cards, email or zoom; choose a Jewish or other nonprofit organization to give a small amount of tzedakah to.

Shabbat: In accordance with your current practice, offering three kinds of services: Traditional, Musical, or Sha’are Sheinah (sleep as late as you want).

Havdalah: All the nai nais. Smell those spices, appreciate the flame, drink the wine or grape juice and have a tzevet meeting to start programming for the next week.

OTHER JEWISH HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS: A time to celebrate our heritage by celebrating a Jewish holiday every single day, during whichever time slot you prefer.

Yom Ha’atzmaut: Israeli-themed Rikudiah during which campers do interpretive dance about their favorite Jewish historical moments like the fact that Israel has had three elections in the last year, a Zimriya featuring the theme of “songs they play on Galgalatz,” and falafel for lunch.

Tish’ah B’av: Sitting on the floor, reading by candlelight and remembering those times that we used to have the temple/synagogue/JCC.


Nikayon: Camp taught you the way: identify tasks, make a wheel or a chart with pockets and get to cleaning!

Kvisah: No need to wait for Gesher laundry privileges; now everyone can learn this fun activity!

Shmirah: You’re all on Shmirah. All the time. And you’re all the campers trying to go on raids. All the time. At last, everything is equalized.

Rad Hayom: Rad hayom. Anu po. Mishpacha b’yachad, anu po.** Laila ba, menuchah, but first, that new Netflix series or an episode of The Office. Shalom… (**New Rad Hayom lyrics: “We are here. Family together, we are here.”)

Marp: I’m writing you all a proactive tea note and putting those of you who have a cold on bed rest, plus wishing you all health, wherever you are.

Esther D. Kustanowitz is a writer, editor and consultant based in Los Angeles, and is an alumna of Ramah Berkshires, Gesher year withheld to maintain public perception of her age. You can find her on Twitter at EstherK and running the TVGoneJewy Facebook page. Links to more of her work and her podcast, The Bagel Report, are available at

**For more ideas like the ones listed here, plus more, please click HERE to visit our Coronavirus (COVID – 19) Updates page.**