My name is Ben Gutstein and I went to camp from Nitzanim all the way through Gesher. I love camp more than any other place in the world and I consider it my home away from home. I live in Millburn, New Jersey and go to Gold Och Academy. In my free time, I am on my school’s newspaper staff and I play baseball for my school team. I also love spending time with my camp friends. That love is how the idea for our project was born.
I’m Maya Rabinowitz and I live in Closter, New Jersey. I used to attend Schechter Bergen, and now I am currently a junior at Schechter Westchester. At school, I am involved in an engineering and entrepreneurship course called E2, which I enjoy because it challenges me to think and problem solving in unique ways. Another one of my hobbies is softball, which I played at camp and now play at school. My family has been a part of the Ramah community for four generations, so the most natural step for me was to join the community too. I have been a camper at Ramah since Cochavim and I plan on going on Seminar and eventually becoming a part of the tzevet (staff).
For our Amitei Fellowship project, we will be planning and executing two Shabbatonim for our edah, modeling it after a Camp Shabbat. There are many reasons why we decided to do this project, one being that for some people there can be challenges in keeping Shabbat at home. For many teens who observe Shabbat, they sometimes feel like they miss out on social events. It becomes clear in the “outside” world that not everyone observes Shabbat in the same way. At Camp however, everyone observes Shabbat together and no one feels as though they are missing out on anything. Shabbat at Camp is easy and natural, which is why we want to recreate that feeling during the year. Another reason for these events during the year is to bring our edah together, showing the importance of maintaining these relationships. Our journey as campers may be over, but that does not mean our time as Gesher Chai (Gesher 2018) has ended. The first Shabbaton will take place on January 11th. All services will be led by Gesher ’18 campers, and we welcome families with camp-age children to attend and participate. Campers from various Ramah camps including Berkshires, Nyack and Ramah Sports Academy, along with local community members will be encouraged to join. This Shabbaton represents not only an opportunity for Gesher ’18 to reunite, but also an opportunity to give back to the community and demonstrate to young families and children all that a Camp Ramah experience has to offer.