Outgoing President’s Message – Lani Kustanowitz

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Lani KEarlier this summer, I had the opportunity to attend my 20-year Gesher 1994 reunion as a part of Yom Bogrei Ramah. Friends I had not seen in 20 years attended, and it took only seconds for us to take a stroll down memory lane. My fellow edah-mates, who have not returned to camp in years, were blown away by the thoughtful additions to camp’s facilities and programming. They loved the new “water-mister” near the Girls Kikar, the creation of the Breira program, and the opportunity for younger B-Side chanichim to play on JV teams at Yom Palmer. While we loved our own camp experience, they were touched by the enhancements and improvements, demonstrating the vitality of camp.

Over the past four years, I have had the privilege of being the president of the Ramah Berkshires Alumni Association (RBAA). Unlike many of my Edah-mates, I have returned to camp regularly, whether it is reuniting with camp friends over Labor Day weekend, providing staff-training during Shavua Hachana, or participating in the Ramah@50 Celebration. Through my role as the president, we have provided more and more opportunities for alumni to get involved- through chesed programming, networking opportunities, Shabbat dinners, Golf Outings, Labor Day Weekend, RBA, Purim carnivals and more. It has been incredibly gratifying to watch alumni take the initiative to reach out to the many constituents we now have.

It is with mixed emotion that I culminate my term as president and pass on the reigns to Rebecca Kahn, Gesher 1997. Not only has Rebecca filled almost ever position available within the Alumni Association, but she comes from an incredible Ramah family that has demonstrated great leadership and commitment to the Ramah community. Rebecca’s older brother Zachary (Gesher ’94), married to Jordana (Gesher ’96) has sat on the Labor Day committee for several years, and Ilana (Gesher ’00) has served as our RBAA Secretary and Rosh Labor Day. Rebecca’s experience, most recently as the Vice President of the RBAA, but also as the Secretary, Alumni Representative to the Advisory Council, and Rosh Labor Day, makes her a most fitting individual to serve as the new president. Rebecca has also sat on the CRB Board’s Capital, Development, and Camp Expansion committees.

Rebecca understands the importance of Jewish camping and the incredibly powerful role it plays in the lives of our children. It is with her experience, passion, insight, and soul that she will propel the RBAA. While I end this period with a heavy heart, I am most proud of the wonderful alumni that I have worked with over the past four years in my role as president. I am grateful to my past-presidents, Marc Damsky (1985), Richie Friedman (1976), and Steve Goldstein (1972), who have set the bar high in terms of the potential each president can bring to impact the Ramah community. It is with optimism, pride, and nachas that I look forward to watching Rebecca fill the role of RBAA President and impact future alumni.