Rosh Hashanah and the Yamim Noraim are a period of transition; a time to move from the past and what has already been written, to a new present and future. This year that process is especially poignant for Ramah Darom and me. Both I, and the organization I have spent my last 18 years with, are on the threshold of significant change.
In the fall I will be retiring to start another phase in my life, and Ramah Darom will be welcoming a new CEO. I am delighted that Wally Levitt will be joining our organization. In the short time I have gotten to know him I have been impressed with his passion and his love of Jewish community, and I know Ramah Darom will be in good hands.
Change often brings uncertainty, but at Ramah Darom adaptability and change are hard-wired into our DNA and our value system. Our organization is deeply rooted in a movement whose defining bywords have been tradition and change, a reverence for tradition and a desire to adapt and change to keep the beauty of our Jewish traditions refreshed and relevant to the world we live in. Our mission, to provide exceptional experiences in Jewish living and learning for youth, adults, families, and communities, is guided by a focus on providing a welcoming and embracing space for Jews of all ages and abilities, and to inspire them to engage more deeply in Jewish life.
Ramah Darom has accomplished a lot in the past year. We have educated new generations of young people in our Camp Ramah Darom community, and our Camp Yofi program for families with children with autism spectrum disorder has continued to inspire. Our year-round retreats have all grown and we have enhanced our partnership with Limmud Atlanta + Southeast, as well as created a new partnership with Pardes to offer immersive Jewish learning. In the year ahead, there are new and ambitious goals to achieve, including the creation of Athletic Edge at Camp Ramah Darom, the nation’s first and only rowing and lacrosse specialty sports program within a traditional Jewish residential camp.
I will leave Ramah Darom, blessed to have worked side-by-side with a passionate and talented team of professionals and lay leaders to help build a successful organization. It is hard to leave this work knowing there is so much more yet to be done. However, as we learn from Rabbi Tarfon, in Pirke Avot, “It is not your responsibility to finish the work.” I have no doubt, that our professional team, which creates the magic of Ramah Darom, the lay leaders that support it, and the generations of young people and old who have, and will, become part of our devoted community, will continue to make Ramah Darom a compelling force in lives of Jews and in the vibrancy of Jewish community.