Reflections from a Ramah Maslul Fellow in Berlin

By Ayala Wasser - 29 January 2020

Maslul is a new Ramah Leadership Fellowship for veteran Ramah counselors.  This group, which consists of a cohort of spectacular madrichim (counselors) from across the Ramah camps, recently returned from a week in Berlin.

Here is a reflection on the experience from Sophie Koval, who will be a third year tzevet member at RSA this Kayitz! 

Being given the opportunity to travel to Berlin, Germany as a part of the Maslul Fellowship with National Ramah Leadership, representing Ramah Sports Academy, was an amazing highlight of my Ramah experience. I was in Berlin for six days, alongside seven other madrichim (counselors) from various Ramah camps. Not only was I able to spend time with my peers and learn about their camp traditions, but this experience truly allowed me to immerse myself within Berlin’s Jewish community. Our group spent each day volunteering at a Masorti Jewish Elementary school, where the majority of the kids were multilingual in German, Hebrew, English, and Russian. We worked with the kids on projects in both Jewish Holidays and History, and while our time spent with them was short, it was extremely meaningful to form these connections. We explored the city’s history, as we took a tour of Parliament and visited Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, along with various Holocaust Memorials. Additionally, we spent time with Rabbinical students, learned from other Jewish students at Base Berlin (organized by Hillel International), and spent Shabbat at the Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue.

Within the world that we are living in, where anti-Semitism continues to remain prevalent, it is important that we take time to understand and learn from various Jewish communities around the world. One of the largest impacts this trip has had on me is understanding the connections between past and present times within the Jewish community of Berlin. For a city that has had such a deep and lingering history, there is a Jewish community that is able to live past that and continue to thrive. We often forget that in countries outside of North America, many Jews face different challenges in their lives as it relates to practicing Judaism. For example, in the United States wearing a kippah is commonplace, while in Berlin, more Jews have to consider their decision as there are higher risks of facing anti-Semitism. Understanding more about the Jewish community in Berlin has reinstalled this sense of awareness and pride towards my own Jewish community and the Jewish community that I hope to continue sharing with campers this summer at Ramah Sports Academy.

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