Blogpost by Bracha Hermon
The book of Proverbs tells us that a woman of valor is one who “exerts her arms” (31:17).
This was certainly the case at Ramah Sports Academy, where girls exerted their arms with tennis rackets and baseball bats. They used their hands to spike volleyballs, stop soccer balls from crossing the goal line, and dive into the water. Over the course of the summer, female athletes participated in all of RSA’s sports majors, where they trained with and were treated equally to their male counterparts.
The only exception was volleyball, which was offered exclusively to females. “The goal is for males and females to have equal access to everything offered at RSA,” David Mendelowitz, the Athletic Director, explained. The girls’ volleyball sports major was instituted as a way to encourage girls to join RSA’s community of young athletes. The girls’ volleyball coaching staff was coed, which sent the message that women’s sports are respected by male and female staff members alike.
During the RSA vs. Ramah-Palmer vs. Ramah-Berkshires Ramah Invitational basketball tournament, it was the girls’ team that made it to the finals. All of Ramah Sports Academy was there to cheer them on. Ayala Wasser, RSA’s Assistant Director, was one of the assistant coaches of the girls’ intercamp basketball team. “One of our goals is to foster confident women athletes who excel in their sports, believe in themselves, and exemplify good middot [values],” she said.
To this end, RSA campers were treated to visits from American soccer player Yael Averbuch, Israeli triathlete Bonnie Eshel, and the WNBA Connecticut Sun. As these impressive women shared their stories of hard work and accomplishments, campers heard firsthand what it’s like to be a professional female athlete. For some, this helped them see a future that they’d like for themselves. For others, it was an opportunity to view female athletes as equals.
Judaim has always been proud of its women – beginning with its four matriarchs. Now, in the twenty-first century, Ramah Sports Academy is nurturing future women of valor. May they go from strength to strength!