After each play and camp-wide event, the whole camp stands up to sing Himnon Ramah, our camp song. We sing together to celebrate the place that means so much to us for more than just the two months we spend here each year.
Last night, after a wonderful slideshow showcasing this fantastic summer, we sang Himnon Ramah for the last time this 2014 season. Campers cheered when they saw photos of their friends and cheered some more when each aidah stood up and sang a song from their play followed by their aidah song.
When everyone stood, arm in arm for Himnon Ramah, I couldn’t help but think about how much this summer, and every summer before, has meant to all of us in the room. For Halutzim, this was the first time they were in camp for the final “No Smoking” slideshow. For Nivo, this is something they’ve done many times before. Each camper has already sung Himnon Ramah so many times, this summer and in the past. For me (Nivonim 2008), the song means and reminds me of so many things. It reminds me of my Halutzim summer and seeing my very first play at camp: The Little Mermaid. It reminds me of the sunsets outside the Bet Am after returning from a camp-wide event. It reminds me of my Nivonim summer, singing “T’nu Lashemesh” (“Let the Sun Shine In”) first at a whisper, growing louder and louder until everyone in the room joined in, singing and dancing. It means standing next to friends in the Bet Am, singing our hearts out. And, it means Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, the friendships we make here, the lessons and values we learn, the Jewish identities we develop, and the people we become.
This morning, our campers hugged each other and said goodbye until next summer. We can’t wait for the 2015 season—to see our campers back at camp, our Nivonim on Ramah Israel Seminar, and our staff back in this place we call home for two months a year!