Ramah Israel has earned the reputation of maintaining the highest level of safety and security. We take no chances, and when decisions have to be made, our policy is to err on the side of caution. We react swiftly and responsibly to any changes in circumstances in the field. We operate with total commitment to participants’ well-being and with sensitivity to parents’ peace of mind. Following are some of Ramah Israel’s standard operating procedures for school and teen groups:
Ramah strictly adheres to the security policies established by Israel’s Ministry of Education governing all field trips and activities for public school children.
All field trips are cleared in advance, and again just prior to each day’s program, with the appropriate authorities (including Israeli police and army). They know our whereabouts at all times, and when they deem it necessary or advisable, armed guards and trained first-aid personnel, equipped with first aid kits, accompany our groups. These guards are supplied by a reputable company (unlike other organizations, we do not allow our counseling staff to serve as guards).
Transportation to all programmed activities is handled by chartered buses, which are equipped with cellular phones for immediate communication.
Ramah does not travel over the “Green Line” (i.e. into the area referred to as the “West Bank”) except in very specific areas determined safe by Israel’s security services, and even then only in consultation with the authorities. This applies to the Old City of Jerusalem as well.
All program participants are given a complete security/safety briefing immediately upon arrival, and reviewed periodically, so that each person knows how to behave responsibly throughout his or her stay. In addition, every participant is provided with a convenient card listing the telephone numbers of all lodgings, the Ramah office, and cellphone numbers of Ramah personnel who can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (Parents are provided with the same numbers.)
Any questions or concerns about security on our programs should be addressed to Meir Hoytzman, Director, Ramah Israel.
All of the students on our school and teen programs are covered by Phoenix Medical Insurance. This is a highly-regarded medical insurance provider. Medical Insurance covers doctors’ visits as well as hospitalization. It does not cover treatment for pre-existing conditions, dental care or eye care (re glasses or contact lenses). All of the latter would have to be paid for by the participant’s family. If a child is sick, a staff member will take the child to Ramah’s doctor. If there is an emergency or in the middle of the night, the child will be taken by a staff member to an emergency clinic or the hospital. Every effort will be made to reach parents before treatment should a decision need to be made. If a doctor prescribes medication, our medical insurance discounts prescriptions and they can be obtained at most pharmacies in the country.
A child may never stay alone at a base if he/she is sick. A staff member must always stay back with a sick child. The doctor or staff can decide if a teenager is too sick to join in the day’s activities.
Each participant in our school and teen programs must have a medical form filled out and signed by a doctor, to be submitted no more than one month before the Israel trip. For cases which are “unremarkable” (i.e., no chronic conditions, serious allergies, and the like) we will accept a comparable medical form signed by a doctor within the 12 months prior to the program. Ramah reserves the right to demand a detailed report from a doctor; furthermore Ramah reserves the right not to accept an application should our medical consultants decide that s/he is not physically or emotionally capable of coping with the Seminar program.
In addition, the NRC Medical Committee recommends that all participants on Ramah Israel programs receive an additional IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) prior to travel to Israel. This is a strong recommendation based on the information available at the present time and all participants should be encouraged to comply. However, it is not a requirement. Thus an individual family that decides to defer the vaccine will not be denied the opportunity to participate. This recommendation assumes a previous history of a completed standard set of polio vaccines as a child. Inadequately vaccinated individuals will need to be evaluated on an individual basis.