What Is Seminar?

Ramah Israel Seminar is a six-week travel program in Israel, designed for entering 12th graders (entering 11th graders from Camp Ramah in California) who are former campers of the eight Ramah overnight camps in North America. For over 50 years, Ramah Seminar has proven itself to be an outstanding way for teens to experience Israel. As implied by its name, Seminar is an intensive experience of study and travel, combining hiking and trekking throughout Israel with text study, challenging discussions and hands-on learning. Seminar participants travel Israel from north to south, gaining an in-depth perspective of Israel’s history and future and a deep introduction to the Jewish state. Seminar is an opportunity to live the Ramah life in Israel, combining all that is central to camp – tefillah (prayer), study, Shabbat and all the facets of an observant, Conservative lifestyle.

 

Choose your own adventure!

 

Ramah Israel Seminar: Classic Exploration

Shvilim: Outdoor Expedition

Seminar includes special programs:

 

Etgar

This is a five-day special interest program during Seminar, offering you the opportunity to focus on a specific physical or intellectual challenge. The Etgar choices usually include:

  • Sea-to-Sea Hike — from the Sea of Kinneret to the Mediterranean
  • Judean Desert Survival Hike
  • GADNA – simulated army training
  • Jerusalem as Inspiration – a combination of community service, learning and cultural experiences

Click here to learn more about Etgar.

 

Israel Unwrapped – מגלים את ישראל 

You have an opportunity to explore the aspect of Israel that intrigues you most!

Options include:

  • Eco-Israel: Explore the Green (Yarok) Face of Israel
  • Tarbut: Defining a Unique Israeli Culture
  • Tzedek Hevrati: Exploring Social Justice and Tikkun Olam in Israel (community service hours will be awarded)
  • Israel Advocacy: Learning Conflicting Historical Narratives and Standing Up for Israel

Click here to learn more about Israel Unwrapped.

Why Seminar ?

  • To explore Israel, the Jewish homeland – with your best friends from camp
  •  To tour, hike and discover the land of Israel – a six-week experience that will change your life.
  •  To make new friends – from the seven Ramah camps across North America.
  • To explore your commitment to Judaism – and your personal relationship with Israel.
  • To take the Ramah experience – the friendships, Jewish living and learning – and make it happen in Israel.

The following is a general description of the Seminar program. While Shvilim and Yedidim offer many unique elements (explained elsewhere), their schedules weave in and out of the classic program, making this description relevant for all Seminarniks.

During Seminar, Ramah campers can gain realistic insights and views of Israel, giving them the opportunity to understand and experience its people, places, achievements and dreams, and, its many challenges. Through this experience, we hope that Seminar participants will begin to define their own relationship with Israel and the Jewish people.

Life on Seminar includes many aspects that are very familiar from camp, such as kashrut, daily tefillah, Shabbat observance, brachot (blessings) before and after meals and observance of special occasions and events that take place during the summer, such as the fast of the ninth of Av. All of these rituals and facets of observance feel different when practiced in Israel, a place where Judaism and Zionism are part of the very fabric of the country. The Seminar program highlights these aspects of the trip, with daily themes that focus on a particular aspect of Israeli society, its values and history. Seminar staff plans each day’s activities, hikes and sites around the theme, using historical and religious texts, personalities, simulation games, relevant Hebrew vocabulary and evening activities to explore and make each theme relevant to you and the trip.

In a sense, the entire summer is one extended seminar in which the State of Israel is the ‘text.’ The Ramah style of informal education takes place through field experiences, sourcebook study, meetings with Israelis, debates, street interviews and other activities. Through informal workshops and creative opportunities, we take advantage of every moment in Israel — the world’s greatest Hebrew language laboratory — to help you improve your ability to understand and speak Hebrew.

Each day on Seminar provides you with opportunities through which you will experience a different side of Israel, inspiring you to explore further. For an idea of the kind of themes we deal with during the summer, see the sample itinerary. (NOTE: This itinerary is provided as an example only; your actual itinerary will be sent out later in the spring.)