The following is a general description of the Seminar program. While Shvilim offers many unique elements (explained elsewhere), the schedule weaves 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.)