We always say that camp is “an experience that lasts a lifetime.” Year after year, we hear stories of how the few weeks our campers spend with us during the summer result in lifelong friendships, confidence and a strong community.
We wanted to share the following letter we received from the Sokolov family with you. We hope it inspires you to continue to bring us along on your and your family’s journey toward a life filled with Jewish living and learning, and wish Corey and his family a big MAZEL TOV on his Bar Mitzvah!
Dear Ramah Darom,
You have been a part of our family since 1999 when our family attended Family Camp. The first of our three boys, Ari, attended camp for the following summer. Since then, all three of our sons have attended Ramah Darom starting in Nitzanim and counting the days until the next summer session. Our connection with you culminated this past summer when we traveled to Israel to celebrate our youngest son’s, Corey’s, Bar Mitzvah.
As we were planning the service, which would take place on Masada, Jesse, our second son and good friends with Elana Sykes, reminded us that Rabbi Sykes was living in Jerusalem. We thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could get Rabbi Sykes to perform the service? It would be so much more meaningful to have a rabbi who knows our family than to make arrangements with a local rabbi whom we had never met.
Right about that time, Debbie was having lunch in a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida, when she and another patron kept looking at each other. Finally, Debbie asked if they knew each other and it turned out to be Sharon Rosenfeld and Fred Levick who were in town visiting Ramah families. Debbie told Sharon and Fred of our idea to ask Rabbi Sykes to officiate at Corey’s Bar Mitzvah. Fred immediately took out his phone and sent Rabbi Sykes a text. Within 10 minutes, the plan was put into place and Rabbi Sykes joyfully agreed to join us at Masada.
June 20, 2013 Rabbi Sykes climbed Masada with our family. Once we arrived at the top and were led to our chapel, Rabbi Sykes conducted a Ramah Darom Shabbat service as well as Corey’s Bar Mitzvah. Our closest friends, Cary and Karen Reich, and their three children, another Ramah Darom family, were in attendance. As we watched our older sons, Ari and Jesse, laying tefillin and reminiscing with Rabbi Sykes, we knew we had been blessed in a very special way.
Ramah Darom has provided our sons with lifetime friends, a strong Jewish identity and an extension to our family. When we asked Rabbi Sykes how we could honor him, he requested we make a donation to Ramah Darom, which is enclosed.
Thank you for being the source of so many memories for the Sokolov family.
Debbie and Mark Sokolov
Ari, Jesse and Corey