What is in a name?

One of my favorite parts of starting this new Ramah camp has been the opportunity to reconnect with so many people who I have encountered in my 12 summers of working at Ramah.  Some of the campers who were my students in swimming lessons back in the mid 1990s are now colleagues in the Rabbinate.  Others whom I worked with on the waterfront or on the “tripping” staff at Ramah in Canada are now lawyers, teachers and parents.  But somehow, whether people have not been at a Ramah in the past 10 years or whether they are continuing to work at Ramah through their early parenting years, most still feel a strong connection to their friends from Ramah and to many of the traditions they were a part of at camp.

It was after many discussions with former Ramahniks, that I decided to start an online survey to help name the new edot (age groups) in this new Ramah camp.  I created a basic survey with the names of all the edot at Ramah and put it out there into the world of cyber space.  A little known fact is that every Ramah camp has different edot orders, though many have the same names.

I was blown away by the level of response and excitement we got from this survey.  In one 24 hour period, over 350 people responded to the survey.  In total 100s of folks clicked through and gave their input.  We got over 30 new suggestions for names and so I decided to republish the survey with most of these new suggestions.  Some of them were too controversial or had negative connotations, and in my role as director, I decided to delete these.  For example, one person suggested we name an edah “mitnachelim” settlers.  While I understand the reasoning behind this suggestion, in Israel, this word is rife with political meaning, and therefore I took it off the list.  One person wanted to name the edah—those who stumble.”  This too got deleted.  I also combined some of the suggestions to make sure that there were not duplicates.

And so what follows is the link to the new edah survey.  My goal is to get 1000 people to vote on this survey by December 1 2009.  At the close of business on December 1 we will tally all the responses and announce the winner.  http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=1alv_2btz3GllcQyC9JTeYog_3d_3d

Feel free to vote up to once every 24 hours, and to forward this email/ webpost to as many Bogrei Ramah (Ramah graduates) and current Ramah campers as possible.

As always please be in touch with me directly if you have comments, suggestions or just want to say hi 303-261-8220