To My Ramah Darom Campers, Thank YOU

To My Ramah Darom Campers, Thank YOU

I love you all so much and you continue to impress me every day.

Its been a while since I wrote a letter having anything to do with Ramah and it made me realize that I should revisit this topic. It’s been three months since my camper Ari Weiss was killed in a plane crash after a vacation in Costa Rica. The first month was hard for me and that might’ve been a reason for steering away from this topic but I then thought that my campers were struggling the way I was and I need to be here for support. While this might be three months late and I still struggle to grasp this here is a letter to all my campers to know that I am always thinking about you.

The years I worked at Ramah I had three separate age groups but I also claim other campers as my campers whether I taught them, they CIT'd for me, or if they developed a relationship with me just because. I don’t know an exact number of how many campers I have so I’ll say around the number of 200.

To my campers,

Whether I was your bunk counselor, your climbing instructor, a counselor you CIT'd for, a CIT for you, or even someone you just talked to a lot you are the reason I came back to camp all these years. Being a camper at Ramah I was lucky enough to meet some of the best friends I could ever ask for. When I was a camper I was lucky enough to have a counselor for four years and many counselors for two and three years. These were the counselors I was the closest to whether I had them for one year or more and they are still people I keep in touch with to this day. Similar to each year you all return to camp without some friends I have done that as well but I have learned why I come back each year and that is because camp gave me so much and it is time to repay the place that gave me everything.

As I went from camper to counselor to rosh I saw camp in a different way each time and I hope you see that as well. I have been lucky enough to still keep in touch with my friends from my Gesher and create relationships with people of other Geshers. My advice to you is to create those relationships with people outside your eidah because you never know who you’ll find.

Camp is responsible for making me into the man I am today and it has also helped each and everyone of you whether you know it or not. A few days ago I saw many of my campers join in the march in Washington and also participate at their own school walkouts and protests. Seeing this especially at a high school age can all be traced back to camp teaching you to fight for what you believe in. When I was in high school I had to deal with anti Semitism and bullying but based on what I learned from camp I knew I had to be the bigger man and not get involved. I can say that as a college student being the bigger man was the best choice.

There are going to be times where life won’t be easy and I am here to say that it will get better. I have faced so many ups and downs and I just have to look on the bright side and just keep moving forward. You are all going to do amazing things in the future and be sure to bring passion to everything you do.

Finally to my campers who will be in Gesher this year. Since meeting many of you in 2014 when you were in Cochavim your eidah always reminded me of my eidah. As you grew up I saw the passion for camp and the fun brought in by the eidah. I know it is still hard to do this summer without Ari but I just want you all to know that he is super proud of everything you have done and will do and I know you guys will always be thinking of him this summer. I am always here for you when you need me. I know I might not be here this summer but I will try to facetime or work family camp sometime during this summer. I love you all so much and you continue to impress me every day.


Jacob Silberman

Cover Image Credit: Ramah Darom / Instagram

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.


It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.


Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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The Struggle of Taking Classes During the Summer

It can put a bit of a damper on summer fun


To everyone reading: I hope you're having a nice, relaxing summer. Even if you're working I hope you can get a few days off to hang out with friends, go to the beach, and have some nice downtime. Not me. I am currently in the process of completing two four-week long summer classes. I'm taking them now to get ahead for next semester and to keep my overall schedule on track. It certainly isn't fun, but the reminder that it is only four weeks is what really keeps me going. If you are in the same boat as me, you'll relate to this list like no one else can; if you're not taking summer classes, don't let this list scare you, but use it to mentally prepare yourself for any you may have in the future.

1. Studying and homework

The homework isn't too bad with some summer classes just because you don't have time for a lot of intense projects. Still, since the class is so short you have to do some kind of homework pretty much every day. Make a schedule and spread it out so you don't get too behind.

2. Actually going to class

I am in two classes. One meets in person every day from 10 am to 11:45 am. The other is online. Let me be the first to say that getting up for class during the normal semesters is hard enough, but knowing my little brother gets to sleep in while I have to wake up early and go class is a real motivation suppressant.

I will say, though, it's kind of nice being on campus when it's basically empty.

3. No going out...

You'll probably be a little down because you might not be able to really go out at all during the time you're in class. For me, I go to lecture every morning, come home and do homework for that class, then do homework for my online class. I have some free time on the weekends, but I try to use those lecture-free days to study or work on papers.

4. But being super busy

Even though you might not be able to go out like a summer off, you'll be keeping yourself busy with all that super fun homework I mentioned.

5. Stress

Yes, summer classes can be a little stressful and it's pretty much all thanks to how fast-paced they are. Just do what I do: make a homework and project schedule as soon as you can and remind yourself how short it is.

Summer classes are not the worst thing in the world, and if you choose to take one at some point it won't be absolutely horrible. The nice thing about them is it's like ripping off a Band-Aid; it may be a little painful and annoying, but it's over so fast you don't suffer. Pick your class and professor wisely and get down to business; taking the class means you're one step closer to graduation!

So, to anyone else taking a summer class: good luck and you got this!

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