Denver, Co, August 11, 2014 – A generous gift from Colorado resident Francine Lavin Weaver has funded the first kosher retreat center in the Rocky Mountains, as part of Camp Ramah in the Rockies. Ramah announced the opening of the new Beit Kesher Retreat Center, which was dedicated on August 3, 2014, with a festive opening ceremony at the camp.
“The retreat center was designed to host overnight events for both Jewish and community groups during shoulder season when camp is not in session,” says Rabbi Eliav Bock, Executive Director of Ramah in the Rockies. “As the only kosher retreat center in the Rocky Mountains, we expect that the retreat center will draw more attention to the Ramah in the Rockies overnight summer camp and its programs.”
Funder Francine Lavin Weaver was honored at the opening event and spoke about her vision for the retreat center.
“So now my friends, we have a beginning of this vision. We have a building that is available to synagogue boards, to youth groups, to havurot, and national innovative nonprofits such as Hazon. We have Beit Kesher to build positive Jewish connections to the environment, the camp, and to each other.”
Ramah in the Rockies is located approximately two hours outside of Denver and enrolls campers from 8-17 years of age. The camp was established five years ago as part of the first camp cohort of incubator projects of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation. The camp is also the first specialty camp within the Ramah Camping Movement.
The camp offers a wide range of outdoor adventure programs, while teaching environmental stewardship and immersive Jewish living. The camp has 392 campers this summer, coming from a wide range of Jewish backgrounds, from 27 U.S. states, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and Mexico. Ramah in the Rockies also offers a Tikvah program for campers with disabilities, and the Jewish Outdoor Leadership Initiative (JOLI), a teen leadership program for rising 11th and 12th graders, who gain expertise and skills in outdoor adventure and in building Jewish community.