update deskU.S. News

Camp Ramah rejects rehiring counselor who supports anti-Israel views

The unnamed individual shared a Jewish Voice for Peace post accusing the Jewish state of genocide and reaffirmed her position in an interview.

A lake in Camp Ramah in New England. Credit: Courtesy.
A lake in Camp Ramah in New England. Credit: Courtesy.

Leadership at Camp Ramah of New England has asserted that Zionist beliefs are required for employment, a decision that inspired nearly 150 alumni to write an open letter in opposition.

The dispute followed an unnamed former counselor posting a meme from the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace. The group accuses Israel of committing genocide in its war to destroy Hamas in the Gaza Strip after the terrorist organization infiltrated the border on Oct. 7 and killed 1,200 people, wounded thousands and kidnapped as many as 250 men, women and children. It has also been vocal against Israel in protests on college campuses since Oct. 7.

In a job interview with the camp’s CEO, Rabbi Ed Gelb, the aspiring employee asserted her agreement with the group and its views and was then told that she would not be welcome to return.

The former campers’ letter to Ramah, which is affiliated with the Conservative movement and runs day and overnight camps throughout the United States, urges hiring candidates “on their aptitude and passion for the job at hand, not their personal beliefs about Israel or Zionism.”

Gelb and Elizabeth Waksman, the president of Ramah New England’s board, replied with their own letter, stating that “if you read our statement on Israel, you will see that the range of acceptable debate is very wide. At the same time, there are limits for all sides, and our families trust us to adhere to our principles.”

In a previous letter of his own, Gelb had named three “double yellow lines” he said the camp must adhere to: “Hamas’ Simchat Torah attack was pure evil, without any attached qualifications. Israel has an obligation to protect its citizens and remove the threat of further Hamas attacks. And Israel should prosecute its just war against Hamas in a way that minimizes Palestinian civilian deaths as much as possible.”

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