NEW YORK, N.Y. – The National Ramah Commission has named Howard Blas, formerly of New Haven, as the first Director of the National Ramah Tikvah Network, formed to promote the growth of programming for campers with disabilities within the Ramah movement and beyond.
Blas, who now lives in New York City, has served as director of the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England for 14 years. He is an award-winning disabilities educator who is widely recognized as a leading national expert and spokesperson on behalf of inclusion and Jewish education for young people with disabilities.
“We are delighted that Howard is leading the National Ramah team to help us continue to support and expand our programs for campers with disabilities. He will also serve as Ramah’s liaison with other camping and educational organizations that seek to learn from Ramah’s expertise in the field,” said Rabbi Mitchell Cohen, director of the National Ramah Commission.
Cohen noted that since the founding of the first Ramah Tikvah program in 1970, all eight Ramah overnight camps and three Ramah day camps now have summer programs for campers with disabilities, including Ramah’s newest camp, Ramah Outdoor Adventure in Colorado. More than 320 campers with disabilities were part of the Ramah network in the summer of 2014.
“Our neurotypical campers, as well as the young adult counselors working with Tikvah, are all impacted in positive ways by inclusion, with some even making career choices based on their work with young people with disabilities,” added Cohen.