Jimmy Winokur

My Jewish Background

Jews of Odessa - 1993
home of my mom's family roots,
visited with Talia to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah


For an extended essay
on my spiritual journey and ideas,
see the page on:


personal website home/index
family & personal index

ideas & quotations on
subjects of Jewish Interest




Camp Ramah
*Camp Ramah in the Poconos

Summers -1953-60
*1st National Ramah Seminar,
Nyack New York -- Summer, 1961
(began as the camp's youngest camper;
and left years later as its oldest camper) 



Ramah has been my deepest exposure
 and involvement in Judaism.

In many ways the Ramah experience was the great highlight of my childhood.  Ramah's religious in orientation was not the key element for me, though I was certainly affected by that. 

My experience of Ramah was, most profoundly, a cultural and social experience -- spending so much time with bright kids who so loved sharing
 ideas, emotions, and the Arts, in addition to the ordinary 'sports and girls.'  This was unique in my childhood, and I have ever again experienced so rich a cultural and artistic environment






Ramah was also the setting
of my 1st romances ...
and my 1st true love:

with Betsey Nodler ~1958
as "Hansel & Gretel,
performing A Bicycle Built for Two...in Hebrew!



Remembering Ramah

Imagine my surprise when I turned to the article on “Ramah at 60” (Fall 2007) to find myself pictured on the top right corner of the page, at the age of 15, beaming, next to my camp sweetheart, Jimmy Winokur.

There we were, in costume as Hansel and Gretel, “having fun at Ramah” just as the article states. This fun, however, occurred at Ramah in the Poconos, not in Wisconsin or California as the article asserts. This was the Ramah that supposedly had “the most ruach” of all the camps.

Back then in the sixties, Ramah served up Judaism in the most appealing manner: Shabbat prayer outdoors in an idyllic setting, delicious kosher meals, Havdalah on the lake, and glorious Hebrew singing that occurred spontaneously when groups assembled. In my five summers in the Poconos, my conversational and biblical Hebrew blossomed, and I experienced remarkable spiritual and intellectual growth. Not to forget a sexual awakening, because there was that too.

Unfortunately, back in real life, I was never able to recapture the joy of practicing Judaism as I had during those extraordinary summers. To this day, I am continually searching for the right congregation to nourish my soul and the same level of brilliant intellectual dialogue that I found in the Poconos.

Camp Ramah then was a stellar place, and it cemented my Jewish connection forever.

- Betsey Nodler Pinkert
Highland Park, Illinois
Winter, 2007



Phyllis, Shira, Havi and betsey


Betsey -1966  (at my wedding)
Betsey Nodler Pinkert-2009










including Steve Kelvin, Bill Becker,
David Spiegelman, me (upper rt.),
Pinchas Carmel, Reuven Rohn, Bob Davidson, David Richman, Phil Redelheim


I'm center, broad stripes


I'm front, 2nd from left



ready for "The Banquet" '55 & '57:



Meryl Chazin, Betsey Nodler
lower left











preparing  Shabbat decoration


 Hazamir - The Mikado
 -- in Hebrew!  I'm with hat
my 1st exposure to theater production!










Kabbalat Shabbat
Aytz T'filah
(Prayer Tree)


Alan Fogel

'Marmaduke' Fogel



In Summer 2010 Alan Fogel organized our
Ramah Reunion
almost 50 kids from 1950s Ramah attended!



where the ^^Aytz T'filah ^^stood in the '50s:
























Other earlier Jewish involvement:

Religious School Faculty:

Congregation Rodeph Shalom,  Philadelphia PA (photo), 1969-71
(Teen-Age Confirmation Class Sunday School;
Current Issues in Jewish Ethics and Religion;
composition with class of original Confirmation Service).

 Congregation Kenesseth Israel,  Elkins Park, PA, 1967-69
(Teen-Age Post-Confirmation Class Sunday School;
Current Issues in Jewish Ethics and Religion).

Temple Beth Hillel,  Wynnewood, PA, 1964-69
(Grade School class, 3 days per week Hebrew School;
Hebrew Language; Jewish history & customs).

B'nai B'rith Youth Organization

District #3 "Aleph Moreh"
     i.e., Vice president for membership and orientation
      "District #3" = Pennsylvania, Delaware, new Jersey, West Virginia

Hebrew & Jewish Studies:

Gratz College of Philadelphia
Temple Sinai, Philadelphia


More recent Jewish involvement:

11th Denver Jewish Film Festival (2008)
Sponsor for  screening episodes of the Israeli TV series, B'Tipul
 (from which later HBO series In Treatment is adapted.)

Member, 1982-2008:
B'nai Havurah
(Colorado Jewish Reconstructionist Federation)

, 1985-86; 
Co-chair, CJRF Summer Institute, 1984-85.

Havurah Shalom

Civil Rights Committee, Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, Denver, 1990-1994.


   Havurah Shalom
B'nai Havurah - Colorado Jewish Reconstruction Federation
Pesach Seder, 2003


             Shel Simon



             Don Altman

Joanne Altman

Harry Aschkenazi





Marshall, Shel, Eileen