Climbing a rock wall, getting up on water skis, singing around a campfire – camp is bliss. Jewish camp is all of this…with a soul. What does that mean? While campers are having a blast, they are gaining independence, learning new skills, and making best friends plus they are living Jewish values like tikkun olam (repairing the world) and experiencing the importance of community. Judaism is weaved into everyday activities providing a connection that stays with campers long after they eat their last s’more.
The Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) works with over 150 nonprofit Jewish overnight camps of all denominations across North America to increase the number of campers, inspire camp leaders, and develop programs to strengthen camps. Read more about Jewish camp, FJC, & our research on the power of Jewish camp at www.JewishCamp.org See all posts »
Sara Beth Berman has been working as a Jewish educator since a few weeks after her own Bat Mitzvah. Sara Beth, who is proud to have two first names, received her BS in Psychology from the University of Florida and her MA in Jewish Education from the Davidson School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is elated to be the Nadiv Educator at URJ Camp Coleman and the Davis Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. Previously, Sara Beth served as the Associate Director of Storahtelling, and has spent time working in the offices of the Foundation for Jewish Camp and Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. Sara Beth has taught at a variety of synagogues in Florida, New York, and Connecticut, and served in Human Resources at Penguin Group (USA). She has staffed a variety of summer programs, including USY on Wheels, Camp Ramah Darom and Camp Interlaken JCC. She likes to teach in or near the water and use sidewalk chalk as often as possible. At school, Sara Beth relishes the time she gets to spend on experiential projects, both large scale and class-based. At camp, her favorite activities are lake activities, laughing, facilitating the professional development of staff members, delving into the world of Israel Education…and anything with snacks. See all posts »
After attending The Ohio State University, Sheira Director-Nowack received a Masters in Social Work and Certification in Jewish Communal Services from Yeshiva University. She has been in camping for over 20 years, working in Jewish residential camps as well as day camps. Sheira served as the associate director for a Jewish camp for children who have learning issues and social skill disorders. Her passion often leads towards children who have some learning differences or social skill challenges. Sheira is now the Associate Director of Camp JRF. She is known for her sense of humor and outgoing personality. Most importantly she is now a camper parent and is able to truly understand the questions and ideas that camper parents face. She has been married for the past eleven years to Brian Nowack, and together they adopted Madeline in 2005. See all posts »
Molly Hott, Director of Passport NYC is a dedicated “camp person” who has spent her whole life living, breathing and loving summer camp. Molly has over 20 years of camp experience from day camp to sleep away camp. She explored many different areas of the camp industry before joining the 92Y staff in 2010 to become an instrumental part of bringing Passport NYC to life. It is Molly’s personal goal to provide each teen and staff member with the most incredible, positive life-changing experiences each session, summer after summer. See all posts »
Qwynn Landfield is 15 years old, lives in Yorktown Heights, NY, and has one sister. She is a high school honor roll student with an interest in the sciences and is part of her local Youth Volunteer Ambulance Corps. She enjoys lacrosse, yoga, reading, and most of all her amazing summers at Camp Laurelwood. Although her family likes hiking and they go to the mountains every summer, she doesn’t really enjoy the hiking, she only tags along for the spectacular views at the top. See all posts »
Rebecca Leibowitz is a Senior Program Manager at Foundation for Jewish Camp. She earned her Master’s in Social Work with a focus on Jewish Communal Studies and Community Organization from the Wurzweiler School at Yeshiva University, with field placements at FEGS Health and Human Service Agency and at UJA-Federation of New York. Since 2008, Rebecca has managed FJC’s professional development programs for year-round Jewish camp staff, including The Elisa and Robert Spungen Bildner Fellowship, The Yitro Leadership Program, and The Executive Leadership Institute, while also being involved with the Lekhu Lakhem Fellowship and the Goodman Camping Initiative. She sits on the board for the NYC chapter of the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America. Armed with memories of color wars and raids at Camp Tel Yehudah, Rebecca shares her energy and passion for Jewish camp and cultivating Jewish camp leadership with everyone she meets. She currently resides in the East Village of NYC with her boyfriend and a chubby pug. See all posts »
Josh Levine is the director of Camp Alonim, a non-denominational Jewish overnight camp and day camp in Southern California. During his tenure, Josh has overseen the largest sessions in Alonim’s history, significant increases in fundraising, and innovations in the camp’s teen, arts, and family programs. In 2011, the Foundation for Jewish Camp selected Josh for its Executive Leadership Institute.
Josh attended Brown University and was the recipient of both a Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and the American Jewish Committee Goldman Fellowship. Josh holds a law degree from UC Berkeley and previously worked as an attorney and federal law clerk. See all posts »
Aaron Mandel is the Assistant Director of Teen Programs at Camp Tawonga where he has worked since 2007. He helps coordinate Tawonga’s teen leadership, social media, service learning and experiential education programs. Aaron has a B.A. from Whitman College and completed the Jewish Service Learning Certificate at S.F. State in 2010. Aaron has also led many short term service programs for the American Jewish World Service. He was a Cornerstone Fellow in 2004 and continues to believe, as he always has, in the transformative power and potential of Jewish camp.
Jamie Simon is the Camp Director at Camp Tawonga where she has worked since 2000. She has a B.A. from Sonoma State University and participated in the Executive Leadership Institute with the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Jamie previously worked at United Against Sexual Assault where she served as the Prevention Education Director. She loves working with youth, spending time with her friends and family and is an avid fan of the San Jose Sharks. See all posts »
Rabbi Avi Orlow is the Director of Jewish Education at the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC). Before joining FJC in 2008, Avi was the Campus Rabbi and Assistant Director of the St. Louis Hillel at Washington University and has held numerous positions as rabbi, educator, and youth leader. He spent 17 years as a camper and then educator at Ramah Camps in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and YUSSR camps in the Former Soviet Union. Avi has a B.A. in religious studies from Columbia University and was ordained in the charter class at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the open Orthodox rabbinical school. He lives in White Plains with his wife, Cantor Adina Frydman, and their children, Yadid, Yishama, and Emunah. See all posts »
Jon Adam Ross is a widely acclaimed theater artist. He has created original works in both the commercial and educational spheres. Holder of a BFA in Acting from NYU Tisch, Jon has performed his one-man show, Walking in Memphis: The Life of a Southern Jew, off-Broadway and around the globe. A founding company member of Storahtelling and the Northwoods Ramah Theater Company, he is currently touring with his new solo show, God of Our Fathers. As a highly sought-after artist in residence, Jon leads workshops and facilitates the creation of theater using physical and emotional exploration of stories from ancient Jewish narratives. Jon has taught and created as an artist in residence at Union Theological Seminary, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Yeshiva University, the Institute for Southern Jewish Life, Anshe Emet Synagogue (Chicago), and with many other communities around the country. Jon has also served as faculty for the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Spielberg and Cornerstone Fellowships. Jon’s acting roots stem from his long-term association with Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, where he serves as Director of Performing Arts. For more visit www.jonadamross.com. See all posts »
Rachel Saks, M.S. R.D., has loved to cook ever since she was old enough to stand on a chair at the counter and wield a plastic knife. She has an M.S. in Education and is a Registered Dietitian. Rachel has taught cooking classes at JCC Manhattan and the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts. She developed and ran Healthy Living, a Ramah program for 8-16 year olds that combines nutrition education, mindful eating, cooking instruction and physical activity. Rachel is also the co-author of Jewish American Food Culture. She brings a unique, holistic philosophy to teaching nutrition and believes that a healthy lifestyle is built on making the right choices in the kitchen, at the supermarket, and at the table.
Rachel spent a total of 13 summers at Camp Ramah in the Poconos (8 as a camper and 5 as a staff member) and met her husband there in 2000. She feels that a positive encounter with Jewish camp can be one of the most formative and important experiences in a child’s life. See all posts »
Rabbi Isaac Saposnik is a graduate of Tufts University and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He has served as Director of Camp JRF since 2008, having previously served as Assistant Director for five years. As Director of No’ar Hadash, he launched the Reconstructionist movement’s successful teen No’ar Hadash Israel Experience. A long-time Jewish camper and youth worker who worked previously for URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute and NFTY, Isaac is thrilled to share his passion for creative and engaging Judaism with a new generation of youth. He is a graduate of the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Executive Leadership Institute. Isaac is married to Jeanne Calloway, a second-grade teacher, whom he met at Camp JRF. See all posts »
Miriam Shwartz was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, IA. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Arizona, graduating Summa Cum Laude and with Honors. Miriam attended the JCC Ranch Camp as a camper and has worked as a staff member since 1999; she met her husband and now co-director, Gilad, while working at the camp in 2001. This upcoming summer will be Miriam’s 17th season at Ranch Camp. She and Gilad live at the camp year-round with their 2 dogs, 3 cats, 3 horses, 2 cows, 2 goats, and 7 seven chickens. She considers camp to be instrumental in the development of her Jewish Identity and commitment to working in Jewish Education. See all posts »
Lenore Skenazy is founder of the book and blog, “Free-Range Kids” (www.freerangekids.com), which launched the anti-helicopter parenting movement. A public speaker and frequent guest on talk shows, she has written for everyone from The Washington Post to Mad Magazine. Yep. The Mad Magazine. She also invented, “Take Our Children to the Park…And Leave Them There Day.” A graduate of Yale and Columbia, she lives in New York City with her husband and teen sons who are half-Free-Range and half Facebook addicts. Then again, so is she. See all posts »
Stefan Teodosic is the Executive Director of B’nai B’rith Beber Camp and the Perlman Conference Center in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. He has worked in the Jewish camping world for almost 20 years, including 10 at the Executive level. He has a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Michigan, as well as an M.B.A. from Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management. Before his move to the Jewish professional world, Stefan spent several years working in the strategic financial services sector at American Express. Stefan has sat on several boards, including the American Camp Association Illinois Section, Camp Kesem and SCOPE. He and his wife Cortney are expecting their first child in April; he loves guitar, sports and travel and is frequently mistaken for George Clooney. See all posts »