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Our Team

FJC’s board leadership and professional team exemplify the values we espouse as an organization: commitment, creativity, and innovation. Many of us are Jewish camp alumni ourselves, and we know how it has shaped our own lives. Our connection to FJC’s mission and to the field is both personal and professional, deepening our devotion to our work everyday.

Board of Trustees

Robert M. Beren
The Bildner Family
Samuel Bronfman Foundation
The Gottesman Fund
The Neubauer Family Foundation
Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt
Stacy Schusterman and Steven Dow

Co-Founders and Co-Chairs, Board of Trustees

Elisa Spungen Bildner*

Elisa is co-founder and co-chair (with Rob Bildner) of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Jewish Camp.  Professionally, Elisa was president of FreshPro, a leading fresh-cut produce company serving the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic food industry.  Prior to that, she was a journalism professor at Rutgers and New York Universities, taught law at Seton Hall Law School, and was a reporter/editor at the Newark Star Ledger.  She is a former attorney, practicing in New York and New Jersey, as well as law clerk to Federal District Judge H. Lee Sarokin.  Elisa is currently a writer in the fields of health and food, is a professionally trained vegan chef and teaches yoga, including Jewish yoga.

In the Jewish community, Elisa is former president and chair of JTA, the international Jewish wire service, past chair of the Jewish Funders Network, and currently serves on their boards as well as those of the Jewish Book Council, the MetroWest Jewish News and Community Foundation.  In 2013, President Obama appointed Elisa to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.  At Yale, from which Elisa graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, she is on the Alumni Association Board, the Development Council, Parents Leadership Council, Women’s Health Research at Yale (Medical School) Council, on the board of the Slifka Center for Jewish Life (Hillel) and is a founding member of YaleWomen and on its Council.

Robert Bildner*

Rob, co-founder of the FJC, is an attorney and entrepreneur who is active in the Jewish and secular non-profit communities and public life.  Inspired by their participation in the Wexner Heritage Leadership Program, Rob and his wife Elisa founded the FJC in 1998, providing seed funding to launch a public foundation dedicated solely to overnight camps with a Jewish mission.  He serves the FJC as co-chair of its Board of Trustees and is a member of its Executive Committee. Rob was a founding director and former treasurer of Repair the World, a national initiative seeking to engage young Jewish adults in community service.  Rob is a key lay leader of several other non-profit organizations including the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale (board member) and serves Yale University in many capacities (past member of its University Council, member of the Development Council and Parents Leadership Council, Secretary of the Class of ’72).   As an entrepreneur, Rob founded several food companies, including RLB Food Distributors, a perishable food distribution and food manufacturing company, which he sold in 2007. He is a member of the World Presidents’ Organization. Prior to starting RLB Food Distributors, Rob served as a state government official in New Jersey and then practiced corporate law with the law firm of Lowenstein, Sandler. He received his B.A. Magna Cum Laude from Yale, his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Masters degree in Jewish studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

Board of Directors

Chair

Peter J. Weidhorn*

Peter is currently a consultant, corporate director, and private investor in the multi-family housing market.  He has over 45 years of experience in the management, acquisition, disposition, and financing of multi family real estate.  Peter is a past Chairman of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).  Prior to becoming chairman, he chaired the North American camping committee of the URJ and was instrumental in crafting the camp movement structure.

Vice Chair

Julie Beren Platt*

Julie, current Board Chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, has held top leadership roles within the Los Angeles community for many years.  Prior to being named Chair of the Board, she served as General Campaign Chair and was previously Chair of our Federation’s Ensuring the Jewish Future Strategic Initiative.  Julie is a member of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Federations of North America.  Julie’s lifelong connection with the Jewish community began at Camp Ramah in Ojai, and today she’s a driving force in raising funds to subsidize tuition for Jewish summer camps, allowing more families to afford this transformative experience for their children. Julie currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Foundation for Jewish Camp, and is also member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Outside of the Jewish world, Julie is actively involved with, and an avid supporter of, the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated and met her husband, Marc. She currently serves as Penn Alumni president.

Julie and Marc have five children, a son in-law and daughter in-law, and three young grandchildren.

Treasurer

Jim Heeger*

After a long career as a CEO and senior executive in Silicon Valley, Jim now spends full-time working as a board member of Jewish non-profit organizations. Jim’s love of Jewish summer camp began at Temple Emanuel’s Shwayder Camp in Colorado and blossomed through his sons’ bi-coastal camp experiences at URJ Eisner and URJ Swig and Newman. For the past several years he has been leading a major renovation of the URJ’s Camp Newman in Northern California, and most recently served as Advisory Board Chair. Jim joined FJC’s board in 2012 and currently serves as treasurer. He also serves as the Chair of the Board of Moishe House. He co-led the latest search for the CEO of the San Francisco Federation where he chairs Philanthropy Strategy. Jim also sits on the board of the Jewish Federations of North America. He is a past President of Hillel at Stanford, a past Senior Vice-chair of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, and a Past President of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills. He earned an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and a BS in management from MIT. Jim lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife Daryl Messinger who is currently the Chair of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).

Secretary

Julius Eisen*

Julie is the former operator and owner of several bus and tour companies including Greyline and Short Line. “Julie” serves on the board of The Davidson School for Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and he is the former president and current member of the board and executive committee of the UJA of Northern New Jersey and the Bergen County YJCC. Julie currently serves as FJC’s board secretary. He and his wife Susan have three children and five grandsons.

Scott Brody

Scott is the owner & founder of Everwood Day Camp in Sharon, MA, which serves more than 600 children per day.  He is also the owner and director of Camps Kenwood & Evergreen, a private residential summer program founded in 1930 that serves 330 children for seven weeks each summer.  Scott is a thought leader in developing 21st century skills through the camp experience, and has shares his insights with audiences throughout the country, including the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the Chicago Youth Centers and many education foundations and parent groups.  He is a regular presenter at the American Camp Association’s National Conference, the Tri State Camping Conference, the Southern California Leadership Conference and other educational events. In 2004, he designed and facilitated the National Conversation on Youth Development, which engaged 1250 youth development professionals from across the country in an in-person and online dialogue to identify and strengthen positive youth development strategies.  Scott recently completed 6 years as the National Vice President of American Camp Association, was an ACA National Board Member for 9 years, served for over ten years on the ACA National Public Policy Committee, and was a member of the 20/20 Vision Task Force.  He currently serves on the ACA Non-Cognitive Skills Task Force, and recently authored an award-winning article for Camping Magazine entitled “Teaching the Skills that Children Need to Succeed”. Most importantly, he is the father of A.J.

Marla Kell Brown

Marla is an award-winning television producer whose twenty year career includes The Morning Show with Regis Philbin, The Arsenio Hall Show, and On-Air with Ryan Seacrest.  Marla grew up in Chicago and attended Olin-Sang Ruby Union Institute for six glorious summers.  Her passion for Jewish camping extended to her three children, Jordan, Jason, and Dylan, who attended OSRUI as campers and counselors.  For the past ten years, Marla has served as a board member for OSRUI.  Marla earned her bachelor’s degree at Brown University.  She is married to her high school sweetheart, Steve, who together have been active Chicago community members for thirty years.

Shelley Richman Cohen

Shelley  has been a prime mover for inclusion of children with disabilities in the Jewish camping world over the last fifteen years. Starting in 1997, she sought a mainstream Jewish camping experience for her son, Nathaniel A”H, who had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and was a wheelchair user. She was able to arrange for his successful inclusion into Camp Nesher, part of the NJYCamps, where Nathaniel was a camper and then a sports staff member until his passing at age 21. During that time, Shelley became a board member and Vice President of NJYCamps and motivated the successful integration of the organization’s special needs camp, Camp Round Lake, into NJYCamps Milford site, in what is now the largest inclusive Jewish summer camp experience in the nation. Shelley is the Founder and Director of The Jewish Inclusion Project, which develops and conducts Disability Inclusion Training Programs for Rabbinic Students and Jewish Leaders, and is funded in part by a grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation. She speaks nationally as an active advocate for the inclusion of children with disabilities in Jewish educational and recreational environments and serves on the American board of Beit Issie Shapiro, an innovator of therapies and programming for children with developmental & physical disabilities in Ra’anana, Israel. She is a former board member of SAR High School in Riverdale, NY and is a current board member of Lincoln Square Synagogue. She lives with her husband in Manhattan and has two grown children who have both taken leadership roles in summer camps during their college years. Shelley has a B.A. from Barnard College of Columbia University.

Robert J. Deutsch

Bob grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He earned a B.A. in Economics from University of Michigan and graduated from Harvard Law School.  Since 1973, he has practiced law in the Asheville, North Carolina area.  His firm, now Deutsch & Gottschalk, concentrates in business matters with an emphasis on real estate, commercial litigation, estate planning, and non-profit organizations.  Many of the firm’s clients are summer camps in western North Carolina, including several Jewish camps.  He has served as southeastern counsel to the American Camping Association and as president of the 28th Judicial District Bar.  Bob attended Camp Tamakwa in Algonquin Park, Ontario for many years, both as a camper and a staff member.  His summer camp wilderness experience has remained a profound influence in his life. Since 1983, he and his life-long Tamakwa friends have taken a week-long canoe trip in Algonquin Park. In 1992, Bob started “Bob’s Adventure Club” as a way to entice others, including his wife Carol, children Robin and Andy, and their spouses Dave and Lauren, to participate in adventure travels with him. He hopes that his three grandchildren Natalie, Molly, and Ben will join Bob’s Adventure Club before too long. Bob is very involved in both the Jewish and secular communities in Asheville and serves on the boards of regional, national, and international Jewish organizations.  He is a past president of Congregation Beth Israel and the Jewish Federation of Western North Carolina, and is on the board of Greensboro Jewish Foundation.  He is also on the board of advisors of the Western North Carolina Community Foundation, Bent Creek Institute, and LEAF Community Arts.

Alan I. Franco

Alan is a Partner of Magnolia Marketing LLC, a holding company that involves investments in the beverage alcohol industry.  He is also a private investor in a number of businesses. He is a trustee of the Goldring and Woldenberg Foundations of New Orleans, Louisiana.  He is a former President of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans (2011-2013) and was previously a member of the board of the Jewish Community Center of New Orleans (1999-2004), Touro Synagogue and the Executive Committee of the National World War II Museum (1998-2010).  He chaired the Jewish Leadership Forum, an annual conference on next generation philanthropy in 2005-2006 and 2010.  Since 2013 he has been a National Board Member of AIPAC.  He has been active in many other civic and Jewish organizations over the years. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia and spent his formative years in Mobile, Alabama. He moved to New Orleans in 1997. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama.  Alan’s hobbies include college football, food & wine and traveling. Alan attended both Camp Barney Medintz and URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp.  He has been a strong supporter of Jewish camp, as the Goldring and Woldenberg Family Foundations support the camp incentive

Archie Gottesman*

A wise rabbi once said: “Judaism is a great product, but the marketing sucks.” As a Jew and a branding professional, Archie is in full agreement. Archie believes that warm, meaningful Jewish rituals will keep people connected to their Jewish roots. This includes people who have a regular Jewish practice as well as those who are lukewarm, disengaged or totally new to Judaism. This led her to founding JewBelong.com a movement dedicated to rebranding Judaism. Archie knows about connecting with people through compelling branding. For 20 years, she was the voice behind Manhattan Mini Storage’s iconic billboard and subway ads, which featured such hilarious and provocative lines as: Why leave a city that has six professional sports teams, and also the Mets? And If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married. Archie currently sits on the board of the Women’s Board of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). She is a past chair of Animal Haven Shelter, NYC, and a past board member at Kent Place School in Summit, NJ.

She is also a guest lecturer about family business at Columbia University. Archie is graduate of Northwestern University and a Wexner Heritage Program alum. She lives in Summit with her husband, Gary DeBode and they have three daughters and an ever-changing number of shelter dogs.

Lois Kohn-Claar

Lois spent her formative summers at B’nai B’rith Beber Camp in Mukwonago, WI where she developed a love and appreciation for Jewish summer camp. After years of working in the field of education and educational technology, Lois now devotes herself to Jewish communal service. Originally from Louisville, KY, she moved to Scarsdale, NY in 2001 and became actively involved in UJA-Federation where she served in a number of roles including Chair of Westchester Women’s Philanthropy and member of Board of Directors of UJA-Federation New York. She is a founding member of the Neshamot Women’s Impact Philanthropy group, serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Jewish Education Project, the International BBYO Board, and Schechter Westchester. She also serves on the Board of Overseers for the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the Penn National Hillel Board. Lois is a Wexner Heritage Graduate and holds a BA and MS in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Lois and her husband, Gary Claar, have three children, all of whom are devoted (current and past) campers.

Jay P. Lefkowitz

Jay is a senior litigation partner of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and a member of the Firm’s Worldwide Management Committee. He is also an adjunct professor of Administrative Law at Columbia Law School. Jay has had a distinguished career in public service: he served from 2005-2009 as the United States’ Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea; from 2001-2003, he served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to President Bush for Domestic Policy and as General Counsel in the Office of Management and Budget. Earlier in his career, Jay served in the White House as Director of Cabinet Affairs and Deputy Executive Secretary to the Domestic Policy Council for President George H. W. Bush. Jay and his wife, Elena, who is a documentary film producer, reside in New York City. They have three children: Talia, who is presently serving in the Paratroopers Brigade of the IDF, and Danielle and Jacob, who are students at Ramaz. Jay and his family are products of Jewish camping, having attended Massad, Ramah, and Modin.

Marc E. Sacks

Marc  is Chief Executive Officer of Mesirow Financial Private Equity, a Chicago-based investment management firm managing over $4.0 billion in private equity capital commitments for institutional investors, through a series of private equity partnership and direct investment funds. Marc serves on the firm’s Investment Committee and Board of Directors. He also serves on the Board and Executive Board of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, and is a past Board member of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Marc’s other community leadership includes AIPAC and Jewish Rock Radio. He and his wife Susan grew up in the New York area, where they each attended Jewish overnight camps as both campers and staff. They now live in suburban Chicago with their three children, all of whom have attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as campers or staff.

Martin Schwartz

Martin has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Dorel Industries Inc. of Dorel Juvenile Group Inc. since 1993. Dorel is a global consumer products company and the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of juvenile products in its categories as well as one of North America’s largest marketer of bicycles. Martin has also made the community a priority. He is active with various charitable and healthcare organizations in the Greater Montreal area, providing the same type of guidance that has helped Dorel Industries succeed. He serves on the Federation CJA Executive Committee and chaired the 2011 CJA Campaign which was the most successful in several years. He has been a catalyst for putting Jewish camp on the Montreal Jewish Community agenda. Martin has three married children, Karen, Debra, and Andrew as well as five grandchildren. They all live in Montreal and are active in the Jewish community on different levels.

Anita H. Siegal

Anita grew up in Cleveland, OH, where she still lives with her husband, Michael D. Siegal. Anita is a retired Speech-Language Pathologist whose career focused on children as well as geriatric patients. She serves on the National Board of Women’s Division of Israel Bonds, and on the board of The Forever Children’s Home (a home for severely developmentally disabled young adults), and she serves as Vice-President and on the Executive Board of the Park Synagogue in Cleveland. She is also a founding member of 100+ Women of Southwest Florida, an organization providing funds to local 501(c)(3) charities in the Naples, Florida area and volunteers at The Gathering Place (a caring community center for those touched by cancer). Anita is a Wexner Heritage Alumna (Cleveland 2) and she and Michael have three adult children and four grandchildren. Anita watched her own daughter’s journey of self-discovery which was profoundly influenced and enhanced by her Jewish camp experiences. In 2014, the Siegals endowed the One Happy Camper program in Cleveland, Ohio due their strong belief that “by providing these children with Jewish camping experiences, they will discover the joy of being Jewish and want to continue celebrating their heritage throughout their lives.”

Allan C. Silber*

Allan is the Chairman of Street Capital Group Inc., which he founded in 1979, and Street Capital Bank of Canada. He plays a critical and decisive role in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, finance and capital market activities for Street Capital. Allan is actively involved in a number of cultural, charitable and community-based organizations, including participation at the board level, and has been Chairman of numerous fundraising events for community-based international organizations. His philanthropic endeavors include a focus on the homeless through the United Appeal. He is a Life Governor of The Jewish National Fund and in 1998 was recognized as an Honoree in recognition of community leadership and dedicated public service. Allan and his wife Hinda have established the Silber Center for Jewish Camping at the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. He attended McMaster University and received a BS from the University of Toronto.

Mark Silberman

Mark is a partner and co-owner of Refrigiwear, the world’s leader in cold weather industrial work clothing and accessories. The company, nearing its 60th year, has now welcomed a 3rd generation of family members into the workplace. Mark is a past president of Temple Kehillat Chaim in Roswell, Georgia, as well as a past national board member of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), where he served on the North American Camping (NAC) committee, budget committee, and business practices committee. He is currently the chair of the Camp Committee for URJ Camp Coleman in Cleveland, GA and sits on the executive board of the Jewish Federation Greater Atlanta. Mark has been a primary funder and advocate of PJ Library in the Atlanta community. Mark holds a BA from American University, and lives in Atlanta with his wife Linda. They have four grown children.

Aimee Skier

Aimee joined AMSkier Insurance, a company that specializes in insuring children’s summer camps, in 1995. For many years prior, she had been involved with the company by joining her father, Henry, visiting camps, listening to camp directors talk about insurance and developing close, lasting relationships. More than 22 years later, she is proud to be working with her father and brother, Jeffrey, in their third-generation family business. Aimee became a Vice President of AMSkier Insurance in 1999. She holds insurance agent licenses in Property & Casualty Insurance and Excess & Surplus Lines Insurance. Aimee is the Executive Director of Camp Carton, part of Craig Carton’s foundation called Tic Toc Stop which has a summer camp program for children with Tourette syndrome and funds a potential treatment to stop the symptoms of the condition. Experience Camps, is a board that she serves on, runs camps across the country for children that have lost a loved one. Aimee runs Cycle for Lanie each year to help raise money for the Diabetes Research Institute, and is on the event committee for the Brooke Jackman Foundation, a literacy program for underserved children. She received a BS in retail marketing from Syracuse University and an MBA from Philadelphia University. Aimee currently lives in Manhattan and is most proud of her family, her husband, Jordan and her new son, Slater.

Debra Gordon Sollinger

Debra is a Director of Camp Laurel in Maine with her husband Jem. Previously, she worked in development at the UJA Federation of NY and American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science. Her Jewish communal experience also includes work at ZOA, fundraising with former Israeli PM Yitzhak Shamir for the Israeli Youth Movement, serving as president of Hillel at The University of Texas at Austin, and an internship at AIPAC’s Southwest regional office. Debbie served as a pilot committee member for the FJC sponsored Facing History and Ourselves, focusing on inclusivity and building community within camp cultures. She was also instrumental in the development of The Camp Breakaway summer curriculum, a fully funded sleep away camp offered by the Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service of South Florida. During its infancy and growth, Camp Breakaway was hosted at Camp Laurel’s site. Debbie has been a presenter at the Tri State Camp Conference, speaking on the dynamics of group living in a residential camp setting. Debbie graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, studied at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and earned an MSW from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work. A full-time camp director in the summer, Debbie’s values her ability to split time in the winter with daughters Anabel (11), Madeline (8), and Tess (3) in addition staying very hands-on with the “off-season” Camp Laurel operation. In her limited free time, she loves to read, exercise, snow-ski, and listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.

Jeffrey M. Solomon

Jeff is President of Cowen Group, Inc. and Chief Executive Officer of Cowen and Company, a Cowen Group company. Previously, he served as Cowen Group’s Chief Operating Officer and Head of Investment Banking at Cowen and Company. Jeff joined Ramius, Cowen Group’s investment management division, when it was founded in 1994 and was responsible for the development, management and oversight of a number of the investment strategies employed by Ramius. Currently, Jeff is a Director of NuGo Nutrition, the manufacturer of NuGo Nutrition Bars. He is also co-chair of the Equity Capital Formation Task Force, a group of individuals from across the country’s startup and small-capitalization company ecosystems advocating for market structure reform to encourage job creation and growth, and a member of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, an independent and non-partisan 501(c)(3) research organization dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of the U.S. capital markets and ensuring the stability of the U.S. financial system. Jeff and his wife Linda share a passion for community involvement and volunteerism that dates back to their childhood in Pittsburgh. Active in the Larchmont-Mamaroneck and overall Westchester community, the Solomon’s sit on the boards of numerous Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Family Counseling Service of Hudson County, the JCC Maccabi Youth Games, and the Jewish Community Centers Association of North America. Jeff is passionate about his own camp experiences at Emma Kaufman Camps. He is currently Vice President, of New York Federation’s Henry Kaufman Campgrounds. He and Linda share three wonderful children, Ryan, Spencer, and Kate.

Michael H. Staenberg

Michael has been active in the real estate business for nearly 40 years. In 2012, he founded The Staenberg Group (TSG); a privately held company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, which develops, leases, and manages 17 leading shopping centers across the United States. Previously, Michael was co-founder of THF Realty, which was established in 1991 and grew to become the 3rd largest commercial real estate firm in the country. Michael is widely recognized and respected as a civic leader and philanthropist in St. Louis and in the communities he serves. In 2005, Michael and his wife Carol established the Staenberg Family Foundation, focused on ensuring that the Jewish community thrives and flourishes as well as supporting the arts and culture, children, education, medical research and social services. In May 2009, the St. Louis Jewish Community Center opened the Staenberg Family Complex, a 155,000 square-foot state-of-the-art recreation and community facility. He has generously funded the One Happy Camper program in St. Louis, and has made considerable capital contributions to Shwadyer, Sabra, and JCC Ranch camps. Mr. Staenberg is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Metropolitan St. Louis Board of Realtors. He also serves as board member or trustee of the following organizations: Jewish Community Center (Past Chairman); Regional Business Council; Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Forest Park Forever (Past Fundraising Chair); Jewish Federation of St. Louis; Granite City Food & Brewery and Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill among others. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Finance from Arizona State University. He lives in Clayton, MO with his wife, Carol, and the couple has three daughters.

Samuel E. Vichness*

Skip, is a senior partner in the management company, Quality Camping Properties, Inc. and President of GreyPine, LLC. He oversees camping operations on both owned and rented sites, day and resident camps, throughout the northeastern United States. Presently, with his partners, he is involved in camping operations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Connecticut. A recognized expert in the camping field, Skip has presented seminars and been a speaker at professional conferences throughout the United States, Canada, Israel, the Former Soviet Union, and Europe. He is a past president of the New York section of the ACA and past chair of the Tri State Camping Conference. Skip is a recipient of ACA’s National Honor Award and the Tri State Service Award. Skip is also past president of the Golda Och Academy (formerly the Solomon Schechter of Essex and Union) and the National Ramah Commission.  A Wexner Heritage program graduate, he is a past chair of the Foundation for Jewish Camp.  Skip was also the founding president of the Ben Appelbaum Foundation, a business incubator, founded to honor his former business partner. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors for Hillel International.  He is a member of the board of trustees of Randolph Macon College, where he chairs the finance commit and was the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Skip resides in Manhattan, with his wife Ilana, as do their children, Ittamar, & Aileen and Shai, and one grandson.

Jeffrey Wolman

Jeffrey  is an attorney, accountant, and owner and CEO of Wolman Wealth Management Inc., a business management firm that services primarily those in the entertainment business including actors, writers, directors and producers, which he founded in 1991. He and his wife Lesley are very active members of the Los Angeles Jewish community including involvement with the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and formerly as board members of Sinai Temple of Los Angeles. Jeff previously served as board chair of Sinai Akiba Academy, the largest Solomon Schechter day school in North America, the Treasurer and the Executive Committee of Milken Community Schools Board of Trustees. He is also on the Leventhal School of Accounting at USC Advisory Board and on the West Coast International Leadership Council for the University of Toronto. Lesley is development chair for Camp Ramah in California and on the board of the Zeigler Rabbinical School at the American Jewish University. Jeff’s Jewish identity was cemented at Camp Kadimah in Halifax, Nova Scotia, his home town. He attended Camp Kadimah as a camper for five years and was then on staff for five years, culminating in his position as director of the senior camp, Camp Machar at Camp Kadimah. Lesley is a product of Hebrew Day School in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Camp Massad in Winnipeg. They both graduated from the University of Toronto and currently live in Los Angeles. Their son Yale and daughter Serena spent several summers as campers and staff members at Camp Ramah in California.

Diane C. Zack

Diane is an activist Jewish community leader.  After working in health care and politics, including as Executive Director of San Franciscans for Good Government, Diane began to devote her adult life to Jewish communal service.  Diane has assumed many leadership positions for the SF Jewish Community Federation including Chair of the Marin Impact Grants Initiative, JCF Chair of Major Gifts, President of YAD, and Co-Chair of L’Atid Leadership Program.  She has also served on the JCF Board of Trustees, the JCF Endowment Committee and the Endowment Foundation Council. Diane is a Past President and former Capital Campaign Co-Chair of Congregation Kol Shofar, where she served on the Board for 19 years, and a Co-Founder of the OMJCC Pre-School in Tiburon.  Diane formerly has served on the Boards of Stanford University Hillel, Lehrhaus Judaica, and on the inaugural 2013 and 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards National Selection Committees.   She currently serves on the Brandeis Marin Day School Board of Trustees, the Urban Adamah Board and the West Coast Chairman’s Council for the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.  Diane is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Foundation program and was a member of the UJA Young Leadership Cabinet, where she chaired Major Gifts.  She also presently serves on the SFMOMA Architecture + Design Accessions Committee and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Board of Trustees.  Diane received her BA from Harvard College and her JD from Hastings College of the Law. She grew up on the East Coast and absolutely loved attending 8-week sessions of summer camp in Maine for 7 consecutive summers, and returned an 8th as a counselor.  Diane and her husband Howard, who is a proud alum of both Camp Solomon Schechter and Camp Ramah, have three grown children who each attended Camp Ramah in Ojai and also returned as counselors, for multiple summers.   Diane and Howard reside in Marin County, California.

*Executive Committee

Jeremy J. Fingerman

Chief Executive Officer

Jeremy joined Foundation for Jewish Camp as CEO in 2010. Prior to joining FJC, he had a highly-regarded 20+ year career in Consumer Packaged Goods, beginning at General Mills, Inc, then at Campbell Soup Company, where he served as President of its largest Division, US Soup. In 2005, he was recruited to serve as CEO of Manischewitz.

Jeremy spent many wonderful summers at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as a child where he discovered the joy of Judaism and made lifelong friends. He started his Jewish communal work in high school, serving as international president of United Synagogue Youth. He since served on many philanthropic boards including Jewish Federation, Israel Bonds, American Friends of Magen David Adom, and currently serves as vice-president of his synagogue, Congregation Ahavath Torah.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Columbia University and an M.B.A. in General Management from Harvard Business School. He lives in Englewood, NJ with his wife, Gail, and two children, Zalman and Esther.

Favorite camp activity: Capture the Flag

Julie Finkelstein

Director, Leadership Development

Julie Finkelstein is the Director of Leadership Development at Foundation for Jewish Camp where she works on programs that support Jewish camps and their leaders across North America.  Prior to joining the FJC team, she was the Associate Director of Slingshot, where she managed a network of next-generation funders, innovative Jewish organizations and entrepreneurs. Previously, Julie was the Assistant Director of Capital Camps, the Jewish community camp of the Mid-Atlantic region and got her professional start with Hillel: at Maryland Hillel and at Hillel’s international offices in DC. Julie earned her MBA from the George Washington University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Maryland.  Julie fell in love with camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania – as the Assistant Director of Capital Camps, and a camper and staff member at Camp Timber Tops and Camp Tel Yehudah.  In between being Jewish Camp’s most enthusiastic ambassador and traveling to places near and far, you can find Julie at her home base in Brooklyn, NY.

Favorite camp activity: Ice Breakers!

Michele Friedman

Director of New Camp Initiatives

As the Director of New Camp Initiatives, Michele serves as FJC’s point person for all new camps and camps in crisis. She is the creator and director of FJC’s Incubator program, which launched five new camps in 2010 and opened four additional camps in 2014. Since joining FJC in 2005, Michele was instrumental in helping launch an additional seven Jewish summer camps. As a long-time camp professional, Michele has provided consulting support to more than 20 struggling camps, enabling them to achieve financial success and sustainability. Her camping roots run deep; for 30 years, Michele was the owner of a family-operated business, which operated specialty camps on university campuses across the United States.

Michele’s nonprofit experiences focus on another of her lifelong passion – forming and developing new nonprofit organizations focusing on youth development. For more than 20 years, she served as a board member and officer of the American Camping Association in New York (ACA-NY). There, she was a founding Steering Committee member and chaired the Tri-State Camp Conference, the world’s largest conference for camping professionals. A founding board member and past president of Project Morry, a nonprofit summer camp and year-round youth development program, Michele is also past president of the Ben Appelbaum Foundation, an organization that mentors emerging entrepreneurs. In recognition of her work on behalf of children in need and the ACA, Michele has received many regional and national awards. Michele holds a B.A. from Hunter College and a M.A. in Special Education Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Favorite camp activity: Olympics

Randi Honig

Executive Assistant, Program Department

Randi joined the Foundation for Jewish Camp team in January 2015 as the Executive Assistant to the Program Department. Prior to joining FJC, Randi spent thirteen years working as an Executive Assistant/Project Manager at the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc. in Harlem where she worked closely with senior management, the Apollo Board of Directors and many legendary performers. Prior to her gig in “show biz”, Randi had a successful career in advertising as a Media Director. Randi grew up in Massapequa Park, New York and is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She also spent six memorable summers at sleep away camp, two of which were spent at Camp Poyntelle Lewis Village in the Poconos where she learned to swamp a canoe and Israel folk dance! Randi lives in Manhattan with her life partner Richard, an attorney and their rescue dog, Lobita. Her passions include Holocaust Remembrance, Animal Rescue and, to lighten it up a bit, Little House on the Prairie.

Favorite thing about camp: writing color war songs with her friend Mindy, whom she is STILL dear friends with today!

Rebecca Kahn

Director, Field Expansion

Rebecca is the Director of Field Expansion at Foundation for Jewish Camp. Since joining FJC in August 2010, she has worked One Happy Camper, a program designed to increase the number of children attending Jewish camp by developing meaningful connections between the Jewish community and the diverse field of overnight Jewish camps. In her position, she manages the day-to-day activities of the OHC program and partners with local Jewish federations/foundations to support their local OHC program and on their camping initiatives. In addition, Rebecca spearheads FJC’s synagogue engagement work – creating stronger connections between camps and synagogues to encourage more camp participation.

Prior to joining FJC, Rebecca worked as the Director of College Programs at Jewish National Fund for six years where she created JNF’s signature Alternative Break to Israel program; a week-long immersion trip for college students and young adults. She spent nine summers at Camp Ramah Berkshires, both as a camper and staff member and is currently the President of the Alumni Association. Rebecca graduated from Tufts University in 2003 and has an M.A. in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

Favorite camp activity: Knockout

Dani Katowitz

Assistant Marketing Manager

Dani is excited to join the FJC team as the Assistant Marketing Manager. She has participated in Jewish camping for over a decade, and her family has been involved with Jewish camping for generations. Dani grew up at URJ Camp Harlam, where she was a camper, CIT, counselor, and a supervisor as the head of athletics.

Dani graduated from American University in Washington, DC with a BA in Public Communications and a Minor in Marketing. While in college Dani also studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she completed the Nachshon Project Fellowship, a program designed to create committed and informed leaders within Jewish camping throughout North America.  After graduation, Dani became the Associate of Sustainability and Engagement at B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp. Originally from Montclair New Jersey, Dani is excited to be back in the NYC area near her family and camp friends!

Favorite camp things: Shabbat Song Session, Yellow Meal, and Rest Hour!

Samantha Lavine

Events Manager

Samantha is the Senior Events Coordinator at Foundation for Jewish Camp. She enjoys putting her talents to work where she can express her passion and love for sleep away camp! Samantha summered at Camp Wicosuta in New Hampshire for eight amazing years. She believes camp is where she truly came into her own and had some of the best experiences of her life. Samantha went on to Northeastern University in Boston where she served on the Northeastern Hillel’s Board for four years and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Cinema Studies and a minor in Communications. Upon graduation from Northeastern, she worked as an Assistant Event Planner for a restaurant group in New York City, followed by a position at UJA-Federation of New York. Samantha enjoys photography, pop culture references, dogs, and is still best friends with the girls she met at camp!

Favorite camp activity: swimming the lake (over 3 miles!)

Gabriel Lehrman

Program Assistant

Gabriel joined Foundation for Jewish Camp in July 2017. As program assistant, some of the programs Gabriel works on are the Specialty Camps Incubator and the annual Camp Census. Gabriel spent five summers at Skylake Yosemite Camp before becoming a camp counselor for two years. He graduated from the University at Puget Sound with a B.A. in Religion and Music, respectively, and has since moved to New York City to see how he likes the big city hustle. In his free time, Gabriel enjoys to read, explore NYC, and lament the Mets.

Favorite camp activity: Campfire, Siesta

Aimee Lerner

Marketing & Engagement Manager

Aimee began her role as Marketing Manager at Foundation for Jewish Camp in the summer of 2012. She transitioned into her current role in 2014. Prior to joining the FJC team, Aimee worked in marketing and recruitment as Admissions Officer for the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and more recently in the field of educational technology. Originally hailing from Las Vegas, Aimee made her way to the east coast for college, acquiring a BA in the History of Urban Development from Columbia University and a BA in Modern Jewish Studies from List College.

Some of her best memories are from her days at Camp Foxtail, Camp Ramah in California, and Camp Ramah in the Poconos. She credits her time at camp for keeping her down to earth, providing her with a wealth of silly songs to sing to her two sons, and cultivating lifelong friendships with exceptional people.

Favorite camp activity: hanging out around the campfire

Marina W. Lewin

Chief Operating Officer

Marina joined Foundation for Jewish Camp as Chief Operating Officer in January, 2017, following a 30+ year high-profile career in banking.  She served most recently as the Global Head of New Business Development for BNY Mellon, where she successfully managed large teams in complex and competitive environments.  She was consistently recognized and promoted for her ability to profitably grow her businesses, develop strong client relationships, and develop, coach, and mentor talent within her organization.

Marina serves on the board of the JCC Manhattan, is board treasurer for Hazon, and has worked with Romemu on its finance and operations.  She attended JCC day camp in Connecticut as a child, and believes deeply in the importance of Jewish summers and in the growth mission of FJC.

Marina received her BA degree from Barnard College/Columbia University and MBA from New York University.  She lives in NYC with her husband Andrew and they have two grown sons.

Favorite things about camp:  Campfire songs and all waterfront activities!

Teri McGuire

Program Assistant

Teri joined the FJC team as a Program Assistant. The granddaughter of two Holocaust survivors, Teri was raised to take ride in her Judaism and contribute strongly to the community around her. She strengthened her Jewish identity through her involvement in United Synagogue Youth (USY) where she gained an informal Jewish education and important leadership skills. Her involvement in USY inspired her to spend a year studying and volunteering in Israel after graduating from high school. Following her gap year program, The Nativ College Leadership Program in Israel, she enrolled at Binghamton University and earned a BA in Judaic Studies.

Teri is recent graduate of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University. There, she earned an MA in Jewish Professional Leadership and an MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Having spent seven summers as a participant, staff member, and group leader on USY Summer Programs across the globe, Teri is inspired to continue to help young people explore their Jewish connection through her work at FJC!

Favorite camp activity: Havdallah under the stars

Rachel Meir

Controller

Rachel joined Foundation for Jewish Camp in May 2010 as the Senior Accountant. Prior to joining FJC, Rachel worked for Loeb and Troper LLP, a public accounting firm, for three years as a financial auditor for nonprofit organizations. She received her Bachelors in Accounting from Touro College and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Rachel attended Camp Shorashim for four summers and then spent another four summers as a counselor for day camps in Queens. She also successfully raised funds and found the right camp for a nine year old girl whose family was facing financial strains. Rachel lives in Queens, NY with her husband and three children Hodaya, Eliyahu and Yocheved.

Favorite camp activities: Kabbalat Shabbat (Lecha Dodi), Arts & Crafts, Color War

Staci Myer-Klein

Associate Program Manager

Staci joined FJC in 2014 and is excited to be part of the One Happy Camper team. As Associate Program Manager, she provides support to Federations, parents, and camps to make sure One Happy Camper is running smoothly. Staci is a proud alumni of Golden Slipper Camp, which sparked her passion for helping more kids attend Jewish overnight camp. Prior to FJC, Staci has had various roles in the Jewish community including at the Jewish Community Project in Tribeca and The Jewish National Fund. She is a graduate of NYU where she studied Jewish History and Civilization and Psychology. In her free time Staci enjoys wandering around NY, reading, and eating cupcakes.

Favorite camp activity: Color War

Kate O’Brien

Director of Education

Kate is excited to join the FJC team as the Director of Education, where she will provide Jewish educational insight, direction, and coaching for the breadth of FJC’s programs. Before FJC, Kate served as the Director of Education, Innovation, and Organizing at The Workmen’s Circle. There she built and supported a national network of Jewish cultural schools that connected children and adults to their Jewish heritage and helped families link their secular Jewish progressive values with their social justice activism. Prior to this, Kate originated the position of Senior Research Writer for the Berman Center for Research and Evaluation at JESNA. Kate earned MAs in Jewish Education and in Hebrew Bible from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She currently is studying Special Education at Hunter CUNY. She lives in Yonkers with her wife, Beth, and their rescue dog, Fritz.

Favorite camp activities: camp songs, lanyard, dissecting a frog

Rabbi Avi Orlow

Vice President, Program and Innovation

Before joining Foundation for Jewish Camp 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. He was ordained in the charter class at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the open Orthodox rabbinical school. Avi lives in White Plains with his wife, Cantor Adina Frydman, and their children, Yadid, Yishama, Emunah, and Libi.

Favorite thing at camp: giving Paper Plate Awards

Shira Pruce

Development Communications Director

Shira Pruce is a communications professional and a feminist activist. After living in Israel for 13 years, she has recently moved back to New Jersey and is thrilled to be joining FJC. Never a fan of bugs or dirt, Shira avoided camp until she was 12 when she attended Kadima Encampment at B’nai Brith Perlman Camp. There she fell in love with ruach, maccabiah, late night girl talk and the stars. Shira returned for encampment for the following 10 years, as camper, co-chair, song leader and Kadima staff. She hopes to return one day with her family. Shira is former Director of Public Relations and Development for Women of the Wall, and has advanced the work of MASLAN- the Negev’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Support Center and the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance. She received her BA in Women and Gender Studies at Douglass College, Rutgers University.

Favorite thing at camp: Song Sesssion

Jill Goldstein Smith

Assistant Program Manager

 Jill is excited to join FJC as the Assistant Program Manager. Her love of Jewish summer camp started in 1997 at URJ Camp Coleman as a camper, and she continued as a counselor, educator and visiting faculty. She has also spent time at URJ Kutz Camp and working with youth groups at several synagogues in New York. Originally from south Florida, Jill moved to NYC to study broadcast journalism and Jewish History at New York University. After graduating, she spent seven years working at a local television news station as an audio and robotic camera operator, technical director and operations supervisor. Jill enjoys chocolate, documentaries, running, the High Line park and living in Sunnyside, Queens with her husband, Dan. She is currently trying to perfect her challah baking skills.

Favorite camp things: Campscape, Shabbat walks and Apple Brown Betty

Shaina Smith

Office Manager & Executive Assistant

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Shaina joined the Foundation for Jewish Camp team in January 2017 as the Office Manager. Prior to coming to FJC, Shaina worked at Lenox Advisors in the New Business Department and as administrator for local political campaigns. She spent her college years at SUNY Geneseo where she was on the executive board of FACE AIDS (now Partners in Health), the Women’s Leadership Institute, and Black Student Union. Wanting to work for an organization that thrived to make a positive impact on the community, Shaina jumped at the opportunity to  join the FJC team.

Marci Soifer

Operations & Planning Director


Marci joined FJC in April 2015. In her role, Marci helps operationalize strategic initiatives and manages organization-wide data, including satisfaction insight surveys, Camp Census, and program evaluations. Her love for camp came from her 19 summers with Young Judaea, several years as the Assistant Camp Director at Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake, and participation in FJC’s Yitro Program (cohort 1).

Marci hails from East Lansing, MI, and miraculously remained a Spartan fan though she attended the University of Michigan. She earned a dual-masters degree in non-profit management (M.P.A.) and Hebrew and Judaic studies (M.A.) from New York University. She volunteered throughout South America, participated in an American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Rabbinical Students Delegation, worked as a group leader for AJWS Volunteer Summer, and served as an AJWS Kol Tzedek: Voice of Justice Speaking Fellow. She coached a PresenTense social entrepreneur, served on the advisory board for Camp Kesem: Columbia University, and worked on both the program and operations sides of Repair the World. Before joining the FJC team, Marci worked as the Director of Operations and Planning at NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation, managing both national projects, strategic operations, and program evaluation.

Favorite camp activity: Gardening

Star Thurston

Executive Assistant

Star joined the Foundation for Jewish Camp team in March 2011 as the Executive Assistant to Office of the CEO. Prior to joining FJC, Star spent six years as the Executive Assistant to the CEO at the American Friends of Magen David Adom. In this role she gained valuable experience working with the senior management team, the Board of Directors and donors. Star has also held other Executive Assistant roles and worked in Accounts Receivable and Office Management. Star, a native Brooklynite, graduated from the College of New Rochelle with an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts Studies.

No stranger to the camp experience, as a former Scout whose camp leaders just so happen to be family relatives, Star learned the importance of team-building, hard work (door-to-door cookie sales) and supporting ones community. Those were truly the days!

Favorite thing about camp: spending time with dear friends

Lisa Tobin

Director of Inclusion Initiatives

Lisa joined the FJC team in 2014 as the Director of Inclusion Initiatives. Prior to working at FJC, Lisa worked at NJY Camps as the director of Round Lake Camp. She helped to move the camp from being a self-contained camp serving children with disabilities to an inclusion camp. Lisa began her work in the field of special needs and camping at Camp Ramapo where she was first introduced to residential camping and all that it entails. Lisa’s work at Ramapo inspired her to move forward in pursuing an M.A. in Special Education (NYU), an MSW (University of Maryland) and an MA in Jewish Studies (Baltimore Hebrew University). She also has a B.A. in Psychology from Brooklyn college. Lisa is a licensed school social worker and a FEREP scholar and has worked at Jewish Federations in Baltimore and in Stamford, CT. Lisa also spent time as a classroom special education teacher and as a bilingual (Spanish) educational evaluator for AHRC. She lives in West Orange, NJ with her husband Rob and their four children Maya, Yossi, Ezra and Avi. Their children enjoy and look forward to their summers at Jewish residential camp.

Favorite camp activity: Havdalah and roasting marshmallows at the campfire

Jenni Zeftel

Director of Day Camp and Strategic Programs

Jenni joined FJC in October 2017 as the Director of Day Camp and Strategic Programs after a six year tenure at lower Manhattan’s 14th Street Y. At the 14th Street Y, Jenni grew from her original role as Assistant Director/Program Coordinator of the Y’s largest Jewish day camp program, New Country Day Camp, to Director of New Country Day Camp, to Director of Summer Programs, and then to Director of Youth Programs overseeing all program departments serving ages 5-18. Jenni holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College, and while studying she also worked for a brief period as a member of the full-time team at Surprise Lake Camp, where she had been a camper and young staff member for many years.

Jenni is passionate about “Open Tent Judaism” a platform she helped to develop at the 14th Street Y used for building Jewish identity while celebrating diversity and inclusion. She is also passionate about food and restaurants, organization, seasonal décor, and her hometown of New York City. Jenni lives in northern  Manhattan with her husband Jon who is also a Jewish communal professional. They met at Jewish day camp.

Favorite thing about camp: Eating obscene amounts of mac n’ cheese, and of course, meeting my husband and best friends.

 

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