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.
Jeremy J. Fingerman
Chief Executive Officer
Jeremy has served as the Chief Executive Officer for Foundation for Jewish Camp since 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, and as vice-president of JPRO Network, the North American professional association for Jewish communal practitioners.
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 and two teenagers.
Favorite camp activity: Capture the Flag
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!
Rabbi Avi Orlow
Vice President, Innovation and Education
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
Director of Development
Corey is the Director of Development at Foundation for Jewish Camp, bringing with him 13-years of experience successfully raising over $16 million for URJ Eisner and Crane Lake Camps. In 2013, Corey received the “Development Professional Award” by JCamp180, a Harold Grinspoon Foundation program, recognizing his accomplishments in successful fundraising. Previously, Corey had a distinguished 15-year career in public relations and investor relations. As a child, Corey attended Eisner Camp as a camper and counselor. He enjoys traveling, bike riding, yoga, the New York Mets and music of all types. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the State University of New York at Albany and presently resides in West Orange, NJ.
Favorite camp activity: Breira “free time” of course
Senior Program Manager
Marissa joined FJC in January of 2019 as a Senior Program Manager. Her work focuses on the Yashar Initiative, Year Round Family Engagement and Caring Communities. Prior to joining FJC Marissa was the Education Director at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Marissa spent 5 years at URJ Eisner Camp as a full-time Associate Director, and was an FJC Yitro Fellow. Marissa holds a Masters in Elementary and Special Education. Before joining camp full-time Marissa was a Special Education Teacher in New York City and Long Island. Marissa is passionate about helping Jewish Camps become more inclusive and accessible, so that more kids can experience the magic and community of camp. She lives in New York City with her husband Michael and son Levi, who is counting down until his first summer at camp.
Favorite Camp Activity: Making Friendship Bracelets for all of your camp friends
Assistant Program Manager
Marisa joined Foundation for Jewish Camp as an Assistant Program Manager for One Happy Camper.Growing up on Long Island, she spent her summers at Camp Lavi in the Pocono Mountains starting as a camper, and eventually moving on as a general counselor and teen tour staff. She cherishes those experiences immensely and remains best friends with her bunkmates. Before joining FJC, Marisa held various positions in sales and social media marketing, in addition to volunteering as a mentor to neglected Israeli children during her gap year in Jerusalem at Midreshet AMIT. She is committed to the well-being and development of children, and serves as a board member of the AMIT organization’s Young Leadership. She is a graduate of CUNY Queens College where she studied Media Studies and Business & Liberal Arts. In her free time she enjoys playing guitar, writing comedy sketches, and competitive TV show trivia.
Favorite camp activity: Bucket Brigade, Tubing, and Apache Relay
After interning at FJC during college, Amy is thrilled to return as a Program Assistant. She is very excited to work on new camp initiatives and organization-wide data, including the satisfaction insight surveys and Camp Census. Amy’s love for camp first began at the age of 10 when she attended Camp Moshava IO in Pennsylvania. Summer after summer, Amy returned to camp and eventually assumed the roles of counselor and division head. She loved developing her love for Judaism, being part of a vibrant community and having the ability to give back to the next generation of campers. Prior to joining FJC, Amy attended Barnard College where she studied Psychology. During her time at Barnard, Amy was very involved with the Columbia/Barnard Hillel and worked on programming initiatives combining Judaism and Education. When not talking about camp, Amy enjoys spending time outside, playing ice breaker games, traveling and eating ice cream. Amy is excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the dynamic, thriving and innovative team at FJC!
Favorite camp activities: Overnight campout, Lake and Shabbat
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!
Jessica began her time at Foundation for Jewish Camp in March 2018 as a consultant before transitioning to her current role as Marketing Manager in July 2018. Jessica is an award-winning, published, and produced writer of plays, musical theater, and comedy. Prior to joining the FJC team, Jessica was an educational administrator and teaching artist at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, a writing instructor at Writopia Lab, and a staff writer for the digital comedy show SERIOUSLY.tv.
Jessica holds a BA in Creative Writing/Literature from UC Santa Barbara and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she won the Chair’s Award for Distinguished Achievement. She is also a member of the Tony-honored BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, who awarded her the Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theatre. Jessica is thrilled to combine her love of writing and Judaism in a new and meaningful way at FJC!
Favorite camp activity: Performing in the camp musical
Director of New Camp Initiatives
As the Director of New Camp Initiatives, Michele has served as FJC’s point person for all new camps and camps in crisis since 2005. In addition to providing consultation and support to seven new Jewish camps, she has provided consulting support to more than 30 struggling camps, enabling them to achieve financial success and sustainability.
Michele is the creator and director of FJC’s cutting-edge Specialty Camps Incubator and Accelerator programs which have launched 17 new Jewish specialty camps since 2010. In addition, Michele directed the Day Camp Incubator, creating 5 new specialty day camps in the New York metropolitan area.
As a long-time camp professional. Her camping roots run deep in both traditional and specialty camps. A lifelong camper and staff member at traditional overnight camp, for 30 years Michele was the owner of a family-operated business, pioneers in the operation specialty camps for teens 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 Camp Association in New York (ACA-NYNJ). 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 was also past president of the Ben Appelbaum Foundation, an organization that mentored 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 Master of Arts in Special Education Administration from Columbia University.
Favorite camp activity: Olympics
Director of Organizational Development
Briana is the Director of Organizational Development for Foundation for Jewish Camp. Previously, she was the Director of the Jewish Teen Funders Network in NYC and the founding Assistant Director of URJ Camp Kalsman in Seattle, WA. In her role at the FJC, Briana oversees a portfolio of programs for field professionals and, as a Chicago area resident, has the pleasure of connecting with local Jewish camps and community. Briana earned her MBA as an FJC Bildner Graduate Fellow from University of Washington and received her B.A. in Law & Society from American University. She is a member of the Sigma Delta Tau Foundation Board of Trustees, an alumna of the UJA Federation of New York’s Ruskay Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership, and an alumna of the FJC’s Yitro Leadership Program. Briana loves everyday adventures, eating her way through any city, and traveling the world.
Favorite camp activities: Kayaking/Canoeing, Arts & Crafts, and Farm to Table chug
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, B3. 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!
Director, Field Expansion
Rebecca is the Director of Field Expansion at Foundation for Jewish Camp, driving strategy to increase enrollment and capacity at camps. She manages FJC’s flagship One Happy Camper program, providing incentive grants for first-time campers and advancing the camping agenda across North America in partnership with federations. Additionally, Rebecca manages a diverse portfolio of programs including the newly launched Yashar Initiative to increase accessibility for campers and staff with disabilities at Jewish camps, the interest-free loan program to support capital expansion, and Competitive Edge which launches specialty tracks at traditional camps. Rebecca is part of FJC’s strategic planning and leadership teams.
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. Rebecca currently sits on the board of Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, is the immediate past president of the alumni association and is the 2018 recipient of the Alumni Leadership Award. 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
Associate Marketing Manager
Jordyn joined the Foundation for Jewish Camp team in February 2019 and is excited to use her creativity and millennial social media savviness to support everyone’s favorite form of nostalgia – camp! Jordyn has a degree in Music and Communications from Yeshiva University and upon her graduation, she began working in the Office of the President and the Office of Marketing and Communications where she effectively tripled their social media audience. She also worked on their news blog, podcast, public relations efforts, and assisted in campaign and video ideas.
Jordyn is passionate about music theory, quoting “The Office,” advocacy, and writing. In her free time, she writes plays, poetry, and speeches for local elected officials, but always leaves enough time to be a mashed potato connoisseur.
Favorite camp activity: Unique art classes (like Duct Tape Art and Stage Makeup)
Samantha is the Events Manager 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!)
As the Marketing Director at Foundation for Jewish Camp, Aimee oversees our brand management and dreams up new ways to celebrate and share the transformative impact of Jewish camp. 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 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. When she’s not at the office, Aimee can be found hiking with her family, hunting down the perfect mac and cheese, and singing silly camp songs to her kids.
Favorite camp activity: campfires & late night talks
Associate Program Manager
Teri joined the FJC team in 2016. The granddaughter of two Holocaust survivors, Teri was raised to take pride 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 graduated from the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University in 2016. 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! Through her work on our leadership development programs and educational initiatives, Teri is able to see her direct impact on the field of Jewish camp.
Favorite camp activity: Havdallah under the stars
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. Rachel lives in Queens, NY with her husband and four happy campers Hodaya, Eliyahu, Yocheved and Bat-Tzion.
Favorite camp activities: Kabbalat Shabbat (Lecha Dodi), Arts & Crafts, Color War
Staci joined FJC in 2014 and is excited to be part of the One Happy Camper team. As 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
Gaby comes to Foundation for Jewish Camp most recently from M2: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education, where she served as its first Chief Program Officer. Over the past 18 years Gaby has worked in a wide range of Jewish and academic institutions including Yeshiva University, JDC Entwine, the Wagner School of Public Service and Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life—both at New York University, Shorashim, Jewish Coalition for Service, and Jewish National Fund. Gaby has held roles in marketing, development, and program management, all with a focus on experiential Jewish education. She has been a group leader and educator for Birthright and American Jewish World Service groups, and in summer 2018 she officially joined the world of Jewish camp with a position at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack. Gaby holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.P.A. from the Wagner School at NYU and lives in Riverdale with her husband and four children.
Favorite camp activities: eating ice cream every day and making lanyards!
Greta took on the role of Senior Accountant at FJC in November 2017, after spending two years at an auditing firm servicing non-for-profit organizations across the greater New York area.
Growing up in a community where Jewish values and tradition were a part of every day life, she is thrilled to join an organization that brings children and adults closer to their Jewish roots in the best way possible: Camp! Greta spent many summers at day camp, first as a camper and later on, taking on a leadership role as a counselor. Some of her best memories were created during these summers, building friendships that she still cherishes. When not in the FJC office, you might find Greta cooking for her friends, re-reading Harry Potter books, or adventuring in a foreign country.
Favorite Camp Activities : Color War and Arts & Crafts
Jill Goldstein Smith
Jill joined FJC in 2015, and as a Program Manager she focuses on professional development, leadership, and other areas. Her love of Jewish summer camp started in more than two decades ago at URJ Camp Coleman as a camper, and she continued as a counselor, educator and visiting faculty. She’s also spent time at URJ Kutz Camp and worked with youth groups across New York. Jill was an FJC Cornerstone Fellow in 2006, a program she now proudly helps facilitate as part of her work.
A south Florida native, Jill moved north to attend NYU followed by seven years in tv news production, as a directing and operations supervisor at NY1 News. Invested in designing thoughtful, welcoming and meaningful experiences, Jill is pursuing her Master’s degree in Jewish Educational Leadership at JTS’s Davidson School and is also a Resetting the Table Facilitation Fellow. She serves as the Co-Chair of Advancing Jewish Professionals – NYC (local group of JPro Network) and is a proud part of the Honeymoon Israel alumni community. Jill is passionate about helping camp and Jewish organizations bring their values to life through action and policy. Plus, she enjoys chocolate, social-impact documentaries and movies with morals, running, storytelling, exploring cultures through travel, the High Line Park, and living Western Queens with her partner, Dan.
Favorite camp things: Campscape, Shabbat walks and Apple Brown Betty
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Shaina joined the Foundation for Jewish Camp team in January 2017 as the Office Manager. Prior to joining the FJC team, Shaina worked at Lenox Advisors in their 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.
Director of Operations
Marci Soifer is the Director of Operations at Foundation for Jewish Camp. Since 2015, Marci has helped operationalize strategic initiatives and manages organization-wide data and knowledge, including FJC’s Salesforce platform, satisfaction insight surveys, Camp Census, and program evaluation. 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 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 in India, 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: Camp-wide song sessions
Mary has joined the FJC team as the Events Coordinator following a decade as an events and theatrical stage manager specializing in the development of new works for regional and off-Broadway theaters. Mary is originally from the Chicagoland area and before she became a lifeguard at the public pool down the street, she spent many happy summers perfecting her marshmallow roasting skills at overnight Girl Scout camps in Wisconsin. She is a graduate of St. Norbert College, a recipient of the Anslem M. Keefe Award in Drama, and studied abroad at the Lorenzo di Medici School of Art in Florence, Italy. Mary lives in Astoria, NY with her husband and dog, and is an amateur pie baker, bike rider, poetry lover, analogue photographer, landscape embroiderer, and international traveler.
Favorite camp activities: making s’mores around the campfire
Star joined the Foundation for Jewish Camp team in March 2011 as the Executive Assistant to the 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
Associate Program Manager
Jonah joins the FJC team as an Associate Program Manager. As a recent Yitro III participant he is excited to help in planning of leadership development programs for the field. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a Master’s of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Art & Jewish Studies, Jonah worked as an Experiential Jewish Educator at the Gann Academy in Boston, MA. There he worked as part of a team to bring camp type programming into all aspects of the school. Having grown up in Milwaukee, WI, he spent his summers at Camp Interlaken JCC. There he spent 23 amazing summers finishing his time as an Assistant Director for three summers. Most recently, he finished a 6 month, 2,200 mile hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Favorite camp activity: Waterskiing around the lake
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.
FJC is committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and job applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, national origin, disability or veteran status.
Board of Trustees
Robert M. Beren
Elisa Spungen Bildner & Rob Bildner
Samuel Bronfman Foundation
The Gottesman Fund
Archie Gottesman & Gary DeBode
The Neubauer Family Foundation
Julie Beren Platt & Marc E. Platt
Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
Co-Founders and Co-Chairs, Board of Trustees
Elisa Spungen Bildner*
Elisa Spungen Bildner 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, and 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 “Rob” Bildner, 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
Julie Beren Platt*
Julie B. Platt, 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. Her 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 is also member of FJC’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 and daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.
After a long career as a CEO and senior executive in Silicon Valley, Jim Heeger now spends full-time working as a board member of Jewish non-profit organizations. His 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 also serves as the Board Chair of the Jewish Federation of San Francisco and as Board Chair of Moishe House. 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).
Jeffrey Wolman is an attorney, accountant, and owner & 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 on the Leventhal School of Accounting at USC Advisory Board and on the West Coast International Leadership Council for the University of Toronto. 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. Jeff and Lesley 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.
Julius Eisen* 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 and his wife Susan have three children and five grandsons, and lives in Upper Saddle River, NJ.
A wise rabbi once said: “Judaism is a great product, but the marketing sucks.” As a Jew and a branding professional, Archie Gottesman 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 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.
Board of Directors
Scott is an educator and thought leader in the areas of 21st-century learning, workforce development, and child development. He is the founder of Everwood Day Camp in Sharon, MA, and the owner and director of Camps Kenwood & Evergreen. Scott is also a strategic partner of IDEAS Education in Beijing, China. Scott has been an Executive Board member of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning in Washington, DC, and leads P21’s work in “Beyond School” education. Scott has led multiple briefings for the US Congress on the ways in which high quality camp experiences promote college and career readiness and speaks globally on these issues on behalf of the camp profession. Scott was recently elected Board Chair of American Camp Association, and also serves as government affairs chair for the Massachusetts Camp Association. He is also the author of an award-winning article for Camping Magazine entitled “Teaching the Skills that Children Need to Succeed.” Scott is an honors graduate of UC Berkeley and received a juris doctor from Boston College Law School in 1990. Most importantly, he is the father of his beloved son A.J.
Marla Kell Brown
Marla Kell Brown 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 Richman Cohen 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 NJY Camps, 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 NJY Camps and motivated the successful integration of the organization’s special needs camp, Camp Round Lake, into NJY Camps 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
Robert J. Deutsch 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.
David Fisher joined Berman Capital Advisors in 2018 as the firm’s Executive Chairman having previously been a member of the firm’s Advisory Board. In this newly created role, his focus is on Berman Capital’s continued growth and the opportunity to leverage all that has been accomplished since the firm’s inception in 2010. Prior to joining Berman, David served in several C-suite roles in family/closely held businesses including packaging, chemicals, fulfillment, and even summer camping! He does consulting work through Coalesce Advisors and has been active venture and private equity investor for the past twenty years. In the non-profit sector, from 2012-2016 David was the President and CEO of the Birthright Israel Foundation, during which time more than 200,000 young people participated in the Birthright experience. He is noted for having greatly strengthened the partnership between Taglit, the Foundation and their many shared stakeholders. David is a 1987 graduate of Indiana University, with a BA in Political Science. Throughout his career, he has served many local and national organizations as a leader, board member, and contributor. David participated in Leadership Cincinnati Class XXII and was recognized as a Cincinnati ’40 Under 40’, by the Cincinnati Business Courier. He previously was a member of Young Presidents Organization and continues to be a member of the Defining Moments Society. David has a long record of affiliation and accomplishment within the federation system nationally and locally. He was a member of the UJC Board of Trustees, past co-chair of the National Young Leadership Cabinet, and the youngest-ever National Campaign Chair. David and his wife Stacey now live in Atlanta and have four children.
Shelley Niceley Groff
Shelley Niceley Groff, an attorney by profession, currently devotes her full-time efforts to community service and activism. She is active in the Reform Movement, serving on the Union for Reform Judaism North American Board and Oversight Committee. Passionate about engaging the next generation, she serves as the URJ Lay Leader for Youth and North American Camping Chair. Shelley also serves on the Board and Executive Committee of Women of Reform Judaism. Additionally, she is a board member of Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Locally, Shelley serves on the Board of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and the Center for Advancement of Jewish Education, as well as the AJC Miami Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council. She is the immediate past chair of the Miami Jewish Community Relations Council, past board chair of Jewish Community Services of South Florida, and past president of Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach. Shelley and her husband Jon live in Miami Beach, Florida, and have two adult children, Aaron and Emily.
Marc E. Sacks
Marc E. Sacks 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 live in suburban Chicago with their three children, all of whom have attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as campers or staff.
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.”
Mark Silberman 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 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.
Jeffrey M. Solomon
Jeffrey M. Solomon is Cowen’s Chief Executive Officer. Previously, past President, after serving in the roles of Chief Operating Officer and Head of Investment Banking. Jeff joined Cowen Investment Management (formerly known as Ramius LLC) when it was founded in 1994 and was responsible for the development, management and oversight of a number of the investment strategies employed.
Currently, Jeff serves as 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. Jeff graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988 with a BA in Economics. He and wife Linda share three wonderful children, Ryan, Spencer, and Kate and they live in Larchmont, NY.
Michael H. Staenberg
Michael H. Staenberg 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. 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. Michael is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Metropolitan St. Louis Board of Realtors. He 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*
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 NY, NJ, PA, ME, and CT. A recognized expert in the camping field, Skip has presented seminars and has 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. He 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. Skip is a member of the board of trustees of Randolph Macon College, where he chairs the finance committee and was the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award. He resides in Manhattan, with his wife Ilana, as do their children, Ittamar, & Aileen and Shai, and one grandson.
Peter J. Weidhorn*
Peter J. Weidhorn is the immediate past chair of FJC’s board of directors. Currently a consultant, corporate director, and private investor in the multi-family housing market, Peter has over 45 years of experience in the management, acquisition, disposition, and financing of multi-family real estate. Peter is a past Chair of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Prior to becoming URJ chair, he led the North American camping committee of the URJ and was instrumental in crafting the camp movement structure. Peter resides in Tenafly, New Jersey.
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. She 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. Diane has also served on the JCF Board of Trustees, the JCF Endowment Committee and the Endowment Foundation Council. She 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. Presently she serves on the SFMOMA Architecture + Design Accessions Committee and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Board of Trustees. She 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 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.