Humans of Jewish Camp: Zach Lasker
Zach is the Director of Camp Bob Waldorf.
Can you share a special memory from your time as a camper?
I grew up as a camper at Camp Ramah in California. One of my most vivid memories is performing in a production of “I Never Saw Another Butterfly, which provided me the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust through the power of performance and embodied art. I developed a new sense of empathy and compassion from my character – knowing that he was a composite of kids who actually suffered based on Jewish identity and senseless hatred – and was moved by the group experience.
Have you participated in any of FJC’s programming/trainings/initiatives?
I’ve had the pleasure of participating in the Cornerstone Fellowship program for many years since its inception. FJC’s Cornerstone Fellowship is a remarkable, transformative leadership experience for our field’s most promising staff. One of the greatest potential risks of Jewish camps is that they can become isolated bubbles, and campers/staff feel there is no other similar community. Cornerstone gives our staff the opportunity to feel they are part of a larger ecosystem of Jewish educating communities, to network and learn new ideas and rituals, and to widen and elevate the perspectives of their peers back at home base.
What is the best paper plate or superlative award you’ve ever received?
“Most Likely to Change the World.” I was humbled and speechless.
Why did you want to work for Jewish camp?
I’ve decided to devote my professional career to Jewish camp for two reasons. First, there was a period of my life when I felt bullied for being different. I was lucky to always have at least one adult with whom I could connect and knew that I needed to work hard as a professional to demand respect between people. Second, I am a complete product of Jewish camp. Camp empowered me to be creative, caring, nurturing, collaborative, enthusiastic, and reflective and I strive to pay it forward.