At the Foundation, our 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 see how it has shaped our children’s and 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 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, 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
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.
Chair, Board of Directors
Peter J. Weidhorn
Peter J. Weidhorn* is currently a consultant, corporate director, and private investor in the multi-family housing market. He has over 30 years of experience in the management, acquisition, disposition, and financing of commercial real estate. Peter is the immediate past Chairman of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Prior to this position, he chaired the North American camping committee of the URJ and was instrumental in crafting the camp movement structure.
Vice Chair, Board of Directors
Julie Beren Platt
Julie Beren Platt comes to the FJC Board with a deep commitment to communal service. Julie is the former Chair of the Board of Directors of Camp Ramah in California and is currently the Chair of the Ensuring the Jewish Future Strategic Initiative for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Co-Chair of University of Pennsylvania Hillel Board of Governors. Julie is a member and Past-Chair, Advisory Board, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and the Sinai Akiba Academy, Day School Committee. She is a member of the Executive Committees of the LA Jewish Federation and Jewish Federations of North America, a member of the board of overseers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. Julie is a member of the board of trustees at the University of Pennsylvania. Her past responsibilities include chair of the Women’s Campaign, LA Jewish Federation, member of the board of directors of Jewish Family Service Los Angeles, member of the executive committee of UJA National Young Women’s Leadership Cabinet, and solicitation trainer of UJA National Training Center. Julie is a Wexner Heritage Foundation graduate and previously a Vice President, Commercial Banking, at Bankers Trust Company in New York. She resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Marc. They are the parents of five children and two grandchildren.
Board of Directors
Scott Brody 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., who loves second grade!
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 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
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.
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. He and his wife Susan have three children and five grandsons.
Alan I. Franco
Alan I. Franco 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 Mednitz 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 served as the Chief Branding Officer/Owner of Edison Properties, the parent company of Manhattan Mini Storage and Edison ParkFast, for 28 years. Manhattan Mini Storage is widely recognized and well-loved for its snarky, hilarious, meaningful and provocative ads. Making ads for a dull product like self-storage that are tweeted and shared all over the world has been a branding joy. After wondering, “Why should self-storage have all the fun?” Archie recently co-founded her own branding agency, STARCH, to help bring that joy to other organizations and businesses and help them to share their message in original, powerful ways. She started by rebranding Judaism with www.marketingjewru.com. Archie’s philanthropic interests include serving on various boards, among them the Foundation for Jewish Camp and Animal Haven Shelter, NYC. She lives in Summit, NJ with her husband, their three daughters and four shelter-no-more dogs.
Jim Heeger* is President, CEO and Chairman of GreenRoad, the leader in cloud-connected driver performance and safety management for fleets. He has also held a number of high tech senior management positions in Silicon Valley. He and his wife, Daryl Messinger, have been involved with the URJ camps for many years. Their two boys are “bi-coastal” alumni of URJ Camp Swig/Camp Newman in California and URJ Camp Eisner in Massachusetts, Daryl is the Board Chair of URJ Camp Newman and a leader in several facets of the Reform Movement in North America, and Jim led the Master Plan Committee that developed the long-term vision for Camp Newman’s facilities and he is currently chairing the Building Committee for their first phase of major renovations. He is also active in the Jewish community in the Bay Area, currently serving as the Senior Vice Chair of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Jim is a Past President of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills and the Immediate President of Hillel at Stanford. Jim grew up in Sioux City, IA and spent his summers at Congregation Emanuel’s Camp Shwayder in the Colorado Rockies. He earned an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and a BS in management from MIT.
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 now serves as Fundraising Chair for Westchester Women’s Philanthropy. Lois is a member of the Board of Directors of UJA-Federation New York and on the Commission for Jewish Identity and Renewal’s Task Force for Experiments in Teen Engagement. 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, and is a Wexner Heritage Graduate. She 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 campers. Lilly and Isaac attend Beber Camp and Benjamin attends Camp Ramah Berkshires.
Jay P. Lefkowitz
Jay P. Lefkowitz 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 E. Sacks is CEO of Mesirow Financial Private Equity, a Chicago-based investment management firm which manages over $3.5 billion in private equity capital commitments for institutional investors through a series of complementary private equity partnership and direct investment funds. Marc serves on the firm’s Investment Committee, Board of Directors, and Management Committee. Over the course of his career, Marc has built a multitude of deep relationships with top-tier venture capital and private equity managers, as well as institutional investors in the U.S., Europe and Australia. He serves on the executive board of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and is a board member of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Marc’s other community leadership includes AIPAC, the Community Foundation for Jewish Education, 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 attend Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as campers or staff.
Martin Schwartz 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.
Allan C. Silber*
Allan C. Silber* is the Chairman and CEO of Counsel Corporation, which he founded in 1979. He plays a critical and decisive role in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, finance and capital market activities for Counsel Corporation and its portfolio of companies, including its real estate acquisition, syndication, and development activities. 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 Govenor 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 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 18 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. She serves on the board of trustees of the Downtown Hawley Partnership which is engaged in developing a new vision for a community that has been a home for the Skier family since the late 19th century. Aimee also serves on the board of Craig Carton’s foundation called Tic Toc Stop which has a summer camp for children with tourette syndrome and funds a potential treatment to stop the symptoms of the condition. The Manitou Experience, another board that Aimee 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. Aimee received a BS in retail marketing from Syracuse University and an MBA from Philadelphia University. She currently lives in New York City.
Debra Gordon Sollinger
Debra Gordon Sollinger 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
Jeffrey M. Solomon 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 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. 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*
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. He recently completed a term as the founding chair of the ACA’s VOCE group – a special forum created for veteran camp directors/owners. 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 the immediate 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 is a member of the board of trustees of Randolph Macon College, where he was the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award. Residing in Manhattan, Skip and his wife Ilana and their children, Ittamar, Aileen and Shai.
Jeffrey Wolman 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. Jeffrey previously served as board chair of Sinai Akiba Academy, the largest Solomon Schechter day school in North America, and currently serves as the treasurer and on the Executive Committee of Milken Community Schools Board of Trustees. Lesley is development chair for Camp Ramah in California and on the board of the Zeigler Rabbinical School at the American Jewish University. Jeffrey’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.
Vice President, Marketing and Engagement
Allison directs the marketing and communication efforts at the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Before joining the FJC team, Allison spent almost 10 years working at Newsweek where she oversaw the brand marketing, developed editorial programs for global advertisers, and worked on several re-launches of Newsweek and Newsweek.com.
Allison attended the University of Maryland where she studied English and Journalism. Allison’s love for camp – and a rockin’ song session – started in fourth grade at NJ Y’s Camp Nah-Jee-Wah followed by four summers at URJ Camp Harlam. Her two daughters, Madeline and Charlotte, have a deep appreciation for her extensive lanyard and string bracelet skills.
Favorite camp song: Stars in the Sky
Director of Development
Ziva joined the Foundation for Jewish Camp in 2013 as Director of Annual Giving. Prior to joining FJC, Ziva served as Assistant Vice President/Director of Campaigns at JCC Association for almost six years; as resource development associate at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; assistant director of the New York Regional Office of the Jewish Theological Seminary; and overseas programs associate at the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland. She also spent two years in Israel as a marketing manager in the private sector.
Ziva was born in Kishinev, Moldova and made Aliyah when she was seven years old. After 10 years in Israel, her family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Ziva has an M.B.A. in marketing and international business from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in marketing and operations from the University of Cincinnati. She has the distinction of having been a Nahum Goldmann Fellow, as well as having been selected to attend the Kaplan Seminar for Emerging Professionals at Brandeis University.
Ziva lives in Fair Lawn, NJ with her husband, Leeor and their three children, Danielle, Ellinor ,and Benjamin.
Favorite thing about camp: making lifetime friends
Jeremy J. Fingerman
Chief Executive Officer
Jeremy joined the 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
Director, Leadership Development
Julie Finkelstein is the Director of Leadership Development at the 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!
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
Carol Ann Fuoco
Carol is the Office Manager for the Foundation for Jewish Camp. With several years of administrative and office management experience in the private sector, she brought her proactive approach to problem solving and organizational skills to FJC in February 2011. The office runs like a well-oiled machine with Carol steering the wheel.
Favorite thing about camp: seeing the smiles on campers’ faces
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!
Director of Day Camp Initiatives
Paul Isserles has been a lifelong professional working in the field of camping and youth engagement.
Over the past 8 years, Paul has been at the helm of two successful turnarounds of premier day camps on Long Island. Directing Camp Jacobson at Robin Hood, and most recently, Buckley Day Camp, Paul has implemented strategies to help increase enrollment, change culture and improve reputation in the community. Prior to his work at Buckley, Paul spent fourteen years working at JCCs, including four years at Mid-Island Y JCC and ten years at Sid Jacobson JCC. Throughout his time at
the JCCs, Paul specialized in improving the experience for both the children and their families. His experience includes supervising various departments, including youth camping and special services. Paul earned an MSW from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Additionally, Paul is a graduate of UJA Federation of New York’s Muehlstein Institute for Jewish Professional Leadership and recipient of a JCC Graduate School Scholarship.
Favorite camp activity: Maccabiah
Director, Field Expansion
Rebecca is the Director of Field Expansion at the 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
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 is the Senior Events Coordinator at the 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!)
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 son, 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 joined the FJC team as a Program Assistant. 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 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 joined the Foundation for Jrewish 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
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
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 the 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
Dan joined the Foundation for Jewish Camp in October 2014 and is excited to be a part of the New Camp Initiatives team and FJC as a whole. As program assistant, some of the programs Dan works on are the Specialty Camps Incubator and the annual JData Camp Census. A Long Island native, Dan graduated from the University at Buffalo in 2013 with a BA in Anthropology and minors in Linguistics and Classical Civilization. After spending a year in a graduate anthropology program, he decided to leave the field and move back to the New York City area to pursue work in the nonprofit sector.
An alumnus of Surprise Lake Camp, Dan has spent two summers working at Camp Ramah in Nyack as a counselor and two as a counselor and then unit head at Camp Centerland at the Jewish Community Center in Buffalo, New York. He credits camp for his love of singing (off key), bad puns, and grilled cheese sandwiches. In his free time, Dan enjoys reading, trying new foods, and posting pictures of his cat on Instagram.
Favorite Camp Activity: Gaga!
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 in Cleveland, Georgia, 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
Operations & Planning Director
Marci joined FJC in April 2015 as the Program and Operations Director. In this role, Marci oversees BunkConnect, manages organization-wide processes and systems, and operationalizes strategic initiatives. 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
Assistant Events Manager
Andrew is the Assistant Events Manager at the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Andrew’s love of camp is credited to his time at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, where he spent every summer from the age of 9 through 23. His new favorite way to explain the tremendous impact of camp on his life is to count the number of weddings in which he’s been a groomsman for camp friends (four so far, and possibly counting!).
Before joining the team at FJC, Andrew served as the full-time Program Coordinator at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires and Program Associate for the Nassau-Suffolk Region of BBYO. He attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned a BA in Communication and a Certificate in Jewish Studies, and his first position out of school was a Fellowship at the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, NC. Without camp, Andrew would have never gained the confidence to (pretend to) be a star athlete, triple threat on stage, master kippah-crocheter and champion eater of rocky mountain toast.
Favorite camp activities: Shabbos softball and Israeli dancing
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
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
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