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 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 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 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 the 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 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.
Marcia Weiner Mankoff has a private psychotherapy practice which she started after working for several years in the Los Angeles Foster Care system. She is a past participant in the Wexner Heritage Foundation Program and UJC’s National Young Leadership Cabinet. Marcia was the Los Angeles Federation’s first Young Endowment Chair, encouraging younger women to endow their Lion of Judah gifts. She just finished her term as Women’s Division Major Gifts Chair, overseeing women’s annual gifts over $10,000, is currently co-chair of the Leadership and Training Program, and serves on the Federation’s Jewish Education Pillar, which encompasses Jewish camping. In addition to Jewish community work, Marcia is also focused on women’s causes. She is a member of the board of Los Angeles Planned Parenthood and is active in Women’s Political Committee, an organization that works to support and endorse Pro-Choice female candidates for local, state and federal political office. Marcia attended Camp Sabra in Lake of the Ozarks. She received her undergraduate degree from American University and a Masters in Social Work from University of Texas at Arlington. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Doug. They have three children, Sarah, Kate, and Eli.
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 socilitation 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.
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* 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 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 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 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 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 US. Michael is widely recognized and respected as a civic leader and philanthropist in St. Louis and in the communities he serves. In 2005, Michael and his wife Carol established the Staenberg Family Foundation, focused on ensuring that the Jewish community thrives and flourishes as well as supporting the arts and culture, children, education, medical research and social services. In May 2009, the St. Louis Jewish Community Center opened the Staenberg Family Complex, a 155,000 square-foot state-of-the-art recreation and community facility. He has generously funded the One Happy Camper program in St. Louis, and has made considerable capital contributions to Shwadyer, Sabra, and JCC Ranch camps. Mr. Staenberg is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Metropolitan St. Louis Board of Realtors. He also serves as board member or trustee of the following organizations: Jewish Community Center (Past Chairman); Regional Business Council; Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Forest Park Forever (Past Fundraising Chair); Jewish Federation of St. Louis; Granite City Food & Brewery and Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill among others. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Finance from Arizona State University. He lives in Clayton, MO with his wife, Carol and the couple has three daughters.
Samuel E. Vichness*, “Skip,” is a senior partner in the management company, Quality Camping Properties, Inc. and President of GreyPine, LLC. He oversees camping operations on both owned and rented sites, day and resident camps, throughout the northeastern United States. Presently, with his partners, he is involved in camping operations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Connecticut. A recognized expert in the camping field, Skip has presented seminars and been a speaker at professional conferences throughout the United States, Canada, Israel, the Former Soviet Union, and Europe. He is a past president of the New York section of the ACA and past chair of the Tri State Camping Conference. 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.