Hanhallah - Head Staff
Bil Zarch - Director
Bil Zarch is the director of Camp Yavneh. Previously, Bil was a head of school at Krieger Schechter Day School in Baltimore and Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton. Bil was an active professional in the Boston community as the Director of the High School at Prozdor and oversaw the period of growth from 150 to 900 students. Bil is excited to be back at Yavneh where he spent seven amazing summers back in the 80's and 90's. Bil earned a bachelor’s degree in public communications from SUNY Buffalo, a master's degree in Jewish education from Hebrew College, and is a fellow and graduate of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI.) Bil was the award recipient for Exemplary Jewish Community Leadership from the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Bil is married to Rebecca Peterfreund Zarch. Their two children; Raviv, Grade 2 and Danya, Kindergarten, are students at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston and will be joining Bil at camp this summer.
Jeff Weener - Associate Director, Director of Operations
Jeff has been at Yavneh since 2001. Jeff oversees the operational and financial aspects of camp, and guides areas such as marketing, technology and food service. Jeff has an MBA from Babson College and has held various marketing and technology positions in the business world prior to joining the Yavneh family. Jeff is married to Barbara and has three children who are all alum of Yavneh, with one on staff for 2017.
Lisa Rubins - Assistant Director, Director of Programming
Lisa has been attending Yavneh for 41 years (really!) as camper (K’85) and counselor. She has held a variety of positions, learning about camp from many perspectives. During the school year, Lisa teaches at the Solomon Schechter School in White Plains, NY. She holds a masters degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). Lisa comes to camp with her husband Scott who is head of safety at Yavneh and son, Jack who loves camp as much as she does!
Davida Amkraut - Rosh Banot (Head Girls Counselor)
Davida is celebrating 22 years at Yavneh this summer. Davida is a graduate of Columbia University Teachers College and retired from teaching after 28 years as a middle school language arts teacher. She and her husband Brian live in Cleveland, Ohio with their three children. She served as a principal of a Hebrew School and has taught 5th-8th graders in public school. Davida won the Gross Schechter Day School teacher award. Additionally, Davida is the recipient of the Jewish Cleveland community day school teacher award called the Steiger Award for Teaching and the Grinspoon Award for Teaching Excellence.
Meir Deutsch - Rosh Banim (Head Boys Counselor)
This is Meir’s 10th summer as rosh banim. Meir grew up in Gush Etzion, Israel and has served as a Lieutenant Commander in the Israeli Army in charge of 150 soldiers in the Givati Brigade. He has extensive experience with children including the youth groups B’nei Akiva and Shalva. He is currently working for an National Protection Trust. Meir comes to camp with his wife Adina and their three daughters.
Year Round Staff
Melanie Gerard - Director of Advocacy and Development
For the last ten years, Melanie has been self-employed as a business consultant. Melanie holds an MBA in Marketing and a BS in Economics-Finance. She serves on the Executive Board for the Boston Chapter of Hadassah. Her family has attended Yavneh Family Camp for seven years and her husband, Michael, is a Yavneh alum. Melanie has two of her three children enrolled at Camp Yavneh
Efrat Assulin - Family Camp Director and Retreats Coordinator
Efrat hails from Israel where she held a variety of jobs in conference and event planning, and marketing and administrative roles in high tech companies. Efrat has a BA in communications from University of Michigan and an MBA from the IDC center in Herzliya, Israel. Efrat has two young boys who are very excited to join her at camp this coming summer.
Erin Statter - Communications and Social Media Specialist
For the last nine years, Erin was freelance writer and strategist helping clients communicate their stories and connect with their target audience. Erin also has years of experience as both a nonprofit staff and board member. She loves writing, planning and strategizing, and is always on the lookout for a great story. Erin has a BA from the University of Oregon and an MA in Middle East Studies from Ben Gurion University. Her biggest loves are her family, traveling with friends and swapping Israeli recipes and stories.
Shlomit Keehn - Bookkeeper and Registrar
Shlomit is excited to be joining the Yavneh family! A proud mom of five, she has incredible passion for all things relating to children. Prior to Camp Yavneh, she worked as a certified personal trainer and cycle/spin instructor and is still teaching classes and working with personal training clientele. Shlomit is an active member of her local synagogue and has held leadership roles at several major Jewish communal organizations planning various functions and fundraisers to benefit local Jewish day schools. On summer days (when she's not at camp), you can find her at the beach - her all-time favorite place to be!
Talia cannot wait for her 13th summer at Machaneh Yavneh! Talia has enjoyed many positions at camp, including camper, counselor, Rosh Aydah and Rosh Gan. She is currently studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Both IDF veterans themselves, Talia and her husband Amiel (the teva guy at Camp) head a garin of 30 lone soldiers from all over the world, who are currently serving in the IDF. Talia is excited to get back to camp, hang out with the Parparim and the Gan and take on a new role as Sgan Rosh Family camp this summer!
Miriam Loren - Yedidut Inclusion Coodinator
Miriam is a graduate of Columbia University Teachers College and worked for many years in Early Childhood Special Education, running classrooms for developmentally delayed children and their parents. Miriam has also worked as an evaluator, diagnosing children and evaluating them for special services. Miriam lives in New Rochelle, NY with her husband Ari and her five boys, three of whom will be joining her at camp.
Ashley Marx - Yoetzet (Social Worker) First Session
Ashley Marx is a clinical social worker and has worked with children and adolescents in schools and private practice since 2005. She was born and raised in Nashville, TN, came the Boston area for college and stayed for 18 years, before returning to the South (Atlanta, GA). Ashley is coming to camp with her two daughters, Noa and Tali, and her husband Eli Geller (K’ 94) who will return to camp for Shabbatot.
Suzi Polirer - Camp Nurse
Suzi Polirer, RN, has been on the nursing staff of Camp Yavneh since 1991! In addition to her B.S. in Nursing, NHTI 1982, Suzi has an A.B. from CCNY. She began her career as a teacher at MTJ in NY and she switched careers entering nursing and serving in the ER, endoscopy and finally transitioning to elementary school nursing in Florida in 2002. Suzi brings her broad spectrum of lifelong learning and nursing skills to the Marp – her summer home on Lucas Pond. Suzi is married to Rabbi Richie and their four children are Yavneh alums - Jonathan, Eric, Meredith and Daniel. Soon, her grandchildren will be among the chanichim at Yavneh, too !
Elana has been coming to Camp Yavneh for 6 years. She was the director of Family Camp before moving to Riverdale, NY. During the summer Elana co-directs the Gan for the staff children. Elana has many years of experience working in day school and preschool settings in the New York and Boston areas. During the year she teaches preschool and provides academic and social support to children at SAR Academy. She comes to camp with her son Eytan who is 13 and daughter Rebecca who is 8. In addition to spending time with my family, Elana enjoy reading, biking, hiking and doing arts and crafts.
Mitch Wolper - Yoetz (Social Worker) Second Session
Mitch works as a school guidance counselor in Nashua, NH. He worked as a Yoetz at Camp Ramah for ten years. Mitch also taught religious school at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua. Mitch has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology From Lesley College and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Boston College. He attended Yavneh when he was 13 years old and is thrilled to return to the camp as the Yoetz for second session.
Stacey Wyner - Camp Nurse
Stacey Wyner, APRN, FNP, joined the Marp staff in 2009. Her first experience with Yavneh was as a counselor in 1991 for k'firim girls, then returned for Family Camp for a few summers with her husband and four children. Stacey has been working as a nurse practitioner for the past 20 years. Eighteen years were spent in a family practice in Connecticut and the last two years have been spent in a School-Based Health Clinic providing healthcare to underserved teens. Her children have all loved camp, only the younger two remain at Yavneh as campers. She is looking forward to another great summer at Yavneh.
This will be Elanit's first time at Camp Yavneh. Originally from Southern California, Elanit moved to Northampton, MA in 2007 with her husband Eitan and daughter Amalya. As a child, Elanit was actively involved in a Jewish youth movement, attended Herzl Jewish Day School in Los Angeles and spent two years of High School in Israel. Elanit has a Masters of Family Therapy and spent many years working at a Jewish residential treatment center for addiction. She also serves on the board of the Lander Grinspoon Academy in Northampton MA. Elanit is excited to be at camp with her family.
Amiel Abir - Rosh Teva V'Hisardut (Nature and Survival)
Amiel is from Jerusalem, and is a veteran of the Israeli army (IDF) and an archaeology and history enthusiast. Amiel hopes to enable each and every chanich to connect with the natural environment and to appreciate past generations and attempt to understand their interactions with the natural world by exploring how they lived. He will also touch on the history and archeology of ancient Israel during the course of the summer and learn how these crafts pertain to our ancestral heritage.
Mica Felsztyna - Co-Rosh Sport (Head of Sports)
Mica is from Cordoba, Argentina and has a degree from the Institute of Physical Education and a diploma in Aerobic training. Mica’s specialty as an Air Aerobic teacher has been a hit at camp. This is Mica’s 6th summer at Yavneh. Mica is married to Marcelo.
Amy Glickman Sharff - Rosh Meltzerim (Second Session)
Amy is excited for her first Yavneh experience this summer! Amy is joining us from Zichron Yaakov, Israel where she is a Ballet Teacher and Lactation Consultant. Amy is originally from Northampton, MA where her three children attended the Lander Grinspoon Academy. Amy is looking forward to sharing her Yavneh summer with her daughter, Nili.
Zehavit Kaidar-Heafetz - Head Baker and Cooking Instructor
Zehavit was born and raised in Israel to a multi-cultural family of cooks and bakers. She started in the kitchen at the age of eight. Although baking was a big part of her life and teaching was her full-time job, she rediscovered her passion for baking nine years ago, after moving with her husband and three children to the United States. Missing food from home, Zahavit developed new recipes to bring back traditional smells and flavors with a modern and personal twist. Zahavit opened Baking Smiles, combining her passion of baking with her enthusiasm and love of teaching into one purpose, enticing her customers with extraordinary baked goods, teaching them skills and techniques, and bringing sweet smiles to their lives.
Estelle Lajmer Gomolka - Rosh Agam (Head of Waterfront)
Estelle is a 5th grade teacher at The Greater Boston SSDS. She is a graduate of Maimonides school. She is celebrating her 40th summer at Yavneh (K’79). She has held many positions at Yavneh including rosh banot (head girls counselor). Estelle has well over 20 years teaching swimming and holds her WSI, lifeguarding CPR and First Aid instructor. She is married to Guy and has two children.
Julie Leshem - Ceramic Artist
Julie has been creating and teaching ceramics for over 25 years. Her studio, Golden Lights Pottery is in Efrat, and her work focuses on integrating Judaic themes with usable and aesthetic pieces. Julie is returning to camp for her 8th summer and looks forward to encouraging creativity while at the same time teaching basic skills working with clay and using the potters wheel. Julie lives in Efrat with her husband and enjoys her six children and many grandchildren.
Marcelo Marianoff - Rosh Rikud (Head of Dance)
Marcelo is the Israeli Dance Director of Maccabi in Cordoba, Argentina and the choreographer of their Leahaka “Sinapzia”. He regularly guest teaches Israeli dance around the world including Peru, Switzerland, New Zealand, England and Israel. This is his 6th summer at Yavneh. Marcelo is married to Mica.
Jayne Miller - Rosh Omanut (Head of Art)
This is Jayne’s 16th summer bringing her craft to Yavneh. Jayne is skilled in and has taught spinning, quilting, enameling, jewelry and other subjects. She has taken and taught numerous art workshops over many years. She is married to Barry and has three children at Yavneh.
Scott Rubins - Head of Safety & Photography
Scott returns for his 22nd year and was previously rosh banim. Scott has worked in the public safety world as a peace officer and for almost 30 years as an EMT with the Scarsdale Ambulance. He holds a Masters degree from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, teaches Forensic Science at New Rochelle High School and is an Adjunct Professor for Syracuse University. Scott comes to camp with his wife, Lisa and son, Jack.
Ruthie Simon - Rosh Meltzarim (First Session)
Ruthie (Strosberg) Simon discovered Camp Yavneh at the age of 8. She was a camper in Gurim, Kfirim, and Maalot, and led the Na’aleh trip to Israel. She earned a BA from Union College and a MA from Hebrew College. Following four years working at Prozdor, Ruthie moved to NYC and joined the administration of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. She has been with YCT for 13 years and is currently the Director of Placement and Alumni Affairs. Ruthie and her husband Joel live in Riverdale with their two children, Hattie and Avery.
Benzi Thee - Rosh Muzika (Head of Music)
Benzi is celebrating his 11th year at Yavneh and comes from Israel with his wife Yonina and his six children. Benzi holds a B.A. in music and a masters in Music Therapy and plays in a simcha/wedding band.
Kristi Wivagg - Kerem Play Director
Kristi received a BA in theater from University of Denver and an MA in directing from Emerson College. She has been an actor, stage manager and director in places around the globe such as New York, LA, Boston and Edinburgh, Scotland. Kristi is the proud mom of two Yavneh alums! This is Kristi's 16th summer at Camp Yavneh.
Yonit Cohen - Cooking
Yonit has been teaching formally for 28 years but really for her whole life! Yonit teaches at Barak Hebrew Academy in Philadelphia as a morah l’ivrit (Hebrew teacher). This is Yonit’s 7th summer at Yavneh. She has three children. Her youngest will be attending Yavneh this summer for her sixth summer and her two eldest are in the Israeli army.
Alex, a member of 2KX or Kerem 2010, will be returning for her 12th summer at Camp Yavneh. She is currently a 6th-grade teacher at Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua, a nanny for a few families and has an office job. After taking a summer off to finally explore her passion for dirt bike riding, she is more than ready to come back and bring a long time camper/counselor's perspective back to camp. Throughout her many roles at camp; camper, counselor and Yachad (specialist) counselor, she is preparing for her new role as a member of the Tochnit team.
After a short hiatus, Jossie Forman will be back for her 12th summer at Yavneh and she could't be more excited! Jossie is currently finishing her Masters in Mathematics Education at Columbia University Teachers College. In the fall she will start her first job as a math teacher. At camp, Jossie has served many roles including camper, counselor, s'gan rosh agam, and most recently Rosh Leviim in 2014. She is looking forward to her new role on the tochnit team this summer!
Itzik Shalem - S'gan Rosh Tochnit
Itzik Shalem has been part of the Yavneh family since 2004 when he came to camp as a shaliach. Since then, he has played many different roles at camp, including video guy, counselor, unit head, rosh mishlachat, and now as assistant to the program director. A native of Holon, Itzik currently resides in Haifa, where he teaches media studies for middle and high school students.
Educational Staff - Leadership
Chana Israel - Rosh Chinuch (Head of Education)
Chana is currently the lead teacher for Kindergarten and First Grade Judaics at the Hebrew Academy of the Capital District. She has directed Jewish educational programming over the past 20 years for students from pre-school through high school. Chana has been a member of the chinuch staff at Camp Yavneh for the past three years. She is married to Mark and they have four children – all of whom have attended Camp Yavneh and will be at camp this summer.
Seth Pertain - S'gan Rosh Chinuch (Assistant Head of Education)
Seth Pertain is a high school Talmud teacher at the Schechter High School of Westchester. Seth has a B.A. in Judaic Studies from Binghamton and did his graduate work on the Melamdim Program – a joint program between the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University. This is going to be Seth’s 11th summer at Camp Yavneh.
Rabbi Yehudah Potok - Mashgiach Ruchani (Spiritual Advisor)
Yehudah returns to Camp Yavneh to teach Kerem once again. Yehudah has smicha (Rabbinic ordination) from Yeshivat Hamivtar and has served Yavneh in many capacities over the years including Assistant Director, rosh banim and as a counselor. During the year, Yehudah is the head of school of Striar Hebrew Academy in Sharon, MA. One summer he was the madrich for Na’aleh where he met his wife Shira. They have four children.
Educational Staff - Morim (Teachers)
Avital Bar Zuri
Avital studied dance movement therapy and worked as a therapist with different populations. She was trained in a few dance groups that mostly focused on improvisation, acrobatics and body-mind connections. Avital is also a Pilates instructor and is currently teaching Hebrew at Gann Academy. She is married to Yair and they have two kids, Shaked and Noam. Before arriving in Boston, they lived in Kibbutz Hannaton in Israel and they are very excited to come to camp!
Yair Bar Zuri
Yair used to be a Jewish history and philosophy teacher in high schools and pre-army Mechina. He is a musician, plays the guitar and enjoys composing. Yair started his PhD in Jewish philosophy this fall at Brandeis University. Yair is married to Avital and they have two children and before Boston, he lived in Kibbutz Hannaton in Israel.
This will be Joanne’s 11th summer at camp. Joanne currently teaches first grade at MetroWest Jewish Day School in Framingham, MA. She has taught for many years in a variety of settings including Jewish preschools, afternoon Hebrew schools and day schools. Joanne holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Brandeis as well as three Masters, in Education, Social Work and Jewish studies.
Justin Cammy is an associate professor of Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature at Smith College in Northampton, MA. His courses include the history of Zionism and contemporary Israel and Yiddish literature and culture. In 2006 he was awarded Smith's Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching. He is the parent of three Yavneh campers, and a former member of the head staff at Camp B'nai Brith of Ottawa.
Rabbi Karen Citrin
Karen attended Yavneh as a camper, counselor and rosh aydah from 87-96. She serves as co-rabbi and educator at Temple Beth David in Westwood, MA. A graduate of Brandeis, Karen received her smicha from the Hebrew Union College (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles and holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from the HUC-JIR. As Yavneh shaped her Jewish identity, Karen looks forward to teaching and engaging the next generation. Karen will be joined at camp by Micah and their twin sons, Itai and Yonah.
Rabbi Micah Citrin
Micah is co-rabbi and educator at Temple Beth David in Westwood, MA. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Micah received his smicha from the Hebrew Union College (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles and holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from HUC-JIR. Micah spent many memorable summers as a camper, counselor, song leader, rosh aydah and director of education in California. Most importantly, Micah is abba to 4th grade twins Itai and Yonah.
Limor Cohen Mellul
Limor is a native Hebrew speaker and has been involved in Jewish education for over two decades. Limor currently teaches Judaic and Hebrew Studies at Maimonides school, as well as mentoring teachers at Brandeis University. Limor strongly believes that knowing Hebrew can deepen one’s connection to Jewish identity and to Israel. This is Limor’s 8th summer working at Camp Yavneh.
This will be Roselyn's first summer at Yavneh since her years as a camper in Kfirim. She is thrilled to join her children Miryam, Boaz, Ori and Will at camp! For nearly two decades, Roselyn has taught text to students of a wide range of ages in formal and informal settings. She served as faculty at Prozdor for more than ten years, where she taught Tanakh, Rabbinics and Israeli literature. She holds a PhD in English literature from Brandeis and currently teaches ELA at Plymouth North High School.
Sam is looking forward to his 2nd summer as a teacher at Yavneh. Prior to joining tzevet morim, he was a camper and counselor at Yavneh for 7 summers, and credits his experiences at camp for pushing him towards a career in education. During the year he teaches at the Eliot School in Boston, where he tries to bring some camp-esque ruach into his classroom. He is most excited to be back at camp with his sister, Jossie, who will be working on tzevet tochnit.
Ilana Goldwasser Ivan
Ilana Goldwasser Ivan (Kerem '89) - Ilana has fond memories of her years at Yavneh and is thrilled to come back with her kids Nili (12), Yael (9) and Nadav (7) and husband Yaron whom she met while studying in Arad Israel on the WUJS program. Originally from Newton, she now calls Orlando home after 11 years in New York, Haifa, Longmeadow and Pittsburgh. She received her MBA from Babson, has experience in sales and marketing, and owned a transcription business. Ilana enjoys writing, dancing, singing, and playing the same five songs on guitar.
Michal is very excited about joining her husband, Moishik, and kids, Yuval and Ori, for the first time at Camp Yavneh. Michal is currently a 3rd grade teacher at Atlanta Jewish Academy. She grew up in Elkana and moved to Atlanta in August of 2015. Michal has a bachelor’s degree from Ariel University in behavioral sciences and a teaching certificate. In Israel, Michal was a 5th grade teacher. Unlike her husband, Michal is not an avid watcher or player of sports.
Rabbi Moishik is very excited to join the Camp Yavneh family! Currently a Judaic Studies teacher at Atlanta Jewish Academy, Moshik grew up in Elkana and studied at Mechinat B'nei David. Rabbi Moishik served in the Golani army unit in the IDF and has a bachelor's degree from Bar Ilan University in logistics and economics. Rabbi Moishik's favorite sport to watch, play and coach is soccer. His favorite team is Macabbi Tel Aviv.
Jeanie Horowitz has been teaching at Yavneh for the past seven summers. Raised in New York, Jeanie lives in London with her husband and three children who all attend Yavneh. Jeanie is the Hebrew School Principal at Belsize Square Synagogue in London. She is active at New North London Synagogue and is an avid participant in their adult education programs.
Rabbi Lila Kagedan
Lila Kagedan is the first Orthodox woman to adopt the title of rabbi. Rabbi Kagedan holds multiple degrees and certificates and in 2015, she was ordained by Yeshivat Maharat and in early 2016 assumed a post at the New Jersey Orthodox synagogue Mount Freedom Jewish Center. She is now the senior rabbi at the Walnut Street Synagogue in Chelsea, MA. She is also the founder of the Sulam School in Brookline, MA. Rabbi Kagedan is an instructor of bioethics at New York Medical College and is a clinical ethicist as well as a chaplain in hospitals and hospices.
Rabbi Daniel Klein
Daniel grew up as a camper and counselor at Camp Yavneh and is looking forward to returning as a teacher this summer and introducing his nine year old son, Micah, to Yavneh. A former middle school social studies teacher, Daniel was ordained by the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in 2010 and now serves as its Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Life. He is also the Rabbi in Residence at The Boston Synagogue.
Rabbi Marshall Lesack
Marshall Lesack is the Principal of the Claire and Emanuel G. Rosenblatt High School at Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, FL, and also serves as the chair of the Jewish Studies department. He served as the assistant director at Camp Ramah Darom and was a faculty advisor for the Cornerstone Fellowship through the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Marshall has degrees from the rabbinic and the education programs at the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Rutgers University, and studied in universities and yeshivot in Israel. He loves camp and is thrilled to be coming to Yavneh this summer with his wife and 3 children.
Shira Loewenstein has been coming to camp for a long time. She started in Ma'alot and has served in many roles throughout the years. Shira works for the Yeshiva University School Partnership. She runs a program supporting new teachers and works with teachers on professional development. Shira also teaches fifth grade Mishnah at the Striar Hebrew Academy in Sharon, MA. This summer Shira will be at camp with her husband Yehudah (whom she met at camp) and their four children.
Marla Olsberg is excited to return to the Tzevet Morim for her 6th year. Marla worked in various Jewish Educational settings for the past 25 years. She is employed by the Boston- Haifa Connection (CJP) as the Project Manager for the School to School partnerships between Boston and Haifa. Her work revolves around Jewish Identity and Peoplehood. She both taught and was an administrator at South Area Solomon Schechter for 20 years.
Rabbi Richard Polirer
Richard Polirer, aka Rabbi Richie, has been a Moreh at Yavneh since 1992. A pulpit rabbi since 1977, he brings to Yavneh his wide array of teaching expertise. Rabbi Richie coordinates Torah readers for the Egalitarian Minyan, delivers the news from Israel and helps prepare children for their B’nai Mitzvah. He comes to us from Florida where we pursues his interests, including history, linguistics and chazzanut. Rabbi Richie is accompanied at Yavneh by his wife, Nurse Suzi.
Daniella was born in Jerusalem, Israel and grew up in Chicago. She received her BA from Barnard College and her MA from Vanderbilt in Jewish Studies. Daniella currently serves on the Board of The Jewish Middle School. Daniella was awarded a DSLTI fellowship and her writings have been published in many journals. Daniella has taught and lectured nationally on curricular design & implementation, children and spirituality, and has taught locally on Torah, Talmud and Jewish thought. She is married to Rabbi Saul Strosberg of Congregation Sherith Israel and the mother of four spunky children: Cole, Amalia, Ravital and Yedid.
Rabbi Saul Strosberg
Saul Strosberg has served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Sherith Israel in Nashville, TN. Saul received his smicha from Yeshivat Chovevi Torah. Prior to YCT, Strosberg received his bachelor's degree from Yeshiva University and attended Hebrew University and Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim in Jerusalem. Saul serves on the steering committee for the International Rabbinic Fellowship, is on the board of Yeshivat Maharat and acts as an AIPAC rabbinic mentor. Rabbi Strosberg is married to Daniella Pressner and together they are the proud and grateful parents of Cole, Amalia, Ravital and Yedid.
This will be Deena Weisbaum's first time at Camp Yavneh. Deena grew up in Los Angeles and in Israel. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in history and also has a degree in Marriage, Family, Therapy. Speaking fluent Hebrew, she has taught private groups and tutored for many years. With her husband, Philip, she helped establish an egalitarian minyan in Los Angeles, the Shtibl Minyan, that continues to grow and flourish. She is excited that her three children, Ma'ayan, Ori and Matan will join her at Camp.
Roshei Aydah – Unit Heads
Gurim (Grades 2-4)
Mandy Budd (K'12)
Mandy is very excited to be returning to Yavneh this summer as Rosh Gurim! This is her eleventh summer at camp and her third summer with Gurim. Her favorite camp activities include swimming in the agam, Zimriyah, Shabbat, and Achla Yom. Outside of camp, Mandy is a junior public relations student at the University of South Carolina. Mandy is counting down the days until camp and can’t wait for Kayitz Tashaz!
Cooper Eisenhard (K'10, N'11)
After missing camp last summer, Cooper is super excited to be back for his 13th summer at Camp Yavneh. Right now, Cooper is working at a burger joint while waiting to go back to school. He loves to play and watch sports, especially soccer. Cooper will be a fifth year counselor, the first as a rosh. He is also a member of 2KX and Kerem 15.
Kfirim (Grades 5-6)
Adam Berelowitz (K'12, N'13)
Adam is excited to return to Yavneh as Rosh Kfirim for his 9th summer. He was a camper for six summers and then a counselor for two summers. Adam is a junior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst studying Civil and Environmental Engineering. He grew up in Natick, Massachusetts.
Danni Lovich (K'12, N'13)
Danni is super excited to be returning to Camp Yavneh as Rosh Kfirim! Summer 2017 will be Danni's 12th year at camp and her 4th on staff! She can't wait for Shabbat, Achla Yom, swimming in the agam, and to just be back in her favorite place again! When she's not at camp, Danni spends her days as a student at Barnard College where she studies psychology and child development. Danni can't wait for Kayitz Tashaz and all it has in store!
Arayot (Grade 7)
Aliza Abolafia (K’11, N’12)
Aliza is very excited to be returning for her fourteenth summer at Machaneh Yavneh. Although it's her fifth summer on staff, this will be Aliza's first time in upper camp since she was a chanichah herself in Kerem 2011! Aliza is a rising senior majoring in English at UMass Amherst, where she works as a tutor in the University Writing Center. Aliza loves camp (especially hiking Saddleback, schiyah chofsheet, and Zim) and can't wait for Kayitz Tash'az!
Will Barry (K'13, N'14)
Will was born in Nashua, NH on November 28th, 1996. He has one sibling, Ariel Barry, who was a longtime camper and counselor at Yavneh, and a member of 2KX. Will currently attends the University of Maryland where he is studying Secondary Education. Whenever he has free time, he spends it either playing or watching sports. This will be his 11th summer at Yavneh and he is sure it will be the best one yet!
Leviim (Grade 8)
Ravi Brenner (K'13, N'14)
Ravi has been waiting for most of Sarah’s life to be Rosh Leviim! He is already staying up late at night with all of his ideas for peulot erev. This will be Ravi’s Bat Mitzvah, 12th summer, at Yavneh and 3rd year on staff. Back when he was in Leviim, Ravi remembers having such a fun time, that he swore he would come back to be Rosh Leviim one day! Between summers at Yavneh, Ravi studies Physics at the University of Pennsylvania and sleeps with his Yavneh blanket every night. Ravi loves rock climbing, playing guitar, Shabbat, and preparing for Leviim ‘17!!!!
Sarah Pomeranz (K'13)
Sarah has been waiting all her life for the opportunity to be Rosh Leviim! She is ecstatic to work with Ravi and the rest of Tzevet to make Kayitz Tashaz unforgettable. This will be Sarah’s 10th year at camp, 3rd year on staff and 19th year on planet earth. She is excited to see how all the surprises of the summer will unfold and can’t wait for Leviim ‘17 to show Yavneh how it’s done. To fill her time during the 10 months of the year when she can’t be in Northwood, NH, Sarah is a freshman at Rutgers University in the Business School and Honors College.
Maalot (Grade 9)
Helen Berman (K'11, N'12)
Helen can’t wait to return to camp for her eighth summer as a Maalot Rosh Aydah. She started camp in 2008 and is a proud member of Kerem 2011 (K one-one). She has been a counselor for both older Kfirim and Arayot. Helen hails from New Rochelle, New York and is currently studying art history at NYU. Her favorite parts about camp are Shabbat, the agam, and the incredible friends she made here. After two summers away from camp, she has gotten home sick and is ready to help make summer 2017 the best one yet!
Josh Schwartz (K'12, N'13)
Josh Schwartz is a junior art history major at Vassar College. He spent his fall semester studying in St. Petersburg, Russia and his spring semester as the VP of the Vassar Jewish Union and as a docent at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. He is very excited to return as Rosh Maalot for his eleventh summer at Yavneh, to participate in (his favorite day of the year) Zimriyah, to live close to the agam, and to spend lots of time with his campers.
Kerem (Grade 10)
Talia Schwartz (K’10, N’11)
Talia will be spending her 13th year at camp this summer. Talia is currently a senior at Binghamton University majoring in Human Development and double minoring in Judaic Studies and Education. Talia is SOOOO excited to be returning to camp to spend another incredible summer in Northwood working alongside Tibbetts for the 4th summer as co-Rosh Aydah! Talia is counting down the days till Kerem 2017 and she cannot wait to see her chanichim in this leadership position. She is also excited for Shabbatot at Yavneh, coming up with the best Kerem staff dance, and of course Zimriyah!
Jeremy Tibbetts (K’10, N’11)
Jeremy (aka Tibbetts) just graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a degree in Public Health and a Philosophy minor. He has loved being involved in Student Government, working with his local Hillel and Hillel International, co-founding his university's interfaith council, and being a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. This will be his 10th summer at Yavneh, and he cannot wait to come back with Talia and the tzevet for the best Kerem Yavneh has ever seen!!! He is most excited for Saturday night rikud, amazing Shabbatot, and the best yomei achla we've ever seen!!!!! :)
More about staff…
Bunk counselors for each age level are selected for their sensitivity and ruach (spirit). You might be interested to hear that every one of our counselors have attended Yavneh for many years and now want to give back by returning as counselors. Yavneh prides itself on its outstanding camper to counselor ratio of 5:1. Aydot (units) are supervised by leaders who are chosen for their experience in camping, Jewish background and problem solving skills. In addition, our Boys & Girls Head counselors are professionally trained with years of combined camp experience. Specialty counselors are selected for their expertise in drama, waterfront, arts and crafts, tennis, basketball, and dozens of other activity options. Jewish educators are invited to camp to serve as role models and to teach an array of Hebrew and Jewish topics and, to lead informal discussion groups. Licensed physicians and three nurses staff our well-equipped Health Center.