I am excited to return to Young Judaea both personally and professionally, as a YJ alumnae it is an honor to have the chance to work with every other YJ alumni out there. After Year Course (’92-’93) and a few years spent at Union College in Schenectady, New York (with summers as staff at CJ and as a Machon in Israel Madricha), I received my law degree at the University of Pittsburgh in 2000.
While in law school while most of my classmates were spending summers clerking at law firms, I lead Israel summer programs, while they clerked for judges during the year, I taught Hebrew School and when they went to work drafting briefs and filing claims – I was recruiting for Birthright Israel and serving as the Hillel director at Goucher College. It’s very possible that I should have seen what career path I was heading down…
After stints at the Union for Reform Judaism and the Anti-Defamation League, coming home to Young Judea is wonderful. I am ready willing and able to assist in coordinating alumni events, reunions, reconnecting you with lost friends and so much more!
Andrew grew up in Randolph, NJ and has been a part of Young Judaea since becoming an active member of the Morristown Club as a high school freshman. Since then, he has served and led Young Judaea in multiple capacities: local, regional and national mazkirut (youth board), Year Course participant, and staff at Camp Tel Yehudah from 2002-present, and is currently the education director.
Andrew graduated from UMass Amherst in 2007 magna cum laude with a double degree in Political Economics and English, and worked for the UMass Writing Center as a collegiate tutor. He has also spent significant time as a full-time volunteer for multiple political (including presidential) campaigns. Andrew currently is a Brooklyn resident and enthusiast and claims to be a dodgeball extraordinaire. Andrew has also been selected to the Project inCite Fellowship, for professional Jewish educators, sponsored by the Jewish Education Project (formerly BJE – NY).
Bob spent his formative years as an “Air Force Brat” traveling to and living in several places around the country and abroad, which afforded him the opportunity to experience many cultures and people. He has tried to bring those experiences to play in all that he does. He has been with Young Judaea since April 2010 and is happy to be part of a dedicated team of energetic, passionate, creative, fun and smart people.
After moving to New York, he worked at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis as a counselor and developed an Acupuncture Clinic for Stress Reduction. His love for cooking and baking is widely known (“Chef Bob” at Broadway U.C.C. on the Upper West Side for many years and still counting!) and his talent for awesome baking has won both praise from many a sweet-toothed friend and scorn from many calorie counters.
David Weinstein started in Young Judaea as a camper at Camp Young Judaea – Sprout Lake the year it opened in 1976. He was a camper, madrich and merakez at Camp Tel Yehudah as well as the former National Administrative Vice President and Education Director of Young Judaea. During his 17 year vacation from YJ, David was a high school teacher, family educator, curriculum developer and educational consultant. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Judaic Studies and Political Science and has a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He met his wife, Amy, at Sprout Lake in 1976 and their two children, Mikaela and Kira, are now Judaeans as well. David returned as director of Tel Yehudah in 2007.
Born in New York to Russian Jewish parents, Diana Diner was raised in Fair Lawn, NJ. After graduating from Rutgers University in 2005, she went to Israel for the first time on a Birthright trip. Diana worked first in New York and then LA, but the pull of Israel was too strong to resist, and in 2007 she took part in a 6 month volunteer program. Upon her return, she wanted to find a career where she could share her love of Israel with others. She found a job working with Birthright Next, which lead to working as an intern with MASA Israel Journey, which brought her to Young Judaea. Diana was never part of a youth movement, so she is extremely excited and thrilled to be considered a Judaean!
Frank Silberlicht has been the director of Camp Young Judaea – Texas since 1998. Raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he has always believed strongly in the Jewish and Zionist traditions that are the foundation of the Young Judaea movement. His career with Young Judaea began in 1995 when he served as the Assistant Regional Director for the Texas/Oklahoma/Louisiana Region. From 1996-1998, Frank was the Assistant Camp Director at Tel Yehudah, YJ’s senior leadership camp in upstate New York.
Frank holds a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Oklahoma State University. His first career as a restaurant manager included being a managing partner of a restaurant in the US Virgin Islands. Frank is a graduate of the inaugural ELI Course (Executive Leadership Institute).
Frank and his wife Simóne believe in giving back to the community. They are members of the board or are involved with UOS Goldberg Montessori Playground Committee, Beth Yeshurun Board of Trustees, Seven Acres Carnival of Fun, and Super Sunday at the Federation. Frank and Simóne and their children Elan, Jacob, and Rebecca live in Houston, Texas.
Helene Drobenare, MSW, has been the director of CYJ Sprout Lake since 1999. She lived in Israel for four years after making aliyah. In Israel, she worked for TRACKS Adventures as the Director of Operations and Overseas Marketing.
Helene is currently at work on a MA/PhD at The New School in Organizational Change Management. She is also an active community volunteer, working closely with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Jamie hails from Stamford, CT and started her Young Judaea career at the age of 10 when she spent her first summer at Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake in 1992. Since then, she was hooked and continued on to attend Camp Tel Yehudah, Machon in Israel, and ultimately spent a year in Israel on Young Judaea’s Year Course.
While pursuing a degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, Jamie couldn’t break from her love of camp and returned to Tel Yehudah as a staff member each summer. After graduation in 2004, Jamie’s planned move to Atlanta, GA coincided perfectly with an opportunity to work as an Area Supervisor for Young Judaea’s Southeast District. While she enjoyed her stint as a southerner and tested out a lot of sweet tea and barbecue, she was excited to return to NYC to assume the role of TY’s Assistant Director in 2008. Through her work, Jamie was selected to and recently completed the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Yitro Fellowship for Assistant Camp Directors. She also enjoys cheese tastings and playing with the Dodgeballsamic Vinaigrettes, the current defending dodgeball league champions.
Jessica Suckerman, Registrar at CYJ Sprout Lake. I have a B.A. from Rutgers University with a major in journalism and a minor in psychology. Before coming to CYJ Sprout Lake, I worked with young adults to find them rewarding long-term Kibbutz programs in Israel. I live in Manhattan with my husband and dog, and grew up in New Jersey. I’m so excited to work here at YJ and can’t wait to hear from you to discuss all the great things we have to offer! Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Noah Gallagher spent many summers as a camper and staff member at CYJ Midwest. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Philosophy and Hebrew Studies, Noah became the Assistant Director of Young Judaea’s National Senior Leadership camp, Camp Tel Yehudah, in Barryville, New York. Noah is very happy to be back home in the Midwest.
Noah is married to Lauren; they met at CYJ Midwest in 1991!
Rachel Comstock, the newly appointed Year Round Programs Associate, has a long history with Young Judaea, spanning 15 years. Coming from Salem, Oregon, Rachel attended Camp Young Judaea Northwest as a camper. Additionally, she was a Regional Ofarim-Tsofim Programmer for two years and the Regional Mazkira of the Pacific Northwest Region (PNW) (before the convergence of CNH [California-Nevada-Hawaii Region] & DMR [Desert/Mountain Region] to become West Merchav).
In addition to her local experiences she also attended Camp Tel Yehudah, Machon and Year Course and has worked at Tel Yehudah for 6 summers as well. After Year Course, Rachel graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in anthropology and art history with a specialty in Jewish tattooing.
My history with CYJ starts many years ago when I was eight years old and my parents put me on the bus to Camp Shalom. It is hard to believe that was almost 38 years ago. I am happy to say that I went right through the system and spent five years on staff, 3 at Camp Solelim and 2 as program director of Camp Biluim Canada.
It was at Biluim Canada in 1986 where I met my husband Amir to whom I have been happily married for the last 24 years. As history often repeats itself my three daughters Annie, Fay and Ellie have also enjoyed being active members of CYJ. This upcoming summer Annie will be Head Counselor at Camp Solelim, Fay will be a participant on Biluim Israel and Ellie will be a rookie at Camp Solelim.
I am an honors graduate majoring in English Literature and continued my studies in my late 30′s doing graduate work in Holocaust and Genocide studies.
For the past 20 years I have been National Executive Director of CYJ and for 8 years the Director of Camp Solelim in Sudbury, Ontario. I enjoy every moment I have the opportunity to educate young people on Judaism and Israel.
2011 will be Robin Anderson’s ninth summer at camp. She held a number of positions, including counselor, unit head and program director before assuming the position of associate director. She has a BA in Jewish Studies and Sociology from Indiana University and an MA in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University. Additionally, Robin completed the first cohort of the Yitro Leadership Program for assistant and associate directors, funded by the Foundation for Jewish Camp.
Robin is married to Michael and they have two sons, Yoni and Noah, who are eagerly awaiting their time to attend camp.
Sara Chamama, while at heart is a Jersey girl, currently lives in NYC. After living in Israel for a year and a half, her love for Israel grew and that journey continues every day she works at Young Judaea. She started in the Hadassah/YJ family working for Hadassah Magazine, then became the Summer Programs Registrar for Young Judaea and is honored to now call herself the Manager of Registration.
Sharon was active in Gesher Shalom (Long Island Region) YJ from the age of 12. She attended Camp Tel Yehudah, was part of the regional mazkirut and was elected National Bogrim Programmer in her Senior Year, all the while saving money for Young Judaea Year Course working at McDonald’s. After college and several summer working on the program staff at CYJ Sprout Lake, Sharon studied for a Master’s in Education at Queens College. Immediately following her studies, Sharon joined the National Young Judaea staff as Education Director. After making aliyah, she spent seven years as the Program Director and then Director of Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah. Sharon returned to the US and to National Young Judaea in 2006.
Talia Horan – Block is the Associate Director for Camp Sprout Lake. She went to CYJ Midwest and Tel Yehudah (91-98) as a camper and worked at CYJ Midwest, TY, and Sprout Lake (99-present). Talia went on Machon in 97 and Year Course 99-00. She graduated from University of Michigan undergrad in 2003 and 2009 for her masters. She lives in Riverdale with her husband Dane and daughter Hannah- 13 months.
Yael has worked with Jewish non-profits and in the hospitality industry since graduating from UC Santa Cruz. Four years ago she joined the Hadassah family and was thrilled to become a Young Judaean this past April.