Blog  Alumni Alert: 1979-1984 Reunion!

Alumni Alert: 1979-1984 Reunion!

By Roy Splansky, OSRUI Alum

How has your experience as a camper, counselor or faculty member at Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute changed your life? What is your favorite memory? When you close your eyes can you visualize your old cabin or green army tents? Can you hear the singing during a raucous Shabbat song session or Jerry Kaye telling a story? Can you still smell the egg water?

Some friendships have continued for decades, some are rekindled thanks to Facebook, and perhaps others could be reborn given the right opportunity.

Some lives have been forever changed because of OSRUI. A summer romance turned into marriage, a life altered for commitment to Judaism, or perhaps just a way of life reflecting the community ruach taught to us by our experience at this summer camp in Oconomowoc, WI.

We move on with our lives. With our very busy lives.

I remember hearing the news that Andrea Zoll Stein had suddenly and unexpectedly died on October 29, 2013. Like many others, I was shocked, saddened, and in disbelief. I had known Andrea from CFTY youth group, we both were Chalutzim campers in 1979 and Mosh counselors in 1984. Our daughters, Sara and Hannah, have become friends from their own experiences at OSRUI. I had not kept in touch with Andrea and met her husband Jim just a few times, including at a Chalutzim visiting day. Andrea was only 49 years old. Like many others, I read posts about Andrea’s passing and about great camp memories. I learned about her life in the Jewish community in Madison, WI.

I reached out to Jim Stein to let him know that Andrea inspired us to organize this special reunion. He responded and described OSRUI as “a fundamental, life-changing experience for Andrea that set her on a path towards a rich life of Jewish communal service”. He also let me know that he and Andrea’s mom will be at HUC in LA this May as Andrea was awarded a posthumous doctoral degree for her body of work in the Jewish community. OSRUI set her on that path.  

And just a few days later, something else happened. I shared a post on Facebook, tagged a few people from camp on the OSRUI 1980 Alumni group and put it out there: Who is interested in reunion at camp? About a 100 comments later we were planning a 30 – 35 year reunion simply to reconnect, share memories and have a fun Shabbat day at the camp we know and love.


We would like to invite anyone who was a camper, staff member, or faculty member from 1979-1984 to our OSRUI Alumni Summer Reunion.  The date is July 19th, 2014. We look forward to spending this wonderful day together, and celebrating Shabbat at OSRUI. It will be full day including services, Shabbat picnic lunch, Israeli dancing with all OSRUI campers and staff, sports, lake/pool, a “Limud of all Limuds”, dinner and Havdalah. We have reserved blocks of hotel rooms in Oconomowoc and people are already planning their travel: Alan and Laura Rabishaw from Sacramento, Sam “disco crutch” Lieberman from Las Vegas, Robin Barbara Salsberg from NY, and Mike Epstein also from NY are making their plans to attend the reunion.

We look forward to spending this special Shabbat together at camp.  It will be a day of friends and memories, and most importantly a day at camp.

  • Eliot Shapiro

    Very well written Roy! Love the Lone Ranger white cowboy hat in that pic, almost as much as I love my full head of curly hair! Ellyn and I will be there!

  • Robin Barbara Salsberg

    My flights are booked!!!
    Looking forward to celebrating OSRUI memories with life-long friends!
    Roy, thank you for bring this event to fruition!

  • Kenny Rubin

    Such very fond memories of my 3 years at OSRIU!!! Will there be an on-line list available showing all those who have registered?

    • Roy Splansky

      Kenny, OSRUI send out an email on May 6th with the following names of attendees:

      Stay tuned for a complete list of attendees, but so far confirmed: US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro & Julie Fisher, Rabbi Dan Rabishaw, Roy Splansky, David & Ilene Brot, Sam “Shmu” Lieberman, Eliot & Ellyn Shapiro, Robin Barbara & Mark Salsberg, Mara Tepper Kaplan, Marla Subeck Spanjer, Rabbi Alan & Laura Rabishaw, Eric & Alyssa Schor, Sharon Honig Thompson, Diana McNelis, Michelle Schlack, Sheri Yarosh, Mary Choldin, Kate Choldin, Deb Mork, Rabbi Eitan & Dawn Weiner-Kaplow, Julie Friedman, Steve Shapiro, Jodi Katz, Lynn Glickman, Debra Krawetz & Peter Shapiro, Jim Rosenberg, Mitch Silver, Alyssa Dickman, Steve Silverman, Kevin Flagg, Scott Cohen, Scott & Cory Eisenberg. . . and more are registering every day!

  • Stacey Sevelow

    I did it! I registered and booked a room Friday night at the LaBelle Hotel since I have to arrive before Shabbos! It’s a mile walk to camp. Anyone feel like joining me?!? Who is staying at the Olympia Resort on Saturday night?

    I can’t wait for this reunion!