Blog  Meet the 2020 Leadership Team!

Meet the 2020 Leadership Team!

We are so excited to introduce our 2020 Leadership Team! This team is comprised of staff members who help oversee all of the areas of camp.

This team is not yet complete, so be sure to check back in for updates! 

Kallah: Audrey Honig

Audrey is thrilled to be returning to OSRUI as the Rosh Eidah of Kallah. This is Audrey’s 13th summer at camp and her 5th summer on staff. She is from Elmhurst, Illinois and is a Junior at Kalamazoo College, where she studies Religion and Creative Writing. This semester, she can’t wait to study abroad in Jerusalem with the Nachshon Project. Outside of school, Audrey loves playing the flute and accordion!

Kallah is a special unit because it marks the first camp memories that so many of us hold close to our hearts for years to come. Audrey is so excited to meet all of the chanichim (campers) and help them build an awesome kehillah (community). Whether the chanichim (campers) are discovering new ways to pray, climbing the tower, or just being silly in their tzrifim (cabins), Audrey can’t wait to introduce them to the many joys of OSRUI. She is counting down the days until Summer 2020!

 

 

Tzofim: Shira Brandhandler

Shira is thrilled to be returning home to Oconomowoc this summer as the Rosh Eidah of Tzofim! This will be her 14th summer at camp and her 7th summer on staff. Shira grew up in Wilmette, Illinois and graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in Judaic Studies and Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. Currently, she works at Temple Jeremiah as the Youth and Family Engagement Director and is a CLASP fellow with OSRUI.

Shira can’t wait to be back in Kibbutz HaTzofim hanging out in the refet (farm), gan (garden), and Tzofim hill! She especially loves Tzofim traditions like high-sock Thursday, Oconomostock (the all camp talent show put on by Tzofim Gimmel) and coming together with the whole camp for Shabbat Shira. As she counts down the days until the start of the summer, Shira is thinking about all of her memories at OSRUI and is so excited to meet the wonderful chanichim (campers) and help them create their own amazing experiences and memories.

Gesher: Benji Sagarin

Benji is so excited to be returning to camp this summer as the Rosh Eidah of Gesher! This will be his 14th summer at camp and his 6th summer on staff. Benji grew up in Wilmette, Illinois and will graduate from Western Michigan University in April with a degree in Theatre: Design and Technical Production. During his time there he focused on studying as a lighting designer.

Benji can’t wait to be back in Gesher hanging out in the horseshoe, trying new electives (chugim), and creating new memories all over camp! He is especially excited for all-camp traditions like Maccabiah Games and coming together with the whole camp for Shabbat Shira. As he is anxiously counting down the days until the start of the summer, Benji is thinking about all of his memories at OSRUI and is so excited to meet the wonderful chanichim (campers) and help them create their own amazing experiences and memories.

Tiferet: Alek Kopulsky

Alek is beyond excited to return as Rosh Eidah of Tiferet this Summer! It will be his 12th Summer at camp, and his 6th Summer on staff in Tiferet. Alek grew up in Northbrook, Illinois and graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in psychology and public health. During the year, he serves as the youth professional at Congregation BJBE in Deerfield.

Alek believes that Tiferet is the best place at OSRUI for chanichim (campers) who seek communal connection and inspiration. Tiferet is a very tight-knit kehilah (community), in which members are encouraged to be and explore their authentic selves. In studio every day, campers draw inspiration from Jewish tradition, their own experiences, and one another to create meaningful works of art. Beyond studio, Tiferet chanichim also get to enjoy all of the classic camp activities!

Alek can’t wait to meet the incredible chanichim of Tiferet and to join them as they create art, memories, and lifetime friendships.

Moshavah: Becca Bloom

Summer is coming, and Becca can’t stop smiling! She is so excited to be returning to OSRUI as Rosh of Moshavah. Camp has been her second home for 14 summers, six of them as a member of tzevet (staff) and songleader.

Among the many reasons Becca loves Mosh is the opportunity it offers to be immersed in the beautiful Wisconsin teva (nature), and to embrace our Jewish responsibility to care for the earth while hiking, biking, canoeing  and rock climbing. Each tiyul (trip) allows campers an opportunity to challenge themselves physically, strengthen friendships, gain self confidence, and grow as leaders. Becca has been on 25 Mosh tiyulim (trips), each impactful, and she can’t wait to share the experience with Mosh chanichim (campers) this summer!

Becca is from St. Louis, MO, and will graduate in May from Indiana University where she is majoring in Media Advertising and Jewish Studies. Besides camp, Becca’s favorite memories involve traveling, hiking with her family, and performing with the Singing Hoosiers. Becca has big plans for a summer of ruach (spirit), kehilah (community) and a ton of kef (fun)! She can’t wait to see you there!

Chalutzim: Lee Naftali

Lee is beyond excited to be back for another great summer at OSRUI as Rosh Eidah (Unit Head) of Chalutzim. This will be her 4th summer on staff and she is looking forward to meeting our wonderful madrichim (counselors) and chanichim and speaking Rak Ivrit (only Hebrew) every day!

Spending her summers in Chalutzim have encouraged Lee to study education and international relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and have motivated her to pursue Israel education working with the Jewish agency and the reform movement in Israel.

Chalutzim is such a special program where we get to know new people, different cultures and deepen our Jewish identity by learning and speaking Hebrew. The diverse staff and the incredible cooperation between the Israeli and American madrichim create a rare opportunity to learn about Israel from different perspectives and have so much fun singing, dancing and just be silly! One of Lee’s favorite things about Chalutzim is to see the strong and unbreakable bonds the chanchim (campers) manage to form with their friends over 7 weeks.

Lee is thrilled to be back at camp and can’t wait to go on Tiyul (trip) Canoe and sing “Eretz Yisrael Sheli” after Shabbat Shira! Yalla Tzim-esrim!

Tour La’Agam & Rosh Adventure: Josh Altshuler

Josh is beyond elated to return to OSRUI as the Rosh Eidah of Tour La’Agam and Rosh Adventure! He looks forward to his 13th summer in the sunshine of Oconomowoc and his 6th year on staff. Originally from Barrington, Illinois, Josh is a graduate of the University of Illinois where he studied History and Jewish Studies. He currently serves as an Education Fellow at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) in Jackson, Mississippi. As an Education Fellow, Josh has a valuable opportunity to travel to amazing congregations across the South to lead engaging programming and assist communities as they further connections to identity and heritage. Come this fall, Josh is planning to attend graduate school to pursue a Masters in Library and Information Science.

Did somebody mention bicycles? Josh happens to be an avid fan of the vehicle particularly as it transports campers on amazing adventures during Tour La’Agam! Josh fell in love with Tour as a camper in 2012 and again as a staff member in 2017. Now approaching his third Tour trip, Josh is excited for campers to experience the joys of forming a traveling kehillah (community) under the stars, eating copious amounts of ice cream, and showing off some well-crafted tan lines. Each day of Tour is incredibly special as bikers observe the majestic Lake Michigan and form close friendships as they explore teva (nature). With a passion for storytelling, Judaism, and the outdoors, Josh is ready to work with his staff to make this a Tour to remember!

Before Tour La’Agam sets off, Josh is pumped to be back at OSRUI to help campers and counselors enjoy wonderful trips throughout the Upper Midwest and form relationships with the natural world. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

Avodah: Ashley Jones & Jake Liu

Ashley is so excited to be back at camp this summer, as Co-Rosh Avodah with Jake Liu! She has spent her last nine summers at camp and can’t wait to make the tenth the best one yet. For the last 4 summers, Ashley has been a madrichah (counselor) in Tzofim, but is ready to take on her new role at OSRUI!

During the year, Ashley studies at Rutgers University where she double majors in Political Science and Jewish Studies and is expected to graduate in May. On campus, Ashley is very involved with her sorority, Phi Mu, and Rutgers Hillel. She currently serves as the Social and Holiday Programming chair on the Hillel Student board. Outside of school, Ashley holds the position of Youth Director at Temple Emanu-El in Edison, NJ.

The Avodah program holds very important significance for all staff members at OSRUI because it is the year that participants transition from campers to staff. Ashley is excited to help facilitate this journey and work with her Avodoniks to make our camp community even better!

 

Jake is through the roof to be returning to camp for his 14th consecutive summer and 6th year on staff. Jake will graduate from New York University where he made the bizarre choice to double major in International Relations and Mathematics. When he isn’t dodging New York city traffic, Jake spends his time playing Quidditch (which is a real sport), watching documentaries about parks, and traveling to any place he can find.

Jake cannot wait to return to Avodah, where he hopes to help the incoming Avodahniks make the clean transition from chanich (camper) to tzevet (staff) and better understand the magic of OSRUI. He is very excited to be working with Ashley as co-rashei eidot and is confident that this will be the Avodahniks’ best summer yet!

Chaverim: Mady Frischer

Mady is super excited to be returning to OSRUI this summer to be Rosh Chaverim! This will be Mady’s 9th year up at camp and 4th year on staff. Mady graduated from American University in May where she majored in International Studies. Now, she works as the CLASP Fellow and Youth Engagement Coordinator at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Illinois. Even though she hasn’t been at camp in a couple years, when she isn’t working you can find Mady chilling in her chacos with her bakbook mayim (water bottle) making friendship bracelets.

Mady can’t wait to be back in Oconomowoc and get back her epic sandal tan while hanging out with the babysitters and segel (faculty) kids! This summer, we’re in for a lot of fun, games and shenanigans in Chaverim!

Communications: Jake Levine

Jake Levine is excited to be spending his first summer at OSRUI! Originally from Ann Arbor, he now serves as the Youth Advisor at Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka after spending several years in Israel after college. Before coming to OSRUI, he served many summers on the staff of the URJ’s Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY. He is thrilled to be joining the OSRUI team and can’t wait to share all the summer awesomeness with all of you!

Etgar: Ethan Stone

Ethan is beyond excited to be this summer’s Rosh Etgar. Ethan recently graduated from Brandeis University where he majored in Latin American studies and had THREE minors (oy vey!) in Spanish, law, and social justice & social policy. Ethan currently works in Boulder, Colorado at Congregation Har HaShem as their Youth Director, and is a CLASP Fellow for Har HaShem and OSRUI.

This will be Ethan’s very first summer at OSRUI! While he spent 11 summers with URJ GUCI in Indiana, he is so excited to join the OSRUI community. Ethan was terrified of GUCI’s etgar as a camper, but learned to love it as a staff member. Now, he can’t wait to help OSRUI campers conquer their fears and learn to love the etgar!

 

Sports: Jeff Gates

Jeff Gates is returning as the Sports Director for another fun filled summer at the one and only OSRUI.  Jeff grew up in Omaha Nebraska and was a member of Temple Israel, in the summers he went to JCC day camp where he would later become a counselor in high school.  In college, Jeff came to OSRUI. for the first time as Madrich in Gesher’s inaugural summer.  The next summer Jeff found his place in the Mercaz Sport as the Sports Director and has been back ever since.

After graduating University of Nebraska where he studied Psychology, Religion, and Philosophy, he decided to work for various non-profits and split his time between Israel and the The United States.  In the summer and winter Jeff often volunteers for Birthright, leading over 10 trips to the holy land.  He enjoys playing guitar, learning new languages, swimming, and discovering new places.  When he is back home visiting Omaha, Jeff enjoys spending time with family and life as an entertaining Uncle to his 3 nieces and nephews.  He also works a mentor in an emergency shelter, working with at risk youth and juvenile offenders where he has worked as a mentor for over a decade.  He describes working at OSRUI. as an honor and a pleasure, proudly embarking on his third decade being a part of OSRUI’s summers.

Art: Leah Sherin

Leah is so excited to be returning to OSRUI this summer as Rosh Omanut (Head of Arts)! This will be her 13th summer at OSRUI. Leah graduated from Brandeis University in May and currently works at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA as a Songleader and Educator.

Leah is especially thrilled to spend this summer helping to bring art to OSRUI chanichim (campers)! She has spent the past two summers as Rosh Eidah of Tiferet and is looking forward to working with all of our arts specialists to bring fun and creative art experiences to chanichim all over OSRUI. In addition, Leah is looking forward to helping create another summer of inspired, ruach-filled services, song sessions, and of course Shabbat Shira!