May Shabbat Spotlight

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Every once in a while, we like to give a shout out to the people who make up our camp community. Without all of you, OSRUI would not be the magical place we all know it to be!

We are excited to share how Debra, Elliott, Jonathan, and Ben got connected to OSRUI and why they became donors.

Malki Wedding – June 13, 1971 – Kenosha

Q: How did your family begin their journey at OSRUI? 

A: My (Debra’s) first summer at camp was in 1960; I remember the early days when OSRUI was just the Bayit, Sang Hall, the original chapel and a few white cabins! From a small congregation in Kenosha, Wisconsin, I was often the only Jewish kid in her class and camp showed me the magic of a thriving Jewish community. I met my now-husband, Elliott, when we were Kallah and Chalutzim madrichim in 1970. We got engaged at camp that same summer, and married the next year. OSRUI quickly became a touchstone for our family, as our sons, Jonathan and Ben, came to camp in the summers from 1986 through 1999, first as campers and then as staff.  

Q: Your family lived abroad for many years. How did you stay connected to the OSRUI community? 

A: No matter where we lived, camp was always a homebase for the family and a place we returned to. For almost 15 years between 1974 and 2000, our family lived in Paris, Seoul, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. In Sao Paulo, we belonged to a Reform chavurah and worked together with the educational director to send Brazilian kids to OSRUI for a camp experience. It was meaningful to be able to provide a multi-cultural experience for youth. During one of our Chicago stints, Debra also joined the OSRUI Board of Governors and served for 15 years. 

1997 – visiting OSRUI from left, Ben as camper, Debra and Jonathan as Tzofim madrich

Thanksgiving 2021 from left – Beth holding Oren, Elliott, Debra, Jonathan holding Juliette, Ben holding Leo and Catie (pregnant with baby Max)

Q: You recently decided to become members of OSRUI’s Legacy Society. Why was this important to you? 

A: Camp changed everything for us– who we married, how our kids grew up, and is a big part of our Jewish life. We know that camp is a place where anyone who comes can be themselves, and we wanted to make sure that what we experienced is possible for others. 

Thank you to the Malki family for your support of OSRUI! 
Contact Lani Hart, Development Director, at to learn more about how you can leave camp in your estate plans and help OSRUI continue to engage Jewish children, families, and our community for generations to come.