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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 OSRUI Alum Gideon Horberg’s OSRUI story and how camp still is a part of him to this day.

QUESTION: Tell us about yourself!

GIDEON: My name is Gideon Horberg and I am a Mechanical Engineer at Thermal Care. I help design our equipment and improve our manufacturing. I have worked in a variety of industries, but really enjoy being involved in the fast paced nature of manufacturing settings. In addition to work, I am involved in a number of Jewish activities such as Young Leadership Division of JUF, Beth Emet the Free Synagogue, and Maot Chitim. I also serve as the Scoutmaster of Scouts BSA Troop 62 which is a Jewish Scout Troop for boys ages 11-18. We also have a female troop, 1062, which serves girls age 11-18 and a Cub Scout Pack which serves youth Kindergarten – 11 years old.

Gideon Horberg

Gideon as a Camper with his Friends

QUESTION: When were you at camp and what did you do when you were there? 

GIDEON: I was at OSRUI as a camper from 2002- 2007 in Kallah, Bonim, Tzofim, Moshavah, and Gesher. I loved all of those units for different reasons: Kallah was my first experience at OSRUI. In Bonim, I was part of an older unit even when I was one of the youngest campers. Tzofim taught me that I can live in tents. I have amazing memories from Moshavah of camping and being outdoors. I loved the trips that I went on and I continue to camp to this day with my Scouts BSA Troop. I returned to camp as a staff member in 2012 where I had the opportunity to attend Hava Nashira prior to camp and then serve as a counselor in Kallah and Gesher. It was special to be a part of many campers’ first summer at camp and to be part of Gesher, a still newish unit in which I had been a camper during its foundation. That summer, I even brought back the Gesher Niggun written by Steven Chaitman who was my counselor in Gesher.

Gideon as a Camper with his Friends

QUESTION: Did any people help shape your experience when you were a camper or on staff?

GIDEON: As a camper, I had many inspirational counselors like Brian Avner, Ari Lorge, Steven Chaitman, Daniel Ruben, Ben Siegel, and others… there are too many to name. Many of them were the reason I learned to play guitar and went on to song lead at camp. Brian Avner was both a songleader and really talented athletically and I loved sports and wanted to song lead just like him. Beth Avner remains one of my favorite people and top unit heads; it’s always a joy to see her in the Chicago area and as OSRUI’s Camp Director! One more shoutout – my cousin, Ezra Hilton. I was afraid going to camp in 2002 for the first time, but Ezra was there with his blue-turned-gray hair.

Kallah 2012 Staff

He was at OSRUI many summers after as a song leader and counselor. Though never in the same unit, I always knew I had someone to turn to if I needed anything. When I was on staff, my co-counselors were Max Antman, Jason Gusdorf, Jordan Prager, and Arie Mellow. Max has been one of the most creative people I know. He planned the entire Gesher Carnival without even knowing what it was! Arie Mellow had been a Machon (counselor in training) the year before. He was really good at being a cool counselor while making sure his campers were safe and out of trouble. Jordan and Jason– and all of them– were such kind individuals.

QUESTION: Why do you think camp is valuable for you? Why is it an important place for campers and staff?

GIDEON: Going to camp has definitely helped me fit into many Jewish communities since I know and love the music of the song leading movement. It also inspired me to play guitar and I’ve gone onto song lead for NFTY as well as at various synagogues around Chicago. I still see people from camp around the Chicago area and the bond of camp always brings us together even if it’s been a while since the last time we’ve seen each other. Camp offers a Jewish community for many campers who do not get Judaism in their non-camp, “year-round” lives. It’s also so important for independence, especially Tzofim and Mosh! Not only that, but for for young adults camp offers a place to work in a rewarding setting and plan youth programs. It’s an experience unlike anything else! You’re on 24/7 and you get to work with all types of kids! The kids also teach you things you never knew.

Thank you, Gideon, for sharing your love of OSRUI! If you have an OSRUI story to tell and would like to be featured in our Blog, email OSRUI’s Assistant Director, Ben Schillmoeller, at or click the button below.