Community 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 Shira Brandhandler (OSRUI camper and staff member) got connected to OSRUI and why camp is important.

Shira Brandhandler

QUESTION: Tell Us About Yourself!

SHIRA: I’m Shira Brandhandler and during the year I am the Youth and Family Engagement Director at Temple Jeremiah in Northfield, IL.

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

SHIRA: My first summer of camp was in 2006 and I was a camper for seven years in Kallah, Tiferet, Mosh, and Chalutzim. I just finished my ninth summer on staff and I spent most of that time as a counselor and Rosh Eidah in Kibbutz HaTzofim. This past summer I was Rosh Recreation and worked on programming for different areas of camp.

QUESTION: What is your favorite place at at camp? 

SHIRA: One of my favorite places at camp is the Bitan. Each summer on opening day, I knew that once we gathered on the Bitan, camp had officially started and I was in for a great summer. I also love any time that the whole camp comes together for Oconomostock or Maccabiah (OSRUI All Camp Talent Shows). The energy you feel when the whole camp sits and sings together on the Bitan is awesome.

QUESTION: What is your favorite activity to do at camp?

SHIRA: My favorite camp activity is Shabbat Shirah! I often tell people that Shabbat Shirah was named after me because I love it so much. It is so fun to be together with the entire camp and sing and dance as much as you can. It is always the highlight of my week. Every year I look forward to seeing what new songs and traditions will become favorites for the season.

QUESTION: How has camp impacted your life? 

SHIRA: Camp has had an enormous impact on my life. Camp is a place where people, staff and campers alike, can be their best authentic selves and I have learned so many things about myself through being a part of the OSRUI community. My experiences at camp have helped me become a more confident Jewish leader and have given me tools that I will use for the rest of my life, from learning to work with children to making the perfect s’more and lots of things in between.

Thank you, Shira, 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.