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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 Alyssa Gorenberg’s (Former OSRUI Camper and Staff Member) OSRUI story and why camp is special to her.

QUESTION: Tell us about yourself!

ALYSSA: My name is Alyssa Gorenberg (she/her) and I live in Chicago! I work professionally in the Jewish community at an organization called Moishe House as the Director of Moishe House Without Walls (MHWOW). Moishe House is a global non-profit that helps Jewish young adults participate in and facilitate the Jewish community. Our hosts organize monthly events like Shabbat dinners for their peers. We have MHWOW hosts in more than 25 countries and I work with an incredible team to support 4,000 gatherings a year!

Alyssa speaking at a Moishe House Event at OSRUI

Alyssa and friends during her first year at camp


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

ALYSSA: The better question is, when have I not been at camp?! I was a camper at OSRUI for four years including Gesher, Mosh, and Chalutzim (fun fact, I was in the first year of Gesher as an eidah). I also did Avodah and eventually became a specialist for a couple years as a lifeguard! Even though I stopped going to camp during the summers, once I started working in the Jewish field I was there all the time. I was a youth group advisor for a bit and staffed some retreats and NFTY weekends over the last 4-5 years. Plus, Moishe House does a few retreats at OSRUI every year and I ALWAYS find a way to staff them because I can’t stay away!

Alyssa and friends during her first year at camp

QUESTION: Why was camp a special place for you when you were there? Why is special to you now?

ALYSSA: I started going to camp right around the time that being a kid was hard! I wasn’t making close friends at school and my parents were getting divorced so OSRUI gave me a place to be in the summer that was more carefree and a break from my norm. I always felt like I belonged, that my counselors cared so much for me, and I found people who I shared Jewish values with. I was also really fortunate that all of my friends’ parents and mine made it a priority to see each other year round so I have many memories going to each others’ B’nei Mitzvot, sleepovers, dinners, and more to stay connected. Little did I know that the community I was building would be the foundation for the rest of my life and I feel so lucky to say that this place has given me friends I have had for 16 years and counting!



Alyssa and friends at her 10-year Chalutzim Reunion

QUESTION: How has camp impacted your life?

ALYSSA: Camp has single handedly changed my entire life! Camp gave me the inspiration to work full time in the Jewish field as I loved being able to find my own Jewish journey at OSRUI as a child and then on staff. Now, I get to help other people define their own Jewish journey day-in and day-out, especially people who didn’t have the experiences that I had as a kid. OSRUI also gave me my best friends! Most of my community in Chicago are all people I met at OSRUI throughout my time there. I have had two different roommates, Emily and Emily, both who I met at camp and I was a bridesmaid for another camp friend, Carrie, this past summer! Of the seven bridesmaids, five of us were OSRUI girls! If you ever see me around Chicago, chances are I am with at least one other camp person.

QUESTION: Why do you think camp is valuable to campers? What does camp provide for them that they can’t get elsewhere?

ALYSSA: Camp helps you develop such a strong sense of self and identity. OSRUI offers so many choices for how you can spend your summer from the eidah (unit) you choose to which chugim (elective activities) you participate in. It’s a really powerful way to develop independence and to figure out what people and activities make you the happiest! I also think camp gives you so many strong role models and every counselor taught me something about being a good person, friend, and leader!

Thank you to Alyssa for sharing your OSRUI experience!
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.