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 Rachel Yakar’s (OSRUI Camp Care Team Member) OSRUI story and why camp is special to her.

QUESTION: Tell us about yourself!

RACHEL: I am Rachel Yakar (she, her, hers), formerly Rachel Margolis. I am a pediatric occupational therapist specializing in mental health. I spend my free time adventuring with my partner (Evon), children (Caleb, 10 and Jonah, 7) and puppy (Solstice, 2) in the Sierra Mountains. When they “leave me in the dust,” I bake a lot of sourdough and challah and knit using complicated patterns. We live in South Lake Tahoe, California.

Rachel and Evon (2022)

Rachel as a Chavurah Camper (1995)


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

RACHEL: I started as a camper in 1992 (Kallah Aleph) and moved through all the Eidot (Kallah-92-94, Chavurah-95, Moshavah-96, Chalutzim-97, OSRUI in Israel-98, Avodah-99). Then I was a Machon-00, Madricha-01,02, Rosh Teva-03, and Kallah Rosh Eidah-04.


Now I work with the Camp Care Team to partner with families to ensure that campers can positively engage in the “camp experience” and work with chanichim and madrichim during the summer, which feels like the most rewarding way to give back to a community that means so much to my family and me.

Rachel as a Chavurah Camper (1995)

QUESTION: Who were your co counselors when you were a staff member? Tell us about them and why they were memorable.

RACHEL: One exceptional co-counselor that really stands out is Evon Yakar (he, him, his) formerly Evon Finstad. We met in 1999, attended UW-Madison, and were on Moshavah staff 2000-2002. We fell in love at OSRUI, celebrated our Sheva Brachot at camp during a Shabbat Shira (2005) and discovered our love for outdoor adventure and exploring the natural world. We use many of the skills and strengths that we developed at OSRUI to guide our life; building community, celebrating Jewish moments, and providing positive experiences for our children. There are a lot of other Madrichim who impacted my life when I was a Chanicha and Madricha, including people who I get to see when I return to serve on the Camp Care Team …I’m afraid to list names– in case I forget people!!!



Rachel as a Moshavah Madricha with Beth Rodin and Lizzie Gussis (2001)

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

RACHEL: When I started as a camper in 1992, I went knowing NO ONE. Now my closest friends and family all have roots at OSRUI. I was one of those campers who would leave camp and start counting down the days until I could return. I loved the time spent in the bunk, trying new activities, and making friends. Now camp is special because I see how spending time at OSRUI impacts our youth. I can see how chanichim grow through the innovative and fun opportunities for engagement, during the summer. I am so grateful that I can be a participant in that process, even as an adult (on the Camp Care Team). 

QUESTION: Why do you think camp is valuable? What does camp provide that one can’t get elsewhere?

RACHEL: Camp is INVALUABLE to campers and staff. It is a life-changing opportunity to learn about how to live in a community, how to explore the natural world, and how to gain independence in a safe and supportive space. If you are a parent who is considering sending your child to OSRUI, but feeling unsure or wavering….please know that my partner and I have been to multiple Jewish summer camps throughout the United States, and we choose OSRUI for our children (traveling from Northern California) without a doubt in our minds that it is absolutely the most incredible place for Jewish children and young adults to experience their world. 

Thank you to Rachel 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.