The early history of OSRUI (or as it was originally called, Union Institute) is the story of the beginning of Reform Jewish camping. Union Institute was the first Reform Jewish camp, as part of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), the congregational arm of Reform Judaism in North America. (The UAHC is now known as the Union for Reform Judaism, or URJ). In the early 1950s, the Reform movement’s interest in establishing a camp gained local support among several young rabbis in the Chicago area, including Rabbi Herman Schaalman (who was the regional director of the UAHC at that time), as well as Rabbis Joseph Buchler, Ernst M. Lorge, Karl Weiner, and Arnold Jacob Wolf. And so, the first Reform Jewish camp was located in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, a 2-hour drive from Chicago.
From Union Institute to OSRUI. The camp was purchased and welcomed its first campers in 1952. In 1967, the camp adopted the name Olin-Sang Union Institute to acknowledge the philanthropic support of the Olin and Sang families. The name changed again in 1972, when a third major donor was added and the camp name became Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute, or OSRUI.
Rabbi Herman Schaalman – 1952
Rabbi Gerald Raiskin – 1953
Rabbi Daniel E Kerman – 1953-1954
Rabbi Irwin Schor – 1954-1955
Philip Brin – 1955-1960
Norman Buckner – 1961-1962
Irv Kaplan – 1963-1968
Rabbi Allan Smith – 1969-1970
Jerry Kaye – 1970-2017
Solly Kane – Director, 2017-2021
Executive Director, 2022- Present
Beth Rodin – 2022- Present
our current staff
To see more about our current camp leadership, click below.
some of our many alumni
We have so many wonderful alumni who do all kinds of incredible things. Here are a few. If you know of an alumnus that should be featured here or in our newsletter, please reach out to Julianne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel
Olympic Medalist – Swimming
Olympic Medalist –