Jerry Kaye, Director
Jerry Kaye is the Director of the URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin and was one of just 30 people from around the world invited to join the International Task Force on Jewish Peoplehood, under the auspices of the Jewish Agency. This past year he was appointed to a prestigious national panel on Jewish Educational Leadership as the only camp director among university professors and other practitioners of work in Jewish life.
Jerry has authored numerous works relating to Jewish education, self-esteem and youth. He consults to communities and congregations throughout North America and presents programs on Jewish content for children, adults and families alike. His most recent article appears in Text Messages – A Torah Commentary for Teens. He is only one of two camp directors who have works included in this book.
Jerry is professionally associated with the National Association of Temple Educators and is a Life Fellow of the American Orthopsychiatric Association. He has been cited with the title of Reform Jewish Educator (RJE) by NATE and was recognized as the Alexander Dushkin Distinguished Educator by the Chicago Board of Jewish Education. In addition to his work with the camp, he is also a teacher in the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School – a program serving adult learners.
Jerry takes special pride in having been selected as the first recipient of the Guardian of Hope Award from Keshet, an organization of families with special needs children. In May of 2000, he received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.
Jerry holds a Master’s degree in counseling psychology from Roosevelt University and completed post-graduate studies at the Chicago Medical School/University of Health Sciences. He has also studied at the Spertus College of Judaica in Chicago and his professional and scholastic honors include membership in Blue Key, Pi Kappa Delta (Degree of Special Distinction), and Phi Delta Kappa, Professional Education Society.
Jerry is best known, though, as a storyteller. He is the Emmy nominated host and moderator of Sanctuary, a Chicago television series focused on Jewish communal issues.
Susan Alexander, Associate Director
Susan has been a member of the OSRUI family for many years, first as a camper parent, program coordinator and then assistant and associate director. In addition to coordinating our summer and winter programs and recruiting campers and staff, Susan directs our scholarship program. She brings with her years of experience as a gifted teacher and musician.
Raised in the Chicago area, Susan taught for many years in the Chicago Public School system and then in District 68 in Skokie. She then served as director of education at Temple Judea Mizpah in Skokie, where she also taught music and directed their youth choir. Susan holds a Master of Arts degree from Northwestern University, and is the recipient of the Fay and Haskell Lurie Award for Excellence in Teaching in Jewish Classrooms.
An avid gardener, Susan plants the beautiful garden in Kibbutz HaTzofim each spring and oversees OSRUI’s environment program. “We love nurturing the knowledge and appreciation of the earth and caring for it, from our youngest campers to our entire OSRUI family. We have a greenhouse along with areas in camp that are used for sustainable gardening and much, much more. Judaism says a lot about treating the earth with care, and we include these teachings, along with Hebrew, art, and of course the usual OSRUI fun.”
Susan has a love for OSRUI and all the children and staff who pass through its gates.
Albert Marks, Senior Assistant Director, OSRUI and Youth Engagement
Albert works with Jerry and Susan in all areas of running the camp, including staff recruitment, camper recruitment, coordinating our ambassador program in congregations, and programming. In addition, he works the NFTY Northern Region, promoting OSRUI and NFTY in area congregations. During the summer, Albert also heads our Machon counselor-in-training program.
A native of Nashville, Albert attended Indiana University where he earned a B.S. in Biology and then went on to get his Master’s Degree in Education from National Louis University. He spent a year in Israel teaching science for the NFTY-EIE program and then served as Head of Math and Science at the Weizmann Day School in Los Angeles. Albert spent 4 summers at OSRUI – two as assistant sports director, one as rosh eidah of Kallah, and one as science specialist. He currently lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Rabbi Rachel Kaplan Marks, who serves as the assistant rabbi at Congregation Shalom and as an OSRUI faculty member. Albert and Rachel are expecting their first future OSRUI camper in March of 2017.
Denise Heimlich, Assistant Director
Denise is responsible for all aspects of the camper registration process, marketing, advertising, & communications and she coordinates our special needs committee. A former camper and staff member, her very first job with OSRUI was working in the office at camp while a member of the Avodah Corps; she has worked full time for OSRUI since 2002. Denise was also a camper parent and is well versed in parent concerns. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and worked for many years in marketing and communications.
JoAnn Sandoval, Business Manager
JoAnn has served as the OSRUI Business Manager for 25 years. She handles camper accounts and all other financial matters for Camp. JoAnn holds a degree in accounting from DePaul University and came to OSRUI with a substantial background as a corporate executive. She enjoys hearing from parents and making sure that every camper has the opportunity to attend camp.
Barbara Gordon, Program Coordinator
As part of our year-round team, Barbara Gordon coordinates weekend retreats and facilities usage, year-round events and programming, and special OSRUI programs such as Lehrhaus, Hava Nashira and Shabbat Shira. Barbara has also led cooking chugs and programs for many summers at camp.
Lisa comes to OSRUI with years of food service experience. For 18 years she worked in the Oconomowoc Area School District, in both public and private sectors. She is the mom of four children, and she knows how important good nutrition is. In her spare time, she loves to be outdoors and gardening. Lisa looks forward to meeting all the campers this summer and hopes to make the camp food an experience the campers will love.