Solly is a former OSRUI camper, counselor, unit head, and assistant director, and became OSRUI’s 10th director in 2017.
He believes that summer camp is the place that makes Judaism come alive, creates friendships for life, and gives young people a supportive environment in which to grow. Solly leads our professional staff team, and works with our lay leadership and synagogue partners to continue the magic that has existed in Oconomowoc since 1952.
Prior to rejoining the OSRUI team, Solly worked as a management consultant advising some of the world’s best-known companies on business strategy. He previously worked for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) in multiple roles. His time at the URJ included stints in Washington D.C. at the Religious Action Center (RAC), and in New York City leading the planning and implementation of the URJ’s largest programs for adults and youth.
A native Midwesterner, Solly has a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business. He was named to the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago’s list of “36 under 36” in 2018.
During the summer, Solly can frequently be found encouraging a camper as they try something new, playing basketball with a group of kids, or helping to lead a campfire song session with his guitar.
Reach out to Solly to connect, share feedback about camp, and to be a part of sustaining OSRUI for the future.
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.
Reach out to Susan with questions about OSRUI camp scholarships (we call them camperships) and summer staff positions.
Alexandra believes that camp has the power to create transformative life experiences while building for a strong Jewish future. As Director of Development, Alexandra passionately works with all stake holders in our community to create meaningful opportunities for their involvement and investment in OSRUI.
Born in Poland and raised in the Chicago area, Alexandra graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She was the Assistant Director of the Women’s Division of the Jewish United Fund and then the Director of Development at The Cove School, a school for children with learning disabilities. At Cove, she focused on increasing the school’s annual giving, major gifts, marketing and PR efforts. She created community partnerships, a corporate sponsorship campaign, and young professionals’ board.
Most recently she was the Associate Director of the Midwest Region of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where she focused on major gifts, volunteer engagement and events.
Alexandra first attended (and felt the magic of) OSRUI 25 years ago. It was through camp that she met her husband Darin, also an OSRUI alum. They are now proud parents of 3 happy OSRUI campers.
Reach out to Alex with questions about major gifts, the capital campaign for Heichal HaTarbut Kaye (the Kaye Cultural Center), OSRUI’s annual campaign, and alumni relations.
Dylan has been a member of the OSRUI community since 2004 when he began as a camper. He has since been a summer staff member and unit head. Dylan loves being part of the OSRUI community and being able to spend his summers in Oconomowoc. He grew up in Deerfield, Illinois and graduated from the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities with degrees in Business and Marketing Education, Jewish Studies, and Hebrew. During his senior year, Dylan served as the student president of Minnesota Hillel, creating dynamic programming and working to engage students in Jewish life on campus.
After graduating, Dylan worked in Bloomington, Indiana, as a Springboard Innovation Fellow at Indiana University Hillel. While there, he worked to further students’ connections to Judaism, helped them develop as leaders, and created a warm and welcoming Jewish environment. He also had the opportunity to teach two college credit courses about Jewish Cooking and Jewish Leadership. Dylan is looking forward to making each summer unforgettable for campers and staff alike.
Reach out to Dylan with questions about the summer staff application, camp programming, and social media.
Naomi has been active in the OSRUI and NFTY community as a camper, NFTY-CAR president, unit head of Kallah, and now as the NFTY-CAR Regional Director and OSRUI Assistant Director. She believes that Jewish summer camp and youth group are places and communities that allow kids to find their voice, develop lifelong and meaningful relationships, and discover their Jewish identities.
Prior to joining the OSRUI and NFTY team, Naomi worked at Temple Jeremiah in Northfield, IL as the Youth and Family Engagement Director and oversaw youth group programs for kids 0-18. Naomi was also the Youth Group Director at Temple Beth El in Madison, WI. Naomi spent a year after high school in Israel studying Jewish leadership in youth movements and has a wealth of experience with informal Jewish education.
Naomi grew up in Oak Park, and received her BA in Jewish Studies and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago.
Reach out to Naomi with questions about NFTY Chicago Area Region programs and events, and how to continue the magic of OSRUI year-round.
Denise Heimlich Email Denise
Denise is responsible for marketing, advertising, & communications and she works with Alex in development as well. She spent several years as the OSRUI registrar, building relationships with families, and she now enjoys developing relationships with donors, alumni and friends of camp. A former camper and staff member, her very first job at camp was working in the office while a member of the Avodah Corps. Denise was also a camper and staff parent. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and worked in marketing and communications before joining the OSRUI full-time staff.
Reach out to Denise with questions about marketing and communications, as well as general questions about donations and tributes.
Rachel grew up attending URJ’s Goldman Union Camp Institute in Zionsville, Indiana. She spent each summer from 2001-2014 at camp as a camper, counselor, and leadership staff member. After graduating from Indiana University with a BS in Arts Management and Telecommunications, she moved to New York City. While there, Rachel served as the Events Administrator on the North American Events team at the Union for Reform Judaism. She worked on the registration, logistics, and customer experience for all professional development events, creating relationships with the participants as well as the staff members whose events she helped facilitate. Rachel is thrilled to have the opportunity to join the OSRUI community, utilize her camping experience, and, as a native of Columbus, Ohio, is excited to be back inthe Midwest.
Reach out to Rachel with questions about camper registration as well as registration for all of OSRUI’s year-round programs (such as Family Camp, Shabbat Shira, Hava Nashira Songleading Workshop, etc.)
JoAnn has served as the OSRUI Business Manager for almost 30 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 working with the OSRUI Campership program to make sure that every child has the opportunity to attend camp.
Reach out to JoAnn with questions about your camper’s account or accounts payable.
Geoff brings with him extensive experience at several congregations. Before joining the OSRUI professional staff, he served as the Executive Director and Director of Education at Shir Hadash Synagogue in Wheeling, IL. He was one of only a handful in the country serving in this specific dual role capacity. He holds a joint degree in Jewish Studies and Studio Arts from the University of Minnesota. While living in Los Angeles, he continued his education at Hebrew Union College where he received a Certificate in Synagogue Management.
During his 20+ years in synagogue life and Jewish Education, Geoff has served in a variety of roles, including; Director of Education at Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Religious School Principal at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, NFTY Northern Regional Director and Director of Informal Education at Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnesota. He is affiliated locally and nationally with both the ARJE (formerly National Association of Temple Educators) and NATA (National Association of Temple Administrators).
Geoff is thrilled to be part of the OSRUI professional staff in this new capacity. He’s a longtime member of the camp community, having been on staff for several years, and is currently a faculty member and camper parent. He’s the proud father of two children, and while both are under the age of 9, Geoff is confident that they already have a love of OSRUI.
Reach out to Geoff with questions about hosting your next event or retreat at OSRUI.
Debbie works in conjunction with the OSRUI professional staff year-round, and in the summer leads the OSRUI Camper Care team, which helps problem solve camper concerns as they arise by working with campers, staff, and parents. Originally from Toronto, Debbie grew up as a camper, counselor and unit head at OSRUI. She holds a Master; Degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Social Worker. When she’s not at camp, Debbie works at Relate Counseling Center in Minnesota as an outpatient therapist for kids, adolescents and adults. Debbie brings years of experience working with all ages in a range of settings. She lives in Minnetonka, MN, with her husband, Rabbi David Locketz, and their two daughters, who are both current OSRUI campers.
Reach out to Debbie with questions about how we can accommodate your camper’s needs during the summer.
For more than three decades Joe has cared for the buildings and grounds at camp as if they were his own. Each week he and his staff prepare camp to welcome our retreat guests and before the summer they ensure that every building and activity area is ready for campers. Joe also oversees construction projects, working with lay leaders as well as the architects and builders. Joe’s wife Katie also worked at camp for many years, as did their children.
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.
Jerry Kaye served as the director of OSRUI for 48 summers, from 1970 through 2017. Jerry is truly a visionary; he oversaw the camp’s expansion during that time, both physically and programmatically. He continues to offer his expertise during this transition as we welcome Solly as the next OSRUI director.
Jerry has authored numerous works relating to Jewish education, self-esteem and youth. He has consulted to communities and congregations throughout North America and presented programs on Jewish content for children, adults and families alike. Jerry received many awards during his distinguished career, including being recognized as the Alexander Dushkin Distinguished Educator by the Chicago Board of Jewish Education being 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. He is the Emmy nominated former host and moderator of Sanctuary, a Chicago television series focused on Jewish communal issues.
Jerry is best known, though, as a gifted storyteller. Thousands of campers and staff share memories of the lights dimming during Shabbat Shira, the music quieting, and Jerry walking to the center of the circle to share one of his beautiful and meaningful stories.