Solly Kane, Director
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 is excited to work with the OSRUI professional staff, 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.
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 Solly 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, and their son George.
Jerry Kaye, Emeritus Director
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.
Alexandra Argentar, Director of Development
Alexandra joined the staff in June 2017, bringing with her significant experience in fundraising and development. She has helped further the development efforts of several non-profits, including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and The Cove School in Northbrook. Alex also has strong ties to OSRUI, as a staff alum and camper mom.
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 more than 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 working with the OSRUI Campership program to make sure that every child 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.