A Special Message from Ruben: From Strength to StrengthPosted on May 23rd, 2018
“Do you know why you are the luckiest campers in the world?!”
With full ruach (spirit), I have shouted out this question to our campers at our all-camp welcome every opening day for the past 24 years. I cannot wait to welcome our 2018 summer camp community with this same ruach and to witness the friendships, growth, spirit, love, laughter, miracles, and joy of Camp. My answer to this question about the luckiest campers is always: “Because you have the most amazing staff in the world!” – followed by 200 staff joyfully singing, Haveinu Shalom Alechem.
Three of these amazing staff are Camp Director Rabbi Erin Mason, Associate Director Rabbi Allie Fischman, and Senior Assistant Director Mikey Latner. After this summer, Rabbi Allie will be promoted to Camp Director, and Rabbi Erin and Mikey will be transitioning to new chapters in their lives. I am honored and blessed to serve with Erin, Allie and Mikey to create this historic #NewmanbytheBay for summer 2018!
After eight years of stellar leadership, Erin will be passing the directorship to Allie this September. Since Erin recruited Allie to join our full time professional team in 2014, she has provided Allie with the training and mentorship to lead Camp Newman. Throughout this summer, Erin will continue to partner and support Allie as she assumes her new role. In the meantime, Erin will be preparing to assume a leadership role at the Houston, Texas, JCC, which recruited Erin for her talents. This role also marks Erin’s return to her home state, which her family will now call home. Mikey will be returning to his hometown of Los Angeles to begin a new chapter with his wife Sasha and, of course, their beloved pooch Laika. :*)
Erin, Allie and Mikey are alumnus of the URJ camping, youth and NFTY families. I’m so proud of how the URJ nurtures professionals to apply their passions and abilities not just within our own community, but to serve our local, national, international Jewish communities.
Please join me in wishing Erin, Allie and Mikey a tremendous MAZEL TOV and Todah Rabah (thank you)!
I am so grateful to work and partner with amazing professionals and to be able to evolve from strength to strength. See you all at Camp very soon. You can read words from Erin, Allie and Mikey below.
It is with bittersweet emotions that I share with you that beginning in September, I will begin the next chapter in my career as the new Chief Program Officer at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center in Houston, Texas. Although I was not looking to leave Camp Newman, when this position presented itself, it just seemed besheret – meant to be – for me and my family. This is actually a homecoming for me – I grew up in Houston and spent many years at this JCC as a child, and last September had the opportunity to support their Hurricane Harvey Houston Day Camp. My Jewish identity was forged in Houston as an active member in my congregation and as a camper at URJ Greene Family Camp. My husband, Mike, and I are excited to take the strong foundation we have built here in the Bay Area with us to the vibrant Jewish community in Houston.
I am thrilled that Rabbi Allie Fischman will be your next Camp Director. Since Rabbi Allie’s first summer as a Rosh Eidah at Newman in 2012, her spark of light has permeated all those around her. She has always had the instincts of a camp director, along with compassion, tenacity, flexibility, patience, and eagerness to learn. As Associate Director, Rabbi Allie has worked diligently to connect with our congregations, staff, and camper families. She worked closely with me to implement our CARE philosophy toward greater inclusivity, and to guide our HUC intern in thinking intentionally about camper care. Rabbi Allie’s calm demeanor, creativity, and leadership will serve her well in this position. I am confident that she will continue to move Camp Newman forward.
I am so proud to have been part of the amazing holy community – kehilla kedosha – that is Camp Newman. I have been blessed to work with such a phenomenal leader, mentor and friend as Ruben, a board who cares so deeply about the mission of camp, and such a talented and committed full time team. We have learned, especially this year, that our strength lies within the amazing relationships that are forged at camp and through an amazing community of campers, staff, alumni, faculty, and families. I will take the lessons of love, learning, and v’ahavta l’reyacha kamocha – loving your neighbor as yourself – with me in this next step, along with the memories and friendships I’ve made.
This summer is indeed momentous, and I am overjoyed to remain at Camp Newman through the end of the summer. As we build a fantastic experience for our community at #NewmanbytheBay, Rabbi Allie and I will work closely together to ensure a smooth transition. We are excited for all that is in store. I look forward to seeing many of you at camp this summer.
I am honored, humbled, and excited to step into the role of Camp Director. It has been a privilege to learn from Rabbi Erin’s leadership. She has guided and mentored me to understand what it means to be a truly excellent camp director by embodying our CARE philosophy and leading with rachamim (compassion), kavod (respect), inclusivity, strength, and poise. I am excited for this opportunity to ensure the sustainability of the wonderful work we have completed as a team. I look forward to continuing to bring to this holy work my passion for camper care, staff appreciation, and weaving Judaism into the fabric of all we do at Camp Newman.
I’m grateful to continue to learn from Rabbi Erin through this summer and ensure a smooth transition in the fall. I feel blessed to follow in her footsteps and look forward to leading our talented and dedicated team to make Camp Newman’s mission come to life.
It’s a bittersweet moment for me to be moving on from Camp Newman. I am a life-long camp person, and Camp Newman is the third camp I’ve had the privilege of working at. One of my goals when I first came to camp was to learn more about what it takes to do camping at scale, and I’ve had an incredible time learning from members of every aspect of our community, from our retreat, summer, and office staff, to our site team, to the most important members of our organization: the kids.
I’m excited to be moving with my wife, Sasha, and my sidekick, Laika, to Los Angeles, where I hope to continue to contribute to the world and the mission of camp. I believe fully that what we do here matters, and what we are able to create for kids, how we are able to create space for them to learn, grow, play, and be who they are, has tangible, lasting effects for our community and our world.
This is a really important summer for us, if nothing else, to show that in many ways camp is always camp, no matter what. The site may be different, some of our staff has changed, but the heart of camp, of what it’s all about, does not change. So I’m stoked for another awesome summer at Camp Newman! I am very grateful to you all and for the opportunities that I’ve had here, and I hope that we can stay connected in the future around our shared mission.