Meet our Team
Our full-time team brings many diverse interests and specialties, but we all share a love for camp!
Retreats & Conferences
More information coming in January 2021 with availability starting Fall 2021!
Meet our Advisory board
The board forms the backbone of our camp. These dedicated volunteers give their time and expertise toward making Camp Newman the best it can be, working diligently to secure its future for generations to come. We are grateful for their support and leadership!
Michelle tandowsky, board chair
Michelle has brought her background in Marketing and Business to 30 years of community involvement. Her driving passions are her love for her family, dedication to strengthening the Jewish community, and providing compassionate care for others so her work has been primarily in three main areas: Jewish communal organizations, healing/spirituality and education (both public and Jewish).
Michelle currently chairs the URJ Camp Newman board and serves on the URJ North American and Bay Area Jewish Healing Center boards. She also provides end-of-life spiritual care to those on hospice, is working on community building with various organizations and studies religion and spirituality. Through the years, Michelle has also served on the Peninsula Temple Sholom board and its Executive and Personnel committees, started (with her husband) a division of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation, served on the Wornick Jewish Day School board of directors and was its first Middle School PTO chair, has held leadership positions on the parent advisory boards of all of her children’s elementary through high schools, and has been involved with AIPAC.
Originally from Detroit, Michelle got her business degree from the University of Michigan and then moved to California to work for Clorox, where she met her husband Keith. She and Keith have 3 adult sons, all of whom received religious school educations, were involved in temple youth groups (NFTY), traveled and studied abroad in Israel (EIE, now Heller High), and loved their summers at URJ Camp Newman. Michelle and Keith spend a good amount of time traveling, mostly to see their sons — and now a daughter-in-law, too — who are scattered around California and Europe.
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Barry Asin was appointed President of Staffing Industry Analysts in January 2010, with overall responsibility for the company’s strategy, operations and growth, both in the U.S. and globally. He has been with the company since 2003, most recently as Chief Analyst and Managing Executive, where he led the team responsible for SIA’s award-winning research and content. A leading authority on the staffing industry, contingent labor and contingent labor management issues, he is a frequent speaker at industry events and his expertise is quoted in major business and industry publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, Inc. Magazine, and USA Today, among others. Prior to joining SIA, Asin spent nearly 12 years as a senior executive at global staffing leader Adecco SA. Before Adecco, he held operations management positions with Pepsico, and he began his professional career with Andersen Consulting, the predecessor of Accenture. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard University and a B.S. in engineering from Princeton University.
His son Sam has attended Camp Newman for 11 years and enjoys being a counselor so that he can bring camp to the next generation. His daughter Julia attended Camp Newman for eight summers. Barry is happily married to Amy who also loves camp and joins him on our board.
Barry Brucker served twice as the Mayor of Beverly Hills, California. Barry grew up in Beverly Hills, attending Beverly Vista School and graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1975. He then received a Bachelor of Arts with honors in Business and Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon. He serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Independent Ink, a global manufacturer of printer ink.
In 1997, he was elected to the Beverly Hills Unified School District and he was reelected in 2001, serving two terms as school board president, in 1999 and 2003. In 2005, he was elected to the Beverly Hills City Council, and again in 2009. He served as Vice-Mayor in 2009 and 2010. He was elected as Mayor in 2008, and was reelected in 2011. After several years in city council and two terms as Mayor, Brucker decided to end a long fulfilling career with his ultimate decision to retire in 2012.
He serves as Vice President of the Beverly Hills Education Foundation. Previously, he served on the Board of Governors of Century City Hospital. He now serves on the Board of Directors of Friends of Sheba Hospital in Israel. He holds a black belt in karate. Married to Sue Brucker, also a board member, they have two children, Richard and Lauren. He volunteers at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills.
Sue Brucker is a Graphic Designer and Artist. Having always been involved in the creative process, in the summer of 2013, after a 25 year hiatus, Sue finally picked up the paintbrush and hasn’t put it down since. Currently, she has been creating one-of-a-kind, mixed media artwork. Inspired by color theory, Peter Max, Michael Lang, Jim Dine abstract, pop and modern art, she has been expressing and exploring her creative passion through a technique of sketching, painting, pouring, drizzling and carving. Her most recent work, “Heart on Fire”, was featured and sold at MusiCares’ (a partner of The Grammy Foundation and The Recording Academy) silent auction.
Married to Barry Brucker, former Mayor of Beverly Hills and also a board member, they have two children, Richard and Lauren. Sue has volunteered at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills and is on the Camp Newman Board and the URJ Board of Trustees.
Arlene Chernow is an Outreach Specialist in the Union for Reform Judaism’s Congregations Consulting Group. Arlene has worked in the field of URJ Reform Jewish Outreach and Membership since 1984. Reform Jewish Outreach is the groundbreaking part of the URJ that welcomes and integrates those who are new Judaism especially interfaith families and Jews-by–choice. Arlene is married to Judge Eli Chernow. Their three daughters were long-time campers and they are now the parents of Rabbi Mari Chernow, Rabbi Jordana Chernow-Reader and Rabbinic student Ilana Mills. Arlene is a member of our board and a proud member of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism, ensuring the future of camp.
Judge Eli Chernow, (Ret.) has been providing alternative dispute resolution services for civil, probate and family law matters in Southern California for over twenty years. Prior to becoming a full time mediator and arbitrator, Judge Chernow served on the bench of the Los Angeles Superior Court for sixteen years. Judge Chernow has experience in virtually all areas of civil and family law and specialty complex cases. Judge Chernow is a co-author of The Rutter Group’s California Practice Guide: Civil Trial & Evidence and lectures frequently for bar associations and other organizations. He is the author of numerous published articles on such topics as sanctions and expert witnesses, and is a former associate professor of law at USC Law Center, where he taught courses on evidence, corporations and environmental law. He is the current or former member of the Family and Juvenile Court Advisory Committee, Judicial Council of California; Executive Committee, Lawyers Conference, Judicial Division of the American Bar Association; Board Member: Regional, District and North American boards, Union for Reform Judaism (formerly Union of American Hebrew Congregations), North American Camp committee of Union for Reform Judaism, and Camp Newman.
Judge Eli Chernow is married to Arlene, who is also on the board. Their three daughters were long-time campers and they are now the parents of Rabbi Mari Chernow, Rabbi Jordana Chernow-Reader and Rabbinic student Ilana Mills. Eli is a member of a our board and a proud member of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism, ensuring the future of camp.
rabbi steven chester
Rabbi Steven Chester is a Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Sinai in Oakland, CA. Rabbi Chester retired in 2011 after 22 years on the bimah and 40 years in the rabbinate. Before coming to Temple Sinai in 1989, Rabbi Steven Chester served congregations in Jackson, Michigan (where he also served as prison chaplain for the Jewish prisoners of the State of Michigan) and Stockton, California. He has taught Hebrew at Jackson Community College, Bible at Spring Arbor College and Bible and Judaism at the University of the Pacific, where he was named Adjunct Professor in the Religious Studies Department. Rabbi Chester received a B.A. in History from UCLA (1965), a B.H.L. from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles (1967), a M.H.L. from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati (1971), and an honorary doctorate from HUC in 1996. He was ordained in 1971. His Rabbinic thesis was “Eli Wiesel: Rebbe for our Generation.”
Rabbi Chester is married to Leona. They were married in 1969 and have two children, Adam and Shira. Adam and his wife Keng are the parents of Rabbi and Leona’s granddaughters, Anna and Abigail. Rabbi Chester has been bringing Anna to Camp Newman since she was in preschool, and in 2015 plans to bring Abigail for the first time. Rabbi Chester is a proud member of the URJ Camp Newman board.
Bruce Cohen grew up in Orange County, CA, and attended Temple Beth Tikvah in Fullerton. As a youth he was a song leader, and a member of his temple youth group and SCFTY. Bruce was a camper (1977-79), CIT (1980), and Counselor (1981-82) at Camp Swig. Currently, Bruce is a Senior Partner with Kurt Salmon, an international management consulting firm. After studying at UC Berkeley and the University of Sussex in England, Bruce received his B.A. with highest honors from UC Berkeley in Political Economy of Industrial Societies. He started his career at Bain & Company, before moving to private equity for a few years. Since completing his M.B.A. at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, he has accumulated more than 20 years of consulting experience to private equity firms and corporations in retail/consumer industries. He is a senior advisor to his clients focused on due diligence and developing strategies to support profitable growth. His clients include private equity funds, manufacturers, distributors, operators, and retailers. Bruce is a member of the Board of Advisors, University of Wisconsin, Graduate School of Business and is a member of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. His wife Robyn is a fitness instructor. With 3 sports minded boys, Bruce enjoys coaching baseball and basketball for his kids. His kids, Zachary, Joshua, and Benjamin have all attended camp for several years and love it!
Marc 'Moshe' Dollinger
Moshe journeyed to Camp Swig as a Kallah camper in the summer of 1975 and has been coming back to Camp Swig and Camp Newman ever since. In the early 1980s, he served as a madrich (counselor) and was the 1985 boys CIT advisor. In the late 1980s, Moshe returned as a Rosh Eidah. In 1995, Moshe came back to Camp Swig as educational director during Ruben’s first summer. Since 1995, Moshe has helped Ruben and the camp in any way he could. Most recently, he has been honored to serve on the camp board and is a Charter member of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism. Outside of camp, Moshe uses the name Marc and serves as the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University. He is the author of Quest for Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern America (Princeton University Press, 2000) and co-editor, with Ava Kahn, of California Jews (Brandeis University Press, 2003). He is currently the Academic Affairs Vice President for Lehrhaus Judaica. He has served as Vice President of the board, San Francisco Bureau of Jewish Education and is the past President of Brandeis Hillel Day School. Moshe is married to Marci, who ran Camp Katan in the summer of 1995. They have two daughters, Rebecca and Shayna.
Marci’s first summer at Camp Swig was as the Camp Katan Director in the summer of 1995. She is married to Marc (Moshe) Dollinger, a long time Swig camper, who encouraged her to experience the joy of camping for herself. After that glorious summer in the mountains of Santa Cruz, she was hooked. The Dollinger family, including daughters Shayna and Rebecca, enjoy spending time at Camp Newman whenever possible. Marci is honored to serve on the scholarship committee of Camp Newman and on the camp board. Outside of camp, Marci loves to spend time traveling and visiting with family and friends. She is a newly retired teacher of Brandeis Marin day school and the proud Mom of two grown daughters. She volunteers in the community and serves on the boards of Jfcs and AABGU, is an alumnus of the Wexner Heritage program and looks forward to leaving a legacy of camping to future generations.
Susan Donner began her involvement in URJ Camping at Camp Swig in 1971 as a camper in Giborim. She was then a camper every summer culminating with being a CIT in ’79 and a counselor in ’80. Her passion for camp led to her father Conrad Donner’s membership on the Swig board in the ’70’s and ’80s. She and her husband Eric are also Charter Members of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism and their children Noah and Eliana are multi-year Camp Newman campers. Susan works as a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Woodland Hills, CA. She is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and a faculty member at the New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. Susan graduated from Harvard University, University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, UCLA’s Adult Psychiatric Residency, Cedars-Sinai’s Fellowship in Child and Family Psychiatry and the New Center for Psychoanalysis. She is a past president of the Southern California Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. She is a past and current member of national committees on Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis. Susan and Eric have been married for 23 years. Eric is a business attorney and partner at Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton in Los Angeles. Their son Noah will be starting college at Rensselaer (RPI) in New York in the fall and Eliana will, of course, be at Camp Newman this summer.
Julia Friedman grew up in Oakland, CA, where she attended Temple Sinai where her Rabbi and camp mentor, Rabbi Steven Chester always encouraged the importance of Jewish camping. Julia’s passion for camp and the camp community ranged from Bonim 1998 to being a Nefesh Coordinator in 2013, and now is thrilled to be serving on the Advisory Board. One of Julia’s current focus is to foster the camp connections wherever geographically people are; she enjoys hosting camp gatherings for Newman alum in NYC.
Julia is a social worker in NYC at a non-profit, Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO), that works to reduce recidivism by providing justice-involved 16-to-24 year old men education, emotional support, and employment opportunities. Julia directly correlates growing up at camp to why she works as a social worker.
Julia graduated from Drew University in 2013 with her B.A. in Sociology, and received her M.A. in Clinical Social Work in 2015 from NYU.
Jim Heeger, like his wife, Daryl, has been actively involved with the URJ camps for many years. Before becoming URJ Camp Newman Board Chair, Jim led the Master Plan Committee that developed the long-term vision for Camp Newman’s facilities and he chaired the Facilities Renovation Committee for the major renovations that preceded the Tubbs Fire. Jim has held a number of high tech senior management positions in Silicon Valley. He was President, CEO and Chairman of GreenRoad, an Israeli-founded technology company. Prior to GreenRoad he was President and CEO of PayCycle, held executive management positions at Adobe Systems and Intuit and was President and CEO of Fotiva. He earned an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and a BS in management from MIT.
Jim is active in the Jewish community in the Bay Area and is a Past President of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills and of Hillel at Stanford. He is currently serving as Vice Chair of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, Immediate Past Chair of Moishe House and current Board Chair of the San Francisco Jewish Federation. He is also a past officer of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Jim Heeger grew up in Sioux City, Iowa and spent his summers at Congregation Emanuel’s Camp Shwayder in the Colorado Rockies.
Jim and his wife, Daryl Messinger, have two sons who are “bi-coastal” alumni of both URJ Camp Swig/Camp Newman (California) as well as URJ Camp Eisner (Massachusetts). Adam attended Camp Newman for five summers and Camp Swig for one, and Robbie attended URJ Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, as a counselor and song leader where he met another counselor Rel Friedman to whom he is engaged. Daryl and Jim reside in Palo Alto and are both Charter members of the Camp Newman Legacy Society for Living Judaism.
rabbi doug kahn
Rabbi Douglas Kahn is the Executive Director Emeritus of the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Relations Council and the founder of BroadTent Consulting where he helps communities across the country on sensitive community relations and polarization issues. He joined the JCRC in 1982 and became Executive Director in 1989, a position he held until his retirement in June 2016. Doug serves on numerous boards including the Graduate Theological Union and the United Religions Initiative Foundation Board which he chairs, and most recently co-chaired with Michelle Tandowsky a national URJ Task Force to rebuild URJ Camp Newman, largely destroyed in a 2017 California wildfire. A fourth-generation San Franciscan and proud alumnus of Camp Swig, he has been honored by numerous organizations for his work.
Abi Karlin-Resnick joined the Camp Newman board in 2013. She was a camper, CIT, and counselor in the ’80s and ’90s, and is the second of three generations to attend Camp Saratoga/Swig/Newman. She has a background in fundraising and nonprofit management and is currently the Executive Director of Health Connected, an adolescent health organization in the Bay Area. She is passionate about ensuring that children have the opportunities to grow personally, culturally, and spiritually as she did during her nine years at Camp Swig.
rabbi stephanie kramer
Rabbi Stephanie Kramer is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Shomrei Torah, a reform congregation in Santa Rosa, California. During the 2017 Northern California Wildfires, Rabbi Kramer led the entire Sonoma County Jewish community with grace and dedication, earning her the moniker the “Fire Rabbi”. During the devastating fires Rabbi Kramer organized resources to help families in need and turned the temple into an evacuation center, a day camp, and a place for comfort. She worked to find temporary housing for congregants and others in the community who lost their homes. Fittingly, Rabbi Kramer also works in a group supporting rabbis through trauma and natural disasters.
Along with her daily pulpit responsibilities, Rabbi Kramer enjoys supporting the broader Jewish community through her work on a number of Boards and Committees including the Northern California Board of Rabbis Advisory Board, the IsraAID Global Rabbinical Council, the Sonoma County Jewish Leadership Council, and the Budget and Finance Committee for the Central Conference of American Rabbis and she is the Immediate past president of Sonoma Hillel.
Ordained at the Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion, Rabbi Kramer holds a Masters Degree in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College and a B. S. in Psychology from the University of Houston. She is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute, and is currently in the Clergy Leadership Incubator and in the inaugural an all female cohort, Voices for Good.
Rabbi Kramer’s writing has appeared in The Washington Post, eJewish Philanthropy, and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. She and her husband, Adam Kramer have two children, Micah and Noa.
Barbara Merino joined the Camp Newman Board as a liaison from the Women of Reform Judaism Pacific District Board. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she is a graduate of California State University, Northridge, with many summers spent as a counselor at Camp Roosevelt in Idyllwild California. She served as a Human Capital Manager with the Federal Government for 30 years. Her volunteer work included 13 years on the board of Directors of Congregation Rodef Sholom, including two years as President. Since retiring she has devoted most of her energies to the Women of Reform Judaism. She was president of her local sisterhood and still serves on its board. She has also been a member of the WRJ Pacific District Board for the last six years. Barbara’s daughter Susan adored Camp Swig as a camper, and spent one summer there as a counselor just before Newman was created. Barbara is committed to making the Camp Newman experience available to all who seek it, and to making Camp Newman the best it can be.
Daryl Messinger is the immediate past President of the URJ and a past chair of the Camp Newman Advisory Board. For the last three decades, she has actively participated in the Bay Area Jewish community in a number of leadership roles. She is a member of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation’s Endowment Committee, Executive Grants Committee and Board of Governors. In the past, she was president of the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, an officer of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and president of Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills. She participated in the Peninsula Wexner program in 2000. Within the Reform Movement, Daryl chairs the Reform Pension Board and serves on the Union for Reform Judaism’s Oversight Committee with lay responsibility for the Campaign for Youth Engagement. Daryl retired in 2009 after a career that spanned investment management, investor relations and corporate communications. Daryl’s first involvement with URJ camps was over 40 years ago when she was a camper at URJ Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in 1973 and then at Torah Corps at URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, New York, the following summer.
Daryl and and her husband, Jim Heeger, have two sons who are “bi-coastal” alumni of both URJ Camp Swig/Camp Newman (California) as well as URJ Camp Eisner (Massachusetts). Adam attended Camp Newman for five summers and Camp Swig for one, and Robbie attended URJ Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, as a counselor and song leader. Daryl and Jim reside in Palo Alto and are both Charter members of the Camp Newman Legacy Society for Living Judaism.
Born in Los Angeles (Ceders class of 1943), Frank spent 40 years in retail selling cameras then decided to retire and try his hand at real estate investments. He currently has some investments in Los Angeles and Arizona, primarily focusing on neighborhood shopping centers. Frank’s wife, Helen, works real hours and has an art gallery in Santa Monica. Frank was a SCFTY and NFTY officer in the early ’60s; he is currently a member of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills and Stephen S. Wise Temple where he has served on the board. In addition to his work on the camp board, Frank serves as the Board Chair of UCLA Hillel, and is the Chair of the Committee for Jewish Camping on the Los Angeles Federation Board. Frank has worked for several years now focusing on the ages between Bar Mitzvah and marriage. His interest is making sure there is a Jewish future in America and Israel. Frank married Helen, “we dated for 18 years, and thought it was Chai time.” They have three daughters and two granddaughters, as well as two dogs. Frank is a Camp Newman Board Member, Charter Member, and the founding Co-Chair of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism.
Raised in a Conservadox home in Cleveland, Debra has been a family law attorney for more than 30 years and is the principal of the Schoenberg Family Law Group, a boutique family law firm in San Francisco. She and her partner, Karen, together with their two kids, Benjamin and Mira, reside in Piedmont and are active in Temple Sinai. Both kids have attended Camp Newman for many years and as a result of their incredible experiences there, Debra is deeply committed to making Jewish camp accessible to all kids.
Debra has served on many not for profit Boards, has headed a number of successful capital campaigns and has chaired both Rabbinic and Cantorial search committees. In addition to the Camp Newman Board, Debra currently sits on the Regional Council for the New Israel Fund, the Corporate Council for Berkeley Rep as well as the boards for Temple Sinai, the San Francisco Bach Choir and Lava Mae.
Born and raised in Israel and moved to the USA in 2000. Relli grew up with clear Jewish identity but moving to the USA forced the family to find new ways to connect to the Jewish faith and what it means for them. Joined the reform community Relli and her family found a new modern connection to Jewish life and camp Newman has been an instrumental piece of it. Rellis children are campers at camp Newman and love it! Her commitment to camp comes with witnessing the importance of camp for her family. Relli is a floral artist focusing with focus on art as a healing power, a seeker of the truth as well as being passionate about building strong Jewish communities. To read Relli’s blog “A Parent’s Journey from Appreciating Camp Magic to Creating It” from when she taught Hagigah during Summer 2017, click here.
Deborah has a passion for serving the Jewish community. She serves on the Boards of Brandeis Marin, Jewish Family and Children’s Services and Jewish Community High School of the Bay. She is a member of the Executive Grants Committee for the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation, as well as various other Federation committees. Deborah is a past president for the Osher Marin JCC and a past Board member for Congregation Kol Shofar. She has four kids, Joshua, Rebecca, Jonathan and Jacob. Jonathan and Jacob were campers at Camp Newman and Rebecca was a counselor for two summers. Deborah loves being an ambassador for Camp Newman and is a member of the scholarship committee. She lives in Marin, is married to Larry, and spent 20 years working in market research.
Larry Stadtner is the Vice President and Principal of Sierra Electric, overseeing their business development and sales efforts. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in business administration and with over 20 years of experience in the electrical field, Larry brings comprehensive knowledge to strengthening relationships through client advocacy. He is responsible for championing Sierra Electric’s capabilities in the Bay Area marketplace and directs the company’s strategic sales planning in an ever changing market place. Larry, who is married to fellow board member at Deborah, is a Camp Newman Board Member.
Sandy grew up in Skokie IL and as a teen attended summer camp at Camp Chi in Wisconsin. This experience caused her to want to provide the same for her children. After marrying her husband Scott, she helped him build his business before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Together they moved to southern CA before finally settling in Las Vegas in 1992. After getting settled, they joined Congregation Ner Tamid and became very active. Sandy served three years as Sisterhood president and was a Board Member with the Women of Reform Judaism. She is also a former Board Member of the JCC of Southern Nevada. In addition to various committee assignments, she currently serves as a Trustee on the board of Congregation Ner Tamid. When her children were old enough, Megan and then Ben began attending Camp Newman. Megan spent 10 wonderful summers including Avodah, CIT (2007), and finally staff. Ben has been attending for 8 years and hopes to be a staff member. When asked to join the Camp Newman board, Sandy gladly joined. The effect that Jewish summer camp has had on her children is profound. Sandy wants to make sure camp is available for all children who WANT to attend. Hopefully, one day her grandchildren will be able to attend Camp Newman. Sandy and her husband Scott are Charter members of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism.
Eliot, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, is currently President and CEO of Kitchen Culture. He is the Founder and former Chairman of Two Chefs On A Roll. Two Chefs is a premier private label food manufacturer serving customers across the US as well as internationally.
Eliot and his wife Gale (who is also a Camp Newman Board member) are a great example of “East meets West.” Gale grew up in Palos Verdes located in sunny southern California while Eliot is a native of Boston, Mass. While neither one is a Jewish camping veteran, they both fell in love Camp Newman, where their daughter Rebecca has spent the past 10-plus summers, including Avodah and CIT (2008), and as a counselor. Eliot, Gale and Rebecca are members of Temple Beth El and Center in San Pedro where Eliot is the immediate Past President. Eliot is a proud Charter Members of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism and is also a Member of the North American Board of the Union for Reform Judaism.
Gale Swartz is recently retired as a Senior Manager in Systems Engineering for The Boeing Company’s Satellite Development Center in. She specialized in Spacecraft Systems Engineering and Operations that is presently supporting the development of the next generation GPS satellite constellation. Formerly a Senior Manager at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, she began as a Senior Systems Engineer at TRW Space and Technology Group.
Gale and her husband, Eliot (who is also a Camp Newman Board Member), are a great example of “East meets West.” Gale grew up in Palos Verdes located in sunny southern California while Eliot is a native of Boston, Mass. While neither one is a Jewish camping veteran, they both fell in love Camp Newman, where their daughter Rebecca has spent the past 10-plus summers, including Avodah and CIT (2008), and as a counselor. Gale, Eliot and Rebecca are members of Temple Beth El and Center in San Pedro. Gale is a former Torah School Teacher and is currently the Vice President of Education, and sings in the choir. Gale is the is the chair of the Camp Newman Annual Fund, and both Gale and Eliot are proud Members of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism.
Julie Otis Waltzer
The Founder and President of JW Special Events, Julie is a Former Associate of the Capital Group Companies. As a Texas native, Julie was sent off to the Saratoga hills without knowing she would gain her passion for Jewish Camping. It all began when she was a Bonim camper at Camp Swig in 1990. For the next 8 summers, Julie continued to spend her summers as a Camp Swig camper. In 1999, she was a Camp Newman CIT. As she climbed the Camp ladder, she became a counselor, staff member and was the Assistant Director for 2 years. Her love of camp led her to become a Charter Member of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism. Julie has spent several years giving life to our Alumni Committee and serving as its Chairperson. Julie is married to Ben Waltzer and they live in Austin, Texas with their two future campers, Noah and Addison.
Leslie Wasserman found herself at Camp Swig-Newman while growing up in Dallas, TX. Ever since her first summer in 1998, she knew that both camp and California were home. Leslie currently lives in Los Angeles and works in the entertainment industry, applying both her attention to detail and forward-thinking skills to the casting of film and tv. She enjoys being on the URJ Camp Newman advisory board, where she Co-Chairs the Alumni Committee and sat on the Executive Director Local Selection Committee. She loves getting camp alumnae together for reunions in LA and serendipitously running into old friends on the street.
Richard Wasserman and his wife, Tina, have been involved in URJ Camping since their daughter, Leslie, a 12-year camp alum, told them that they needed to reorder their priorities toward camp. His deep involvement with camp has led him to become the Vice Chairman of our Advisory Board and Charter Member of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism.
Richard has been involved in the Reform Movement for twenty years having served as a Trustee of Temple Emanu-El of Dallas, Vice-President of Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood, Overseer and Vice-Chair of the Cincinnati Board of Overseers of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and is the Vice Chairman of the Camp Newman Board. Richard is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and managing partner of Dallas Allergy Immunology, a private medical practice and research center. Prior to opening his practice, Wasserman was Chief of Allergy and Immunology in the Department of Pediatrics at Southwestern Medical School where he directed a research lab, taught medical and graduate students, directed the Pediatric Training Program and had a clinic for children with primary immunodeficiency. After graduating from Hobart College he trained at Mt Sinai School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the City University of New York (Ph.D.), the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School (M.D. and Cancer Immunology Fellowship), The University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (internship/residency/fellowship) and The Rockefeller University (fellowship in Immunology/Rheumatology). He has authored or co-authored more than 95 publications and supervised more than 100 FDA approved research studies.
Richard and his prom date, Tina, married two weeks after his college graduation. They both grew up in Conservative congregations and met at United Synagogue Youth events. Their children, Jonathan, 38, and Leslie, 27, were born in Dallas where the Wassermans have lived for more than 35 years. Jonathan is now a project manager for an international design firm and lives in Brooklyn. Leslie works in casting television and film in Los Angeles.
Tina Wasserman has a lifelong association with Jewish camping and youth groups. Growing up in a conservative synagogue she was involved in all aspects of the Jewish community and it’s regional youth group. She met her husband at a USY convention when they were in high school! Tina is the food columnist for Reform Judaism Magazine and the author of the URJ’s first comprehensive cookbook, Entree to Judaism. Because of the book, she is getting to meet members of Reform synagogues all across the country. She sees how important a sense of Jewish community is today to those congregants, and the necessity to foster that connection in our youth for the future. Jewish camping holds the key to enhancing this connection. This led her to becoming a Camp Newman Board member and a Charter Member of our Legacy Society for Living Judaism. Her daughter’s comment that, “Camp has had the biggest influence in my life…” initiated her involvement, along with her husband, in taking a closer look at the needs of Camp Newman. Visiting every summer from Dallas, gave Tina the understanding of what her daughter meant. Now, even though her daughter is out of college, Tina still makes the journey to work hard for the betterment of the camp and its campers. In past summers, Tina even taught cooking to campers and staff – Yummy!
Hilary Weisfeld spent ten years of her young life attending a Jewish sleepaway camp on the east coast, and credits that unforgettable experience with shaping her Jewish journey and identity. Her oldest daughter fell in love with Camp Newman in the same way – it becoming the largest part of her heart and soul – and through her, Hilary’s love of Jewish sleepaway camp reawakened. Hilary is so thrilled to be a part of the Camp Newman Board, to help inspire that camp love for current and future generations of Jewish kids.
Born and raised in New York, Hilary and her family moved to Silicon Valley in 2008 for “2-3 years max,” fell in love with the place and community and never left.
She graduated from Tufts University with a dual degree in Classical Studies and Art History, and spent the majority of her career working in Marketing, Publicity, Events, and the Arts.
After a 12-year hiatus to raise her two daughters, Hilary now works as the Quality Assurance Lead for a startup. She spends her free time volunteering for a variety of education, human rights and Jewish community organizations and serves on the Board of Directors of the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto. She was a two-term Communications Director for her daughters’ school PTA, and can often be found navigating a game of four square gone awry during yard duty or organizing a school event for the Middle School Parent Committee on which she sits.
Hilary enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, running, seeing movies, and spending as much time as possible with her family. She lives in Los Altos, CA with her husband (who makes her laugh more than anyone on the planet,) their two amazing daughters (for whom she is so grateful,) and no dog.
Rabbinic: Rabbi Paul Kipnes, Congregation Or Ami (Calabasas, CA)
Medical: Gregory Hirsch, MD and Roberta Bavin, DNP, CPNP
Camping movement glossary
As in all organizations, the Jewish Camping Movement has its share of acronyms and words that are camp specific. Below are some of the more common words and acronyms that will help you understand both our history and current operations.
ACA– American Camp Association is a community of camp professionals working to preserve, promote, and improve the camp experience.
Advisory Board– A group of lay leaders who provide guidance, fundraising assistance and support to Camp Newman and its leadership.
Avi Chai Foundation– is a private foundation endowed by Zalman C. Bernstein that is committed to the perpetuation of the Jewish people, Judaism, and the centrality of the State of Israel to the Jewish people.
FJC – Foundation for Jewish Camp – a public foundation dedicated solely to the Jewish overnight camp movement. Provides training and guidance to camps and financial assistance for campers.
Harold Grinspoon Foundation– established in 1993, is a philanthropic organization deeply committed to charitable giving, primarily in the Jewish world.
NAC – North American Camping – NAC is a unit of the URJ (formerly UAHC) that oversees the URJ’s 16 summer camps. The NAC sets policies, provides funding for operational support and training for staff.
NCCI – National Commission of Camp Institutes which was the forerunner of the NAC, this organization loosely oversaw the UAHC camps.
NFTY – National Federation of Temple Youth which was established in 1939 to serve the youth in Reform Congregations.
NFTYx– NFTYx is an open space for Jewish engagement, creativity, innovation, and community. Designed to support Reform Jewish teens in planning Jewish experiences for those within and beyond their social networks.
UAHC – Union of American Hebrew Congregations – established in 1873 as the umbrella group of Reform Congregations. (Now the URJ)
URJ – Union of Reform Judaism – the umbrella group of Reform Congregations. Name changed from UAHC in 2003. Reform congregations throughout North America are members of the URJ.