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Danny is thrilled to return to URJ Camp Newman, for the first time since 2017, this time in the capacity of Chef Manager. Danny first attended Newman as a camper and then moved up through staff position before attending culinary school and beginning his career in food. He has cooked for every type of operation imaginable, from fine dining restaurants to movie/TV productions. Most recently Danny started his own catering business, feeding groups including corporate events, bar mitzvahs, and intimate plated dinners, from San Francisco to New York and beyond. A warm gathering has always been the inspiration behind Danny’s food, making his new role at URJ Camp Newman an intuitive transition! The magic of camp requires nourishing and comforting fuel – and Danny is up for the task. When he’s not in the kitchen, you can usually find him with his wife Jenna, a Bay Area native and the newest Nefesh team member, or at the movies – where he will see almost anything coming out in theaters. See you at camp!
Director of Development
Originally from the Bay Area, Ariel is thrilled to be back home and joining the URJ West team. Prior to this role, she worked as a fundraising and marketing consultant for organizations focused on social impact, including non-profits, tech companies, and think tanks. Before that, she spent 5 years at BBYO working in fundraising and community engagement throughout the West Coast. She continues to be inspired by the URJ West Camp community. The impact that Newman and Kalsman have made on everyone who gets to experience our programs is exceedingly clear. She looks forward to working with our campers, our families, our community partners, and our funders in order to ensure a strong future for our West Coast camps!
Retreat Center Director
Martee has been working on the full-time team for Camp Newman since 2017. As the Retreat Center Director, she oversees the year-round business at our Porter Creek home, combining her passion for hospitality and camping to create unique and exceptional experiences for all who visit our site.
Before joining the full-time team, she began working for Camp Newman in the summers starting In 2015. Her roles included Dining Hall Manager, Development Associate, Logistics Director and full-time as the Logistics and Development Associate until recently. Martee played a critical role in managing the logistics of our summers at Newman By the Bay.
Growing up in the Chicago Suburbs, Martee was active in USY and attended Tamarack Camps in Michigan. She is a HUGE Chicago Bears fan. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois and In 2015, she received her Master’s in Hospitality Administration as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Director, Marketing & Communications
Rachel joined the Newman team in 2020 as the Associate Camp Director and is now excited to be in this expanded role, supporting both West Coast camps: Newman and Camp Kalsman. Rachel earned Masters in Jewish Non-Profit Management along with a Masters in Public Administration from USC and following graduate school, worked for BJE: Builders of Jewish Education and American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Los Angeles. In 2015, she was tapped to help open URJ 6 Points Sports Academy – CA where she served as one of the founding directors from 2016-2020.
She loves being back – giving back – where it all began in 2003 when she applied to be a counselor at Camp Swig having never attended a Jewish summer camp before. For the next three summers at Camp Newman, she served as Rosh Eidah (Unit Head) for Hagigah and Hevrah and then as Avodah Director in 2006. Rachel met her husband Rich at Camp Swig in 2003 and in the off-season they live in Austin, TX with their son, Jack, and dog, Boone.
Director of Year-Round Programs
Jordanna has been an Experiential Jewish Educator for 20 years. She earned Masters Degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Nonprofit Management from HUC-JIR in Los Angeles and has worked in museum education, family camping, adult education and summer camping. Jordanna has served as the Director of Camp Alonim, the Director of the LA Area Melton School, the Assistant Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR LA and the Director of URJ 6 Points West, formerly known as URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech West. She lives in LA with her husband, Aaron and teen twins, Reuben and Shira. She loves puzzles, upcycling t-shirts, reality TV and has a special talent for identifying Jelly Belly flavors.
Associate Camp Director
Jessie has been working in the field of youth and camping for over 15 years and attributes some of her most transformative experiences to Jewish camp. As a Southern California native, she spent her summers at Camp JCA Shalom in Malibu, then ventured across the country to attend URJ Kutz Camp. While new in this role, she’s excited to return to Porter Creek where she served as faculty for several summers while she was the educator at University Synagogue in Los Angeles. She comes to Newman most recently from Steve & Kate’s Camp, a secular day camp with locations all over the country. She has a BA in Jewish Studies from the University of Arizona (Bear Down!) and a Masters in Education from USC (Fight On!) and looks forward to March Madness every year. When she’s not at camp you can usually catch her at the dance studio or hanging with her family at Disneyland.
After a few years away, Rachel is excited to be returning to the world of Jewish summer camps as the URJ West Camp’s Marketing Associate. Rachel began attending Camp Newman in 2007 and continued on through Avodah 2015 and CIT 2016. Owing to the transformative experience she had as a camper, Rachel continued her camp journey as a staff member in 2017-18 and an Avodah advisor in 2019. Rachel is thrilled to be supporting Camp Newman and Camp Kalsman in creating the camp magic they are known for.
In 2021, Rachel graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a BA in Drama and a BS in Astronomy. She is currently living in California’s San Fernando Valley while pursuing a Masters of Music in Vocal Arts from California State University – Northridge.
A former camper and counselor at Camp Newman, Casey is thrilled to be joining the West Coast team to support both Camp Newman and Camp Kalsman as the Business Manager. Prior to this role, Casey was a high school counselor and math teacher. She is passionate about building confidence and resilience in young adults – something that so many campers gain from their summer experiences.
Casey is excited to be joining the Business Systems team and supporting camp behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly! In her free time, Casey enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, going on walks outside and cheering on the Texas Longhorns!
Lisa Kama began her journey with the URJ West Camps at Camp Newman in the summer of 2015, when she first came to camp to volunteer for a few weeks in the Welcome Center. As the years went by, she began spending more and more time at camp, until she joined the year-round team in the fall of 2021 as Administrator. Lisa grew up attending Jewish summer camps and never quite got enough of it, so being back at camp feels like the perfect fit.
Lisa lives in Pleasanton, California with her husband Alon and her two sons, Geffen and Mattan. She is active with Congregation Beth Emek and loves creating Jewish community wherever she goes. Lisa earned her undergraduate degree in sociology from Brandeis University and her graduate degree in social work from the University of Haifa. In her free time, Lisa loves jigsaw puzzles, reading, and traveling with her family.
Assistant Camp Director, Staff Engagement
Since 2003, Aviva dreamt of living “summertime forever” — and now that dream has come true! A Pittsburgh-er at heart, Aviva found her love of Judaism in the Pocono Mountains at URJ Camp Harlam. This passion grew at Muhlenberg College, where she majored in Jewish Studies and received her Prekindergarten – Fourth Grade Teaching Certification.
Aviva stretched her mid-western roots to the West Coast in 2018 to pursue a Dual Masters Degree at HUC’s Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management and USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She began her career as the Director of Member Engagement at Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park, Kansas. (Go Chiefs!)
When not eating s’mores or Israeli Dancing at Porter Creek, Aviva can be found biking to local farmers’ markets, watching competitive cooking shows, and frequenting The Container Store.
Carly Zenker joined the team in October of 2018 as our Development Associate, after graduating from Loyola Marymount University. As a former URJ camper, NFTYite, and past Newman staff member, Carly knows how much of an impact camp can have on the lives of Jewish young people everywhere. She credits her Jewish camping experience in her youth for helping her to develop her passions for community, Judaism, leadership, and nature. She loves working for camp and getting involved in the diverse Bay Area Jewish community. As someone who moved around a lot as a child, Carly also knows the importance of having a place like camp to call home, and she is grateful to be part of Camp Newman’s story. When she’s not hard at work at her desk thanking camp’s supporters, applying for grants, diving into Salesforce, and working behind the scenes, she spends her time creating Judaism-inspired artwork, playing with her puppy Bandit and his favorite toys, enjoying time in nature and cooking delicious food.
Assistant Retreat Center Director
A.C. joined the team in August of 2021 as Assistant Camp Director. Prior to his time with us, he gained significant experience in informal Jewish education having spent many summers as a Sports Director, Logistics Manager, and Assistant Director for Camp Newman, 6 Points Sports Academy-CA, and Kutz Camp, respectively. He grew up in the Reform movement from his early summers at Camp Newman to serving as President on NFTY SOCAL Regional Board. Upon graduating High School, he served as a youth group advisor and program directors for congregations and JCCs throughout California, Colorado and New York.
A.C. received his B.S. in Sports & Recreation Management from Concordia University. He has a deep love of sports, tv/movies, and anything related to zoos and aquariums.
A.C. is pumped to bring his energy and creativity back to the place that has played such a big part in his life. He is also lucky enough to be able to call camp home 365 days a year as he lives on site in Santa Rosa, California.
Executive Director, CA Youth & Camping
Ari Vared – a former Camp Swig and Newman camper, NFTY participant, staff member and camp director – is the Executive Director of California Camps and Youth. In this leadership role, Ari will help grow the impact and elevate the enriching experiences we provide to thousands of children and teens.
In Ari’s words, “To say I am beyond excited to rejoin the URJ family and work with the incredible teams at Camp Newman and 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy West is an understatement. One of the many blessings of camp and NFTY is that we are steeped in legacy and tradition and yet start anew each year. There is so much goodness to be created and I am hopeful for the future we will build together.”
Rabbi Allie oversees all of Camp Newman’s year-round and summer operations, and directly supports Camp Newman’s Associate and Senior Assistant Directors. She brings over 18 years of experience as a Jewish professional to this position. She believes in the power of Jewish camp to inspire a love of Judaism, allow campers and staff alike to believe in themselves, and to become their best selves.
Rabbi Allie joined the Camp Newman community in 2012 as a Rosh Eidah (Unit Head) and has since filled the roles of CIT Director, Staff Week Coordinator and from 2014-2018, Associate Director. She has been a songleader and teacher in the Chicago suburbs and the Los Angeles Reform Jewish communities since 2000. In 2012, Allie was earned a Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and was ordained as Rabbi by HUC-JIR in May 2015. She lives in the East Bay with her husband, Lane, their children, Jude the Dude and Baby JoJo, and their pup, Maggie.
Senior Assistant Director, Community Engagement
Growing up in Southern California, Rachel was raised with a love of Jewish experiential learning and sunshine. She is a proud alumna of URJ Kutz Camp, URJ Camp Newman, and NFTY SOCAL. Rachel is a firm believer in the power of summer camp and credits an integral part of her Jewish identity to her summers spent at URJ camps‒where she spent significant time both as a participant and senior staff member, specifically in the realm of camper care and inclusion. Rachel holds a B.S. in Human Development from UC Davis (Go Aggies!) and was very active at her campus Hillel. After participating in a MASA Israel program and working in a variety of Jewish educational programs in the greater LA area, Rachel earned a Master’s in Jewish Education at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College. Upon graduation, Rachel continued her flourishing career in Jewish educational spaces, including Builders of Jewish Education, NFTY SOCAL, Temple Israel of Hollywood and, most recently, as the Senior Assistant Director of 6 Points West Specialty camp. She currently serves as a part-time educator for Moishe House and Foundation for Jewish Camp. Rachel looks forward to bringing her passion for Jewish teachable moments, accessibility, and experiential education to the Camp Newman community!