Meet our Team

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Rabbi Allie Fischman

Camp Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

Andy (A.C.) Swedlove

Assistant Retreat Center Director

Pronouns: He/Him/His

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.

Ari Vared

Executive Director, CA Youth & Camping

Pronouns: He/Him/His

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.

Ariel Kurland

Director of Development

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

Aviva Symons

Assistant Camp Director, Staff Engagement

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

Carly Zenker

Development Manager

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers 

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.

Casey Gore

Business Manager

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

Danny Robinow


Pronouns: He/Him/His
Email Coming Soon

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.

Jessie Shamout

Associate Camp Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

Jordanna Flores

Director of Year-Round Programs

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers  

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.

Kim Press


Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kim Press joined the year-round staff as Registrar in 2016, after volunteering at Newman during the summer for many years. Kim’s son Micah and daughter Jamie grew up at Newman between 2005 and 2017, so Kim was a Newman parent for a very long time!  Kim and her husband Marc live in San Rafael and are very active members of Congregation Rodef Sholom. When Kim isn’t busy answering parent questions about registration, scholarships, and all things camp-related, she likes to run, row, bake, and read.

Lisa Kama


Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

Matt Ghan

Assistant Director of Retreat Services

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Matthew is very excited to join the full time team as he started his camp journey as a camp. He is originally from San Jose and attended Chapman University studying Communications Studies. Prior to this role, Matt served on the URJ’s Camping & Immersives team supporting all of youth programs, including camps, NFTY and Israel programs. In his free time he enjoys cooking and traveling.

Martee Fischman

Retreat Center Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

Osmar Palafox

Facilities Manager

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Osmar has been part of the camp community since 2006 when he joined the maintenance team and, as of 2020, serves as the Facilities Manager. For almost two decades Osmar has cared for the buildings and grounds at camp as if they were his own. He also assists in construction projects, working with lay leaders as well as architects and builders. When not at camp, Osmar can be found working on side projects and spending quality time with his family.

Rachel Dubowe

Senior Assistant Director, Community Engagement

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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 Mellman

Marketing Associate

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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 K. Slaton

Director, Marketing & Communications

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Rachel has been a part of the URJ West Camps team since 2016, as the Associate Director for 6 Points Sports – CA from 2016-2020 as well as for Camp Newman until 2022. She is excited to now be supporting both West Coast camps, Newman and Kalsman, as the Director of Marketing and Communications. 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.