Reform Movement Selects 25 Camp Leaders and 25 Congregations for Service Corps to Engage Jewish Youth

October 7, 2013, New York, NY - The camping movement of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)announced recently the selection of 25 camp staff members and 25 host congregations for theiryear-round URJ Service Corps program

The URJ Service Corps program engages young camp staff and alumni to apply their experience, talents, and skills to create experiential, camp-style programming for families and youth in synagogue communities around the country. Working in partnership with the National Ramah Commission, the program seeks, over three years, to have a total of 80 young adult educators engaged in part-time youth leadership roles in Conservative and Reform communities throughout North America, working actively to recruit for camp and to help energize the communities they serve through innovative, inspiring, and immersive Jewish programming.

The URJ Service Corps initiative builds upon the successful model of the Ramah Service Corps, funded by the Foundation for Jewish Camp and begun in 2010 with support from a Covenant Foundation Ignition Grant. Ramah and the URJ Camps share administration, logistical and developmental aspects of the program, while maintaining individual supervision over their own Service Corps participants.

The first cohort of Service Corps fellows include:

Camp Coleman Arielle Johnson
Camp Coleman Kara Hoffman
Crane Lake Camp Sarah Levkoff
Eisner Camp Sarah Gurvis
Camp George Rebekah Houpt
Goldman Union-Camp Institute Alec Lybik
Goldman Union-Camp Institute Josh Kleymeyer
Goldman Union-Camp Institute Michael Levy
Greene Family Camp Jennifer Luskey
Greene Family Camp Samantha Berezowsky
Greene Family Camp Sarah Beth Gordon
Camp Harlam Jillian Cogan
Camp Harlam Marnie Lang
Camp Harlam Beryl Trauth-Jurman
Camp Harlam Caitlin Brazner
Camp Harlam Jillian Comer
Jacobs Camp Julia Solomon
Jacobs Camp Nicole Mackey
Camp Kalsman Megan Brumer
Camp Newman Brandon Brown
Camp Newman Brandon Binder
Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute Micah Brandhandler
Kutz Camp
Jacob Levine
Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute Benjamin Goldberg

Fellows must have spent a minimum of two summers working at a URJ Camp and will be encouraged to work at a URJ Camp in summer 2014. Fellows will work a minimum of four hours weekly at a host synagogue organizing URJ Camps-style programs, creating opportunities for young URJ Camps alumni in local communities to connect, reaching out to prospective URJ Camps families, maintaining relationships with current URJ Camp families in the synagogue, and assisting with local URJ Camps recruitment efforts. Each Fellow will be mentored by an experienced Jewish professional and will participate in training sessions via webinar and at a conference at Ramah California in January 2014.

“These 25 exceptional leaders and congregations will lead the way in engaging communities in camp-style experiential learning,” said URJ Director of Camping and Israel Programs Paul Reichenbach. “And Service Corps participants will be more likely to continue down their career paths in the Jewish community – providing us with excellent leaders for the future.”

Twenty-five host synagogues were also selected for the program including:

Congregation Ahavath Chesed Jacksonville, FL
Tree of Life Congregation Columbia, SC
Temple Israel New York City
Temple Shir Tikva Wayland, MA
Temple Anshe Sholom Hamilton, ON, Canada
Temple Shir Shalom West Bloomfield, Michigan
Isaac M. Wise Temple Cincinnati, Ohio
Rockdale Temple Cincinnati, OH
Temple Beth Shalom Austin, Texas
Temple Sinai Houston, TX
Temple Israel Tulsa, OK
Adath Emanu-El Mt Laurel, NJ
Temple David Monroeville, PA
Northen Virginia Hebrew Congregation Reston, VA
Temple Micah Washington, DC
Temple Sinai Washington DC
Temple Emanu-El Birmingham, AL
Temple Israel Memphis, TN
Temple Beth Am Seattle, WA
Congregation Rodef Sholom San Rafael, CA
Congregation Shomrei Torah Santa Rosa, CA
Lakeside Congregation Highland Park, IL
Temple Beth Emeth Ann Arbor, MI
Temple Beth Israel Skokie Illinois

These congregations have appointed a supervisor for each Fellow, to provide ongoing support for the work they will be doing within the congregation and community. In addition to the training provided to the Fellows, the program will bring together the host congregations to create a “community of practice” through which they can share best practices in the field. Synagogues also agreed to provide $2,500 in scholarship funds for campers to attend URJ Camps. The URJ Camps will provide a matching grant of $2,500.

For more information, visit:

Lisa David

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