Risa Epstein | National Executive Director
My history with Canadian Young Judaea starts many years ago when I was eight years old and my parents put me on the bus to Camp Shalom. It is hard to believe that was almost 38 years ago. I am happy to say that I went right through the system and spent five years on staff, 3 at Camp Solelim and 2 as Program Director of Camp Biluim Canada. It was at Biluim Canada in 1986 where I met my husband Amir to whom I have been happily married for over 25 years. As history often repeats itself my three daughters Annie, Fay and Ellie have also enjoyed being active members of CYJ. My oldest daughter Annie is studying to become a teacher while running CYJ’s JOLTs, Fay will be a second year staff at Camp Solelim this coming summer, and Ellie will be attening Camp Biluim. I am an honors graduate majoring in English Literature and continued my studies in my late 30’s doing graduate work in Holocaust and Genocide studies. For over 20 years I have been National Executive Director of CYJ and for over 10 years the Director of Camp Solelim. I enjoy every moment I have the opportunity to educate young people on Judaism and Israel. Chazak V’ematz.
Jennifer Levy | Camps Administrator
I was born and raised in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and there I spent many wonderful years involved in Habonim. After moving to Canada and settling in Thornhill I found Canadian Young Judaea and it became my second family.
I have worked at CYJ as the Solelim and Biluim Canada Administrator for over 15 years and joined the Camp Solelim team as Assistant Director in 2003. My children spent many wonderful years at Camp Kinneret-Biluim, Camp Solelim, and Biluim Israel.
Fern Kachuck |Program Director
I was born into a house where camp was more than just a way to spend my summers, it was a way of life, and a household rule – you went to camp, no questions asked. When I was 8 years old, we loaded up the car with my duffel bags, and headed to the buses where I was off to spend my first summer at camp. I started out at Camp Shalom as a Junior, and went on to spend my summers at Camp Solelim, Camp Biluim, and finally finished off my years as a camper on Biluim Israel.
I am now going on year number 14 in the system. I will be returning this summer as a fifth year staff at Camp Solelim. At Camp Solelim you might know me as the camp photographer and Head of Social Media. I help to run everything from twitter to instagram to Facebook and the website!
Because camp during the summer wasn’t enough for me, I’ve found my camp-sickness cure by working for CYJ. This year I took on the role of CYJ’s Program Director which means you’ll find me running programs such as JOLT, Mifgash, Kinus and helping out at Shorashim Programs whenever I get the chance!
I am currently in my fourth year at Ryerson University finishing up a degree in Photography.
Agnes Epstein | Israel Program Administrator
I was born and raised in Krakow, Poland and moved to Canada in the 1990’s.
I have been working for Canadian Young Judaea for 8 years as the Biluim Israel Administrator. My two beautiful daughters have attended CYJ since they started their journey at Camp Shalom. My oldest daughter Lailah, was a first year staff at Camp Shalom this past summer, while my youngest daughter Rachel has just finished her Post summer at Camp Solelim and will be going to Camp Biluim Canada this coming summer. Both my daughters have always been extremely involved in Junior Programming, JOLT, Youth Council, and even Alternative Winter Break.
Rebecca Haimovitz | Biluim Israel Director
My name is Rebecca Haimovitz, I have grown up in Toronto and luckily have been to Israel about a dozen times, if not more. This will be my 4th as the Camp Director. I worked at Camp Solelim (in Sudbury, Ontario) for 5 summers and Camp Shalom (Gravenhurst, Ontario) for 1 summer. I was a camper in the CYJ system from the age of 7 to 17. On top of my commitment to Biluim Israel, I am teaching grade 4 part time at Eitz Chaim in Toronto.
As you can imagine, I am very familiar with how the CYJ system works and aware of the demands and needs of teenagers today. Biluim Israel is a very special and unique program – an opportunity of a lifetime. It is the culmination of your camping years and the summers spent with your chevra. Spending four weeks in Israel touring the sites, learning about the country’s history, participating in Tikkun Olam activities with both new and old faces creates memories that will last a lifetime.
Jess Bronstein | Junior Programs
My camp obsession began as a Junior in 1999 when I attended camp shalom for the first time. It was that summer that I was introduced to the world of Maccabiah, Mifkad, chugs, and of course cinnamon buns on Saturday mornings. I was hooked. I habitually counted down the days to my summers at Camp Shalom, followed by those at Camp Solelim, Camp Biluim and Biluim Israel.
After 10 incredibly memorable summers as a camper, I returned to Camp Shalom where I spent five years as Ski Staff, Seniors Unit Head, Assistant Program Director and Program Director.
During the year I work with other CYJ staff to plan fun, engaging and educational programs for our campers. These programs offer campers the opportunity to experience “camp in the city”, reconnect with camp friends and make new friends. It is the ultimate cure for those who are “camp-sick”, I promise!
Aside from my involvement with CYJ, I graduated from The University of Western Ontario with an Honours Specialization in Media, Information and Technoculture, I have completed a post-graduate degree at The Humber College Business School in Marketing Management Studies and I am currently studying Culinary Arts at George Brown College.
Adam Shulman | Camp Shalom Director
In 1990, Driving Miss Daisy won the Academy Award for Best Picture, but it was a silver Greyhound bus that drove Mr. Adam to his first summer at Camp Shalom. I spent 5 amazing summers on the shores of Lake Muskoka before graduating to the senior and leadership arms of the CYJ movement (Biluim 1997). Summer 1998 was spent touring our homeland with Biluim Israel to camp off my camper years.
The Best Picture winner of 1999 was Shakespeare in Love, but my new love was the job of camp counsellor. I was fortunate enough to be selected to join the Camp Kinneret tzevet, of which I was a part for 7 summers, including 3 as the Program Director. In 2006, Camp Shalom came calling and I was selected to be the Camp Director of the place where it all began. Entering my tenth year in the position, I am proud of all the camp has accomplished and know that there are even more great things in store for our campers, staff, alumni and their families.
Camp Shalom is still as special a place as it was when I first began, and now I am ecstatic to share it with my wife Heather, son Emmett and (hopefully) all of you!