Executive Leadership Institute - Foundation for Jewish Camp
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Executive Leadership Institute

Camp directors work year-round, confronting challenges and dealing with issues a mayor of a town might meet, including overseeing multi-million dollar budgets, hiring and supervising a staff of several hundred, managing communications, supervising physical sites, working with a boards of directors, initiating new programs, and much more.

The Executive Leadership Institute (ELI), generously funded by the Marcus Foundation, provides seasoned professionals in the field of Jewish camp with the business, management, and leadership skills required to enrich their camps and compete in the summer marketplace.

Following its third cycle, ELI has graduated 51 elite camp leaders, and is characterized as an executive MBA program for the 21st-century camp director.


The ELI III Cohort celebrated the completion of their program at their last session together in December of 2012 in Boca Raton, FL. They were awarded with certificates of completion and were addressed by Lee Weiss, Jeremy Fingerman, and co-Founder of Home Depot and CEO of the Marcus Foundation, Mr. Bernie Marcus. Mr. Marcus was also presented with a plaque to thank the Marcus Foundation for 6 years of support to ELI, and Ab Flatt was presented with a gift to thank him for his service to the board.

Congratulations to the following 15 camp directors who graduated from the third cohort of ELI, which ended winter 2012:

  • Toby Ayash, Pinemere Camp, JCCA, Stroudsburg, PA
  • Adam Benmoise, Habonim Dror Camp Na’aleh, Habonim Dror, Bainbridge, NY
  • Ben Davis, Camp Livingston, JCCA, Bennington, IN
  • Melissa Frey, URJ Camp Kutz, URJ, Warwick, NY
  • Noah Gallagher, Camp Young Judaea Midwest, Young Judaea, Waupaca, WI
  • Steve Gerard, Camp Mountain Chai, JCCA, Angelus Oaks, CA
  • Terri Grossman, Camp Sabra, JCCA, Rocky Mount, MO
  • Anne Hope, Herzl Camp, Independent, Webster, WI
  • Josh Levine, Camp Alonim, American Jewish University, Brandeis, CA
  • Molly Lourie-Butter, Camp Tel Noar, Cohen Camps, Hampstead, NH
  • Sam Perlin, Camp Solomon Schechter, Independent, Olympia, WA
  • Sarah Raful Winston, Camp Poyntelle-Lewis Village, UJA-Federation of New York, Poyntelle, PA
  • Ronni Saltzman Guttin, Camp JORI, Independent, Wakefield, RI
  • Ken Shifman, Camp Avoda, Independent, Middleboro, MA
  • Lewis Sohinki, B’nai B’rith Perlman Camp, B’nai B’rith, Lake Como, PA

The camp directors who made up the first two ELI cohorts tout the benefits they and their camps received from this intensive professional development program:

“Our master planning process is in full motion between camp professionals and our board, which has already resulted in achieving independence from the camp’s former sponsoring organization. It also enabled the camp to raise nearly $2 million in a capital funds and the ability to welcome an additional 100 campers.”

-Michelle Koplan, Director, B’nai B’rith Camp, Neotsu, OR

“ELI training provided the tools and tactics to create and oversee lay committees that offer strategic oversight and development, ensuring my new camp’s success and sustainability.”

-David Berkman, Director of URJ Camp Kalsman Arlington, WA

“ELI’s public speaking training, including improving physical stance, eye contact, pacing, and intonation is one of the small yet important new communication skills directors walk away with. On recruitment visits, I’m now able to clearly communicate camp’s mission and history, introducing brand-new families to camp.”

-Michael Wolf, Director of Camp Ramah in Canada Utterson, ON