Chief Executive Officer
Rabbi David Soloff was the Director of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin from 1975-2009. A graduate of Brandeis University, he earned a master of arts and was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1974. Rabbi Soloff is the Co-Chair of the Midwest Jewish Camp Directors’ Association. He is a past president of the Chicago Region Jewish Educators’ Assembly and the Chicago Rabbinical Assembly and former chair of the Education Committee of Chicagoland Jewish High School.
Jacob Cytryn is a lifetime Ramahnik and has been a camper and participant in Ramah Seminar Plus.
A member of the year-round staff since January of 2007, Jacob previously served as Assistant Director, Program Director, a Rosh Eidah, Counselor, and Teacher. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, Jacob is an advanced Ph.D. student in Jewish Studies and Education in the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University.
He has an MA in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary, a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and has studied in Israel at the Hebrew University, the Conservative Yeshiva, and the Hartman Institute. Jacob, his wife Tamar and their three sons live in Chicago.
Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Adina has been a part of the Camp Ramah in Wisconsin community since 2001, including numerous summers as a camper and counselor as well as two summers as a Rosh Aidah. Most recently, Adina worked in the Sales/Marketing department at The Advisory Board Company in Washington DC, in the health care research division. Adina has spent time working as a Blueprint Teaching Fellow in St. Louis, and as a volunteer mentor with the Higher Achievement Program in Washington, DC. She holds a BA from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied Political Science and Jewish/Near Eastern Studies and is an alumna of the Nativ College Leadership Program.
Director of Operations
Scott Topal is the Director of Operations of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and Ramah Day Camp. In this capacity, Scott is responsible for the finances and operations of both camps. Prior to his work with Ramah Wisconsin, Scott worked for seven-and-a-half years with Accenture as a management consulting manager. He has led teams and advised global financial, pharmaceutical and government clients to leverage new technology, launch new internal departments and improve operational efficiency.
Scott is a native New Yorker and lifelong summer camp enthusiast. He graduated from Northwestern University where he studied learning & organizational change and business institutions by day and served as president of Hillel by night. He has a longtime connection to Ramah, having spent five summers at Camp Ramah in Nyack as a counselor, s'gan (assistant) rosh eidah, assistant director of communications and program director – focusing on logistics, risk management and operations.
Director of Institutional Advancement
A former Ramah Wisconsin camper (Nivonim 1970), Linda and her husband Michael lived in Israel in the 1970’s and 1980’s. When they returned to the United States they settled in Skokie, Illinois, with their three sons, Ilan, Jon and Noam.
Linda earned a degree in Hebrew Language Education from Spertus College in Chicago. While in Israel she worked at Bar Ilan University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. Back in the U.S., she worked in the travel industry for 10 years.
Linda joined the year-round Ramah staff as Development Director in 1997. She is very proud to be a part of a development team made up of lay leaders and professionals who give generously of their energy and resources to support Ramah’s mission. Linda and Michael are active members of the Skokie Egalitarian Minyan and they are proud grandparents of seven current/future Ramahniks.
Chief Development Officer
Sam joined the year-round team in January 2014. Previously, Sam had served for two terms on the Ramah Wisconsin Committee and had been co-chair of Development with Dan Blumenthal on the Ramah Wisconsin Executive Committee. Professionally Sam brings a wealth of development experience most recently serving as the Midwest Deputy Director for AIPAC where he managed an annual campaign of $14M across nine Midwest states. Sam spent four years at Ramah Wisconsin as a camper and seven on staff including several as a Rosh Aidah. Sam met his wife Sarah Ettinger (Nivo ‘98) at camp, and they now have three children.
Paulina has been a familiar face in our dining halls since she first came to camp as a member of our International Staff in 2009. Originally from Poland, Paulina grew up near Warsaw, and found her way to Ramah through a European summer program that gives students the opportunity to work and travel in the United States while on vacation from university. In December 2013 she graduated from the University of Warsaw with a Master’s Degree in International Management. She moved to Chicago in 2014 and recently completed an 18-month internship doing special projects in the year-round Ramah office. Paulina lives in Chicago with her husband, Michael.
Originally from Hungary, Emese came to work at Ramah thanks to a student cultural exchange program. She spent four unforgettable summers on staff and Ramah became her second home. Emese recently graduated as an economist from the University of Szeged in Hungary. She is currently doing a year-long marketing internship program at the Ramah office in Chicago. Fun fact: Emese, her two sisters and her brother are quadruplets!
Gal first came to camp in 2008 as the first shaliach to coach basketball at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. He has played many roles at camp since then, including sports staff, Rosh Sport, Ramah Israel Seminar counselor, Rosh Mishlachat and yoetz (staff trainer). Gal met his wife Adi at camp, and they bring their two children with them. Gal has a B.Ed in special education from Levinsky College in Tel Aviv and he works at a behavioral high school as a class manager.
Camper Intake Coordinator
Yael comes to Ramah Wisconsin from the Sager Solomon Schechter Day School in Northbrook, Illinois, where she was the Team Leader for Judaic Studies/Hebrew Academic Support in grades 5-8. A Toronto native, she is an alumna of Camp Ramah in Canada where she was a long-time camper and staff member, including serving as the Rosh Eidah for the Tikvah program and the Tikvah Director.
Yael earned a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Toronto with a second major in Jewish Studies as well as a Master’s Degree in General and Special Education from Bank Street College. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, she previously taught in Solomon Schechter schools in the suburbs of New York City and Philadelphia.
Yael lives in Highland Park with her husband, Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, and their three children, Adin (Garinim), Orli and Shaiya.
Twin Cities Ramah Representative
Barrie Orloff joined the Ramah year-round staff in September 2011. After several years as a camper (Nivonim 1985), staff member and parent of current campers, she is thrilled to be a part of the Ramah team! Barrie graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1991 with a BS degree in Education. During the school year, Barrie also works at the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School.
Barrie lives in Golden Valley, Minnesota with her husband, Steven (Nivonim 1982) and her three children, Sam (Nivonim 2015), Danielle (Nivonim 2017) and Noah (Machon).
Elisa is a Kansas City native and works year-round for Ramah. She has been part of our medical staff for over 20 years. She graduated from Research Medical Center College of Nursing.
Elisa is the Health Coordinator for the Jewish Community campus and Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy in Overland Park, Kansas.
Food Services Manager/Head Chef
From Louisville, Kentucky, Joe has been part of the Ramah staff for many years. He received a BA in English at the University of Louisville and studied Culinary Arts at Sullivan University. Joe and his wife Christina have two children.
Ann Lesley joined the year-round staff in December 2010 after spending many years as a camper (Nivonim 1996) and staff member. She spent several summers working with the Tikvah and Atzmayim programs, as well as several summers as the website photographer and blogger.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and BA in Music and English from Lake Forest College. Ann Lesley lives in Buffalo Grove, Illinois with her husband Scott (also Nivonim 1996) and their four children, Liana (Solelim), Gillian (Halutzim), Asher (Ruach Ramah) and Amira.
Parent Liaison/Alumni Coordinator/Family Camp Director
Robin Rosenbaum Rubenstein brings tremendous energy and warmth to her position as she keeps 60 years worth of Ramahniks connected to camp through email, special events, and visits to camp. She is excited to be working for Ramah since she was a camper for 6 years (Nivonim ’90), attended Israel Seminar (’91) as well as a staff member working as a junior counselor and counselor. After being away for several years, Robin returned to camp in 2000 and has worked in various positions as her husband served as a visiting rabbinic educator.
Robin is originally from suburban Chicago. She graduated from the Joint Program of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University in 1996 with degrees in Talmud and Political Science. Robin currently lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan with her husband Steven and her children, Ari (Nivonim 2017) and Tali (Bogrim).
Director of Special Needs Programming
A veteran Ramahnik, Ralph worked in the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah Palmer from 1977-1982. He directed the Breira Program at Ramah Berkshires from 2002-2005.
A graduate of Brooklyn College with a degree in Special Education, Ralph also earned a Masters in Social Work from Hunter College.
Shaina joined Ramah in winter 2012. She grew up in Milwaukee, WI and later moved to Chicago. Shaina graduated from the University of Michigan in 2004 with a degree in Film and Video Studies.
After returning to Chicago with her husband, Brad (Nivo ’98), she attended The French Pastry School. Shaina currently lives in Evanston with her family.
Reshet Ramah Chicago Coordinator
Elana was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and spent 8 summers at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, 6 as a camper and 2 staff. She currently sits on the Ramah Day Camp Advisory board, and sends her 3 kids to the Ramah Day Camp and Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Elana has extensive experience organizing fundraisers and planning events that bring Jewish families together for Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago. Elana has a B.A. in Hospitality Business from at Michigan State University and lives in Chicago with her husband Jason, and 3 children, Noah, Sydney and Nathan. She is excited to bring her expertise in event planning to creating programs for Ramah Alumni and their families.
Jennifer joined the year-round staff in 2017. She was a camper (Nivonim 1994) and summer staff member for many summers. She earned her BA and MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and spent seven years as a youth director in Chicago and Minneapolis. Jennifer currently lives in Minneapolis with her husband Jeremy and their three children, Yoni (Halutzim), Noah (Ruach Ramah) and Eliana.