At CSS, we aim to be the premier outdoor adventure and educational program on the west coast, and we know just the guy to help us get there! We are thrilled to announce that Josh Lake of Outdoor Jewish Adventures will be our 2021 Teva Director! We can’t wait for our campers to explore the great outdoors with him this summer!
Upon completing his Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1997, Josh headed to the Northwest for the first time to work as the Teva specialist at Camp Solomon Schechter. It proved very fruitful, as the Teva/nature program at camp had been dormant for years. At Schechter, Josh revived the Mt. Rainier Oded trip, took the 10th graders camping, and created fun, meaningful and interesting Teva chuggim (nature programs) for the Aleph, Bet, and Gimmel campers. From meditation to meeting trees, campers learned about nature and how we, as Jews, relate to the natural world. Schechter was Josh’s first opportunity to create his vision of making nature a Jewish classroom.
After leaving Schechter, Josh helped to create the Shalom Nature Center at Camp JCA Shalom in Southern California. There he infused programs with the skills and pedagogy he learned and refined at Schechter while continuing to learn from campers, staff, and the natural world. After five years at the Shalom Nature Center, Josh started his own company, Outdoor Jewish Adventures, a company whose mission remains making nature a Jewish classroom.
Josh continues to evolve and to lead Jewish groups outdoors around the country. From canoeing Bar/Bat Mitzvah adventures, staff trainings, Jewish hiking and backpacking excursions, developing and writing curricula, and unique Bnai Mitzvah training, Josh continues to push his mission into new environments. In the summer of 2019 Josh developed a Teva curriculum uniquely for Schechter and trained the Teva staff to implement the curriculum.
Josh currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Tamar and their two daughters, Ayelet (a camper at Schechter and student at PJA) and Dov (a future camper at Schechter, as well as a current student at PJA), along with their dog, Stanley. In Portland, Josh is the chair of the Climate Action Committee of the JCRC, a part of the Jewish Federation of Portland. Josh has hiked, backpacked and biked around the Pacific Northwest and has summited numerous peaks in Washington and Oregon. Josh is excited to be part of the Schechter family again and is looking forward to a phenomenal future of dreaming about nature and Judaism together!