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May 17, 2019
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After an exhaustive search spanning multiple continents and dozens of Rabbinical schools and Jewish institutions of higher learning, CSS has finally found it’s dream Jewish Life and Learning Professional, Ilana Lipman! But wait, there is more! Ilana’s husband, Matthew, is also an inspiring Jewish educator, and he will be joining our staff as well! And as if that weren’t enough, they will be joined by their four wonderful children. We cannot wait to welcome the entire Lipman family to camp this summer! Check out their introduction letter below.

Shalom CSS Family,

We are all super excited to be joining you all at CSS this summer. We have heard so much about the ruach, the fun, and the wonderful people at CSS. We are looking forward to being part of this special place. We live in Modi’in, Israel which is half way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Our family loves hiking, going to the beach, and having family workouts together!!

Ilana is joining the senior staff at CSS as Jewish Life and Learning Professional. Ilana hails from NJ (Exit 4!!), grew up in Young Judaea camps, currently is the principal of an online Jewish day school, and after camp ends will be going back to school to train as an English teacher. Ilana’s favorite ice cream flavor is Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, and her favorite TV show is Shtisel.\

Matthew is originally from London, England. He loves practicing his American accent, but most Americans tell him it isn’t very good!! Matthew is an Israel Educator and works in several gap year programs teaching students about Zionism, Israeli history, politics, and culture. He is an avid soccer (but he calls it football) fan and enjoys listening to 90’s pop music while running through the streets of Modi’in.

Both Ilana and Matthew earned their Masters degree in Jewish education from Hebrew University as well as certificates of advanced Jewish text study from the Pardes Institute of Jewish studies. Before immigrating to Israel, they taught Jewish Text, Study, and Practice at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, MD.

We can’t wait to introduce our four children to the American sleep-away camp experience. Noa is 11, learning for her Bat Mitzvah and is an active member of our local tzofim (scouts) chapter. Matan is 9, a dedicated tree climber and an expert stick collector. Adiel is 6 and will be joining Katan and some of the 2nd grade activities too. Don’t tell anyone but his alter ego is really Iron Man!! Neomi will have just turned three when they arrive to camp. She will be bring a selection of her baby dolls to camp with her.

Wishing everyone a great end of the school year and see you in a short few weeks at CSS.


February 12, 2019
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Kevin joins the Camp Solomon Schechter/Stampfer Retreat Center family with over a decade of experience in public engagement, brand development, marketing, and customer service. Since 2010, when he began an internship at California Wolf Center (a wolf education, conservation, and research facility located in the mountains east of San Diego, California), Kevin has been passionate about protecting and promoting natural beauty and outdoor experiences.

After his internship and three years as Education & Outreach Coordinator for California Wolf Center, Kevin was lured to western Washington by its natural splendor and purchased 5 acres on the Arcadia Peninsula, near Shelton. Since arriving in Washington in 2013, he has served as Campaign Coordinator for Murrelet Survival Project, a collaborative campaign created to protect critical nesting habitat for the endangered marbled murrelet, and as Community Engagement Coordinator for Mason Conservation District. In addition to his professional work, Kevin founded and led a grassroots movement called Shelton To The Top in 2016 and 2017, which worked with Shelton community members, groups, businesses, and local government to remove over 250,000 pounds of trash from illegal dump sites, abandoned homeless camps, and derelict properties in the greater Shelton area.

“People have a certain expectation of what it means to visit or live in the Pacific Northwest- bountiful forests, clean water, and an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities- and I’m committed to matching the reality to those expectations. I’m thrilled to be able to spend my days at Camp Solomon Schechter/Stampfer Retreat Center and help spread the word about all it has to offer!”


February 11, 2019
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This week we honor an individual who has done so much for our camp community, despite never having attended Schechter as a camper or counselor. Rabbi Jonathan Infeld is the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in Vancouver, BC. Rabbi Infeld is married to Lissa Weinberger, who serves as camp’s Maschgicha (kosher authority) during the summer. Rabbi and Lissa send their three children Avishai, Yair and Naomi to camp as well! During the summer Rabbi Infeld can be found telling Shabbat stories, teaching Jewish values, playing with campers… He even won a dance-off in the chadar ochel (dining hall)! Rabbi Infeld truly embodies the camp ruach (spirit).

In addition to being a great advocate for CSS in Vancouver, Rabbi Infeld makes time every week to skype with camp leadership and review Jewish texts and liturgy. Rabbi Infeld is an inspiring storyteller, a committed Jewish educator, and a true friend of Camp Solomon Schechter. Without further ado, here is our spotlight on Rabbi Infeld!

CSS: How long have you been involved with Schechter?

Rabbi Infeld: Lissa and I, along with our two boys (Naomi had not yet been born), came to camp a few weeks after we arrived in Vancouver in 2006 for a USY Kinnus convention. Then of course we were at CSS the following summer.  We have tried to make it to camp almost every summer since then.  Some summers we have been at camp for just a few days. Other summers we have had the blessing of spending a number of weeks at camp.

We have come as parents of our children Avishai, Yair, and Naomi.  Lissa has worked as the Maschgicha.  I have come as both the Rabbi of Beth Israel in Vancouver and served as a Rabbi-in-residence at camp.

CSS: What do you love about spending time at camp?

Rabbi Infeld: I love having an opportunity to spend meaningful time with my family, congregants, and Jewish children from around the Pacific Northwest in a Jewish utopia. I love seeing Jewish children excited to be in such a wonderful environment that enriches their Jewish knowledge and identity. I love working with great staff who are dedicated to our children!

CSS: What is your favorite memory from your time at camp?

Rabbi Infeld: Playing Gaga on Shabbat.

CSS: We recently announced our 2019 summer theme, Jewish Superheroes! Can you tell us about a hero of yours, and why they mean so much to you?

Rabbi Infeld: Solomon Schechter is my favourite Jewish hero. We named our camp after him for a good reason. He was an adventurer, risk taker, organizer, innovator and scholar. These are great attributes for a person to have.

CSS: What is your favorite camp meal?

Rabbi Infeld: I love camp breakfast. There is nothing like eggs, potatoes, and cottage cheese to get one through the day.

CSS: Tell us a fun fact that people might not know about you.

Rabbi Infeld: I met my wife Lissa in a parking lot at the University of Pennsylvania. We were both leaving an orientation program for students from the East Coast who were about to spend their junior year at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.


February 8, 2019
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Michaela joins the CSS team full time after having spent the last five years as a member of the summer staff.  She has held multiple roles including cabin counselor, T’fillah (Prayer) Specialist, and most recently, Judaics Lead. Over her years at camp, as a camper and staff member, Michaela has developed a true love for CSS.

Prior to joining the CSS team as Engagement Coordinator, Michaela studied at the University of Washington, where she graduated with a degree in International Studies: Jewish Studies in June 2018.  During her four years at UW, Michaela worked as a chapter advisor for United Synagogue Youth (USY) and, in her senior year, took on the role of Field Engagement Associate for USY’s Pacific Northwest region. Following her graduation, she continued to work for USY, and served as Youth Director at Herzl-Ner Tamid. Through these roles, she gained a deeper understanding of the Jewish youth experience in the Pacific Northwest as well as a passion for enriching the Jewish life and education of these youth through social experiences. Outside of work, you can find Michaela volunteering as a special needs cheer team coach, tutoring B’nai Mitzvah students, and playing with her dog Charlie.

Michaela is excited to bring her experience and knowledge to CSS where she hopes to continue to help create lasting memories for campers of all ages. When asked to share one of her own favorite memories, Michaela said, “During my first year on staff at Camp Solomon Schechter, I had a cabin of 5th grade girls. Many of them were new to camp and there was one camper who was particularly shy and hesitant to join the group. On the first Friday night, during Shabbat shira (singing), she started to come out of her shell because of the warm and welcoming community that was created in which everyone was welcome to freely celebrate their Judaism and be themselves. This was the moment I truly fell in love with Camp Solomon Schechter.”


February 5, 2019
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You may be wondering, “What’s Jewish about Superheroes?” Where to begin?! Forstarters, many of the DC and Marvel Superheroes were created by Jews (Superman, Batman, Captain America, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Jean-Grey, Iron Man… just to name a few). Many of the characters have expressly Jewish backgrounds and model Jewish values and practices (Fantastic Four’s The Thing even had a Bar Mitzvah in one comic). And, of course, we can’t forget Gal Gadot, a real life Wonder Woman!

But heroes aren’t simply confined to fictional books and movies. Jewish history is filled with courageous individuals and epic adventures. It’s hard to read about the wisdom of Solomon, the might of Deborah, the determination of Moses, or the courage of Hannah Senesh, and not think there was something “super” about them.

And there are the amazing and heroic acts that happen every day at Camp Solomon Schechter. Every time a camper pushes themselves to try something new, they display courage. Every time a camper learns a new skill or navigates a social situation independently they grow.

With so many avenues to explore within the theme of heroes, this summer is sure to be filled with inspiring lessons, fun educational projects, Jewish values, and young Jewish heroes-in-training! We will be releasing a series of posts on this summer theme over the next few weeks.

So stay tuned to find out which comic book heroes are Jewish, which Jewish heroes had extraordinary gifts, and how your camper will discover their inner Jewish hero at Camp Solomon Schechter this summer!


January 24, 2019
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One of the most crucial roles at camp is the Director of Camper Care. This Head Staff position oversees the social and emotional well-being of our campers. We are so fortunate to be welcoming back a longtime Schechter staff member and alumna, Michelle Danzig-Crandall to lead our Camper Care team and make sure our campers feel safe and happy while at camp! Check out Michelle’s message below.

Hello Schechter family! I’m looking forward to spending another summer at Camp SolomonSchechter. Every summer of my youth was spent at CSS. I have very fond memories of and adoration for camp. I would have to say my top 3 best memories are Ga Ga, Rafting, and Shabbat…evening programs are up there too! I’ve been on the CSS Camper Care Team in previous years and I’m excited to be coming back!
My professional life represents a mosaic of interests. I earned my Masters in Education from Gonzaga University (the one with the stellar basketball team) and my undergrad in psychology with an emphasis on adolescence. I went on to explore my love for Jewish Education, always adding a bissel of environmental experiential education to the mix. I did a tour as co-education director at the synagogue I grew up in, as well as having the opportunity to lead youth as a Kadima and USY advisor. More recent adventures include teaching a variety of subjects in Spokane Public Schools, as well as working for the Hawaii Department of Education. Currently, I reside on the beautiful island of Maui.
My professional interests include innovating organizational systems; effectively measuring performance, problems of practices and solutions through the lens of a humanistic perspective as well as facilitating meaningful youth leadership.
My personal interests include contemporary food issues (anything food related really), agricultural and environmental sustainability, natural health, and paddling. I also have an interest in the impact of mind, body, and spirit on overall health.
I am looking forward to the opportunity to reunite with the Schechter community, new and old, and help facilitate an amazing 2019 season!
See you this summer!
Michelle Danzig-Crandall

November 29, 2018
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Few people have dedicated as much of their time, energy, heart, blood, sweat, and tears, to Camp Solomon Schechter as Mike Schiller. Mike first arrived on the Schechter scene back in 1973 and he continues to be an integral part of the CSS community. Mike has dabbled in just about every aspect of camp life, first as a camper and Oded, and later as a kitchen staff, board member, Open House Chair, 60th Gala Chair, and camp parent. Mike’s two children, Karli and Marcus, worked at CSS last summer, and his family sponsored a cabin in honor of Mike’s mother, Babette Schiller, a longtime supporter of CSS (look for Bubbe’s Bunk on the boys side!). As if all that wasn’t enough, Mike just donated a new electric boat to camp last week, so we can get around our new aqua park more quickly. We sat down with Mike to find out why he has dedicated so much of his energy to supporting CSS.

CSS: How did your Schechter journey begin?

Mike: I started out as an Aleph camper back in 1973. Back then, there were certain age crossovers that made it possible to go for two sessions in one summer. I always went to two sessions when I could, as I had friends from multiple age groups. In fact, I was an Oded in 1980 and oddly stayed on after the Oded program ended and attended Gimmel session as a camper. That was a bit weird as I was friends with all the staff. But I didn’t want to miss out on time at camp!

In 1982, I worked as the camp cook (I didn’t plan meals, I just cooked them).  It was a hard summer as I was up at 5:00 AM everyday, and didn’t leave the kitchen until after evening dishes were done.

CSS: Wow! That sounds like a long day. I’m surprised you still wanted to give more time to CSS after that! When did you join the board?

Mike: I joined the board in 1991, and served for fifteen consecutive years. I left the board in 2016, and today I am just happy to be a camp parent, as both of my kids now work at camp. Karli was the Mental Health Professional at camp last summer, and Marcus was the Sports Director.

CSS: Tell us about a favorite memory or two from your years as a camper.

Mike: I loved just sitting on the hill and hanging out with friends. I also loved that moment when the bus first arrived at camp, and you would run down to the office to see what cabin you were in.

CSS: How has CSS impacted your life?

Mike: I found my Jewish identity at camp. It wasn’t about learning about Judaism, it was about immersing myself into Judaism. I didn’t love services, or some of the “classes”, but I did love being surrounded by Jewish youth from all over the region. Shabbat was special and the evening ruach sessions made me love and appreciate my culture. I am still extremely close with campers I met in 1973. Camp is and will always remain an important part of my life. (And I hope, some day, my grandkids’ lives!) Today, one of the Boy’s Side cabins is dedicated to my Mom. It will forever be Bubbe’s Bunk.

Thanks Mike and we can’t wait to see you at camp next summer!

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October 25, 2018
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This week we take a look at a truly beloved member of the community and champion of CSS, Karen Twain! Karen began her CSS journey at the age of eight, and never missed a year as a camper thereafter. Karen went on to be a counselor, sports director, board member, board president and camp parent! Karen is now in her eleventh year as a CSS board member. We are so grateful for her continued support, advice and ruach (spirit). We asked Karen to share some of her favorite memories of her time at CSS.

CSS: How did your CSS journey begin?

KT: My mom and dad decided to send me to Schechter when I was eight, which was the best parenting decision ever made! I won the Bible Quiz at Neveh Shalom (I think I answered one or two questions right) and received a small scholarship to go to camp. I never looked back. I went every year I could as a camper and then I was a counselor and the sports director.

CSS: What are some of your favorite memories from your camper years?

KT:  I loved the ruach sessions. I loved hearing the bell ring and running to the canteen for ice cream. And, of course, dominating on basketball courts and in the gaga pits!

CSS: Did you have a favorite staff member?

KT: I am eternally grateful to my mentor Rabbi Stampfer for having the vision for CSS – where Judaism and joy are one!

CSS: Now, as an alumni, board member and camp parent, what do you appreciate about your CSS journey?

KT: I had many life-changing events at CSS – my first kiss, learning to read Hebrew, having an impromptu Bat Mitzvah, becoming a leader, and establishing a lifelong community. My closest friends are from camp and we have remained tight-knit for over 40 years. We attend each others life events – births, b’nai mitzvot, weddings, funerals – and even an occasional road trip together. In fact, two of my best friends from camp were the witnesses at my wedding. After they signed the ketubah (before the actual ceremony), we broke into a ruach session that sounded like Shabbat at camp! My kids, Marian and Oliver, have gone to camp since they were eight years old and have recently been on staff. They have established the same kind of community that I had, and I love their friends and treat them as family. If you ask any of us “where’s your happy place?” We all say the same thing – CAMP SOLOMON SCHECHTER!

Thank you Karen, for your ruach and dedication to CSS. With people like you guiding our community, we know that Judaism and joy will be one for many years to come!  

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October 18, 2018
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Introducing Schechter Spotlight, a new series that takes a look at individuals who have been impacted by Camp Solomon Schechter, and who, in return, have left their mark on our community.

This week we are spotlighting Dan Brown of Vancouver, BC. While this Dan is not the famous author of the Da Vinci Code, he has his own rich storied history with CSS. Dan started his Schechter journey as an Aleph camper in 1989 and was a part of the Oded class of ‘95. He went on to work as a counselor for two summers, Waterfront Supervisor, Head Staff, and, as of 2018, joined the CSS Board of Directors. We asked Dan to share some of his favorite memories of his time at CSS.

CSS: What’s your favorite memory as a camper?

DB: I have fond memories of Chef Al “The Kook” Bragga announcing that we’d be having lasagna for dinner. He would serve it on big metal trays right on the floor and the counselors would dish it up to campers from there. Right before he’d bring out the lasagna he’d shout, “It’s hot! Don’t step in it!”

CSS: We know lots of people have great memories of Al, and the famous lasagna dinners. We’d also like to add that we never serve anything off of the floor anymore! 

What’s your favorite memory as a staff member?

DB: One summer (around 1999), I painted my entire body red and rode a bike down the hill and off the end of the dock to kick off the water sports portion of Yom Sport. It’s probably still down there. Also we pulled off one of the most epic pranks one summer, where we moved Ben Sadeh’s car into the dining hall and set it up as a cabin’s table for breakfast.

CSS: Any other fun facts you’d like to share?

DB: Executive Director Zach Duitch and I were in the same cabin together in my very first year at camp, Aleph 1989. To this day, almost thirty years later, I’m still good friends with five of the ten members of that cabin. Also, I played the role of the Chehalis Rebbe for the first time this past summer. After being away from CSS for years, I found I could jump right back in!

Well Dan, we’re sure glad you jumped back in! And thanks for being the guinea pig in our new Schechter Spotlight series.

Check out the photo slideshow below! 

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October 9, 2018
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Bissel (bisl) – Noun: A little bit.

E.g. “I only speak a bissel of Yiddish.”

Now that we’ve finished our Yiddish lesson for the day, we are excited to tell you about a new overnight program at Camp Solomon Schechter — A Bissel of SchechterA Bissel of Schechter is a two-day, one-night Shabbaton, for current 1st-4th graders. Prospective and returning campers are invited to come down to camp to meet our amazing camp staff, play gaga, create art projects, sample a variety of sports activities, braid challah, celebrate Shabbat, eat in our new dining hall, sleep in our comfortable cabins, and sing and dance the night away! A Bissel of Schechter packs the magic of camp into two days!

The program will begin as campers board buses with our staff members and travel down to camp on Friday afternoon. Campers will meet the counselors, take a tour of camp, make new friends, and play lots of games. We’ll enjoy bringing in Shabbat together with singing and a delicious meal of Schechter’s famous matzah ball soup, fresh challah, chicken, rice, veggies, and a vegetarian option as well. Saturday will be packed with fun camp programs like a nature hike, boating, scavenger hunt, games and sports.

We invite A Bissel of Schechter families to join us Saturday late afternoon for a family program, dinner, and a moving havdalah service before we say goodbye! Parents will need to pick their campers up, as transportation will only be offered to camp.

Registration: If you have a child who has attended a Camp Solomon Schechter summer program before, you will login to your same CampInTouch account (if you forgot your password, there will be an option to reset it). Select “A Bissel of Schechter” as the session, and continue with the application. Questions? Give us a call at 206-447-1967.

Cost: $118 per participant, which covers transportation from the Bellevue/Seattle area or Portland area to camp and all meals and programs throughout the weekend, plus A Bissel of Schechter T-shirt! To discuss transportation options from other areas, please contact Carolyn, Camp Registrar at 206-447-1967 or by email.

This year A Bissel of Schechter will take place on March 1-2, 2019. See you there!

Register Today!


Questions About Camp Solomon Schechter? Get in touch!