Meet Our Amazing Year-Round Staff!
Overnight Camp in Palmer:
Rabbi Ed Gelb, C.E.O. — Rabbi Ed Gelb has been the director of Camp Ramah in New England since September of 2005. Ed joined CRNE after a successful five-year tenure as director of Camp Alonim, which is affiliated with the Brandeis Bardin Institute in California. Raised in Wyoming, Ed is a longtime Ramahnik, having served on the staffs of Ramah California and Ramah Canada for many years. Prior to becoming director of Camp Alonim, Ed was a teacher, administrator and basketball coach at Yeshiva University High School in Los Angeles. Ed received his ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism and graduated from UCLA with a BA in History. He lives in Sharon, Massachusetts with his wife, Tami, and their children, Yoni, Emma, Tova and Zachary.
Josh Edelglass, Assistant Director — Josh Edelglass has been spending his summers at Camp Ramah in New England since 1987, and he began working on staff in the summer of 1995. Josh graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1999. He joined the year-round team in 2000, and has been the Assistant Director since the spring of 2011. Josh has worked on the faculty of Prozdor Hebrew High School, Temple Aliyah in Needham, Temple Israel in Natick, Tifereth Israel in Andover, Temple Emanu-El in Haverhill, and Congregation Kehillath Israel in Brookline. Somehow, on top of living and breathing Camp Ramah, Josh continues to work as a freelance illustrator, and to write about movies, TV shows, and lots more at his web-site: www.MotionPicturesComics.com. He lives in Medfield, Massachusetts with his wife, Stephanie, and their children Tahlia and Reya.
Ed Pletman, Director of Finance and Operations — Ed Pletman has been our Director of Finance and Operations since 2012. Prior to that, he spent 18 years at the JCC’s of Greater Boston as a camp director, director of camping services, and branch JCC director. He directed Camp Tevya, a co-ed Jewish overnight camp in southern New Hampshire. Before joining our year-round team, he spent six years in the planning dept of CJP of Greater Boston, working on experiential education and Jewish camping.
Rhonda Parker, Development and Campaign Director — Rhonda Parker has been Camp Ramah’s Director of Development for the past decade. A proud alumna of “old school” Ramah in the 1970s, she continues to like to swim across the agam (lake). Rhonda lives in Sharon, MA with her husband Steve Binney. Their daughters Hannah and Sarah are proud Ramah alumni.
Talya Kalender, Director of Camper Care — Talya Kalender, and her family, have been connected to the various Ramah camps and programs for three generations. Talya has a degree in education from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and she and her husband met as Rashei Kevutza (group leaders) on Ramah Israel Seminar. Residents of Fairfax, VA, their three children were (and are) Ramah-Palmer campers and staff members.
Marggi Shechanah, Registrar/Office Manager — Prior to joining the Ramah team in January 2013, Marggi worked as an MSW, a certified life coach, and an administrative assistant. As her background also contains 18 years teaching part-time Hebrew school, 10 years working in Jewish day camps (including as a waterfront director and director), and 8 years advising temple youth groups, Ramah was a logical next step to combine the various elements of her eclectic career. Marggi is also a certified laughter yoga leader, an avid walker and dancer, and she loves to catch spare moments at camp watching the sun rise over the agam (lake) or with her hands in clay at omanut (arts & crafts).
Didi Kalmanofsky, Senior Program Staff/Boston Area Liaison — Didi Kalmanofsky is an alum of SUNY Buffalo, where he studied philosophy and psychology. He is currently a resident of Jamaica Plain, MA, and he can’t wait for the kayitz! He is a native New Yorker, a lifelong Ramahnik and a fan of the occasional Shabbat-O-Gram. His three favorite books are B’reishit, Anna Karenina and Charlotte’s Web. Unfortunately, he roots for the Mets.
Simon Luxemburg, Senior Program Staff/Boston Area Liaison — Simon Luxemburg has been a Ramahnik since 2006, and he began working on the year-round team in 2018. Simon studied International Relations, Economics, and Jewish Studies at Connecticut College and was a Fellow on The Nachshon Project. When Simon isn’t helping build Jewish community as part of the Boston’s new South End Moishe House, he enjoys sports, traveling, and dreaming about the kayitz!
Emma Neusner, Staff Hiring & Programming Coordinator — Emma Neusner grew up in Chevy Chase Maryland, and has attended Camp Ramah since 2004, spending the last two summers as a Rosh Edah (Division Head). She graduated in 2018 from Virginia Tech with her BA in Psychology. In her free time, Emma can be found working as a resident of the Boston South End Moishe House, dancing, or thinking about camp!
Ken Milgram, Finance Associate — After spending over 20 years in the for profit world, Ken Milgram, a native Philadelphian, is eager to help our camp families with all financial matters pertaining to their children being able to experience the most amazing summers at either our Palmer overnight camp or our DC area Day Camp. In his spare time, he loves to travel abroad to spend time with his children & grandchildren, and he loves the theater and all things Philadelphia Sports related.
Mindy Goldstein, Director of Annual Campaign and Alumni Relations — Mindy Goldstein joined our year-round team in 2012. She finds tremendous satisfaction in raising money for camp, and continues to be amazed at the impact, both in terms of life-long friendships as well as involvement in Jewish life, that camp has had on its alumni.
Josh Czik, Assistant Registrar — After six summers spent enthusiastically filling positions at Camp Ramah including Rosh Tech, Nagarut (Woodworking), and Outdoor Cooking specialist, Josh Czik joined the year-round team as Assistant Registrar in January, 2018. In his free time, Josh enjoys playing guitar and rooting for his beloved Boston sports teams.
Lori Fish Bard, Community Liaison, Greater Washington DC Area — Lori Fish Bard has been spreading the joy of Camp Ramah as the DC Area Community Liaison since January 2010. Lori is originally from Pensacola, Florida and spent many of her summers growing up at Camp Ramah in New England. She is now the mother of 3 Ramahniks, Addie, Eva, and Simon, with her husband, Larry. Lori is also a board certified health and wellness counselor, and is pursuing her masters degree in clinical nutrition.
Bonnie Schwartz, Tikvah Director — Dr. Bonnie Schwartz, our Tikvah Director, has a rich background in the camping world and extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and adults with learning, developmental and emotional differences. She earned her doctoral degree from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Bonnie is a licensed psychologist and clinical pediatric neuropsychologist and also holds an appointment at the Children’s Hospital of New York at NYU Langone. She loves children of all ages and loves camp. Bonnie feels fortunate to have the opportunity to apply her professional expertise to her work with Tikvah and to participate in the incredible inclusive community that is created at Ramah.
Day Camp of Greater Washington, DC:
Rabbi Rami Schwartzer, Director — Rabbi Rami Schwartzer has been Director of Ramah Day Camp since its inaugural summer in 2015 after over a decade of Ramah experience. Prior to opening the DC area day camp, Rabbi Rami spent two years as the Director of Programming at Camp Ramah in New England and three years as the Special Projects Coordinator at the National Ramah Commission. In addition to his work with Ramah, Rabbi Rami is the founding rabbi of a new Jewish community for 20s and 30s in the greater DC area, currently working as a community rabbi in Northern Virginia. Having trained as a congregational rabbi through the Gladstein Fellowship in Entrepreneurial Rabbinic Leadership, Rami he has served congregations in New York, Texas, and Israel, and as a chaplain at MJHS Hospice & Palliative Care in New York City. Rabbi Rami is the recipient of the Gladstein Fellowship, the Myers Foundation Rabbinic Initiative, and the Leffell Israel Rabbinic Fellowship with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and in 2018 he was appointed by the State of Maryland to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Youth Camp Safety. He holds degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he received rabbinic ordination.
Sharon Rosenberg Safra, Assistant Director — A Bowie, Maryland native, Sharon Rosenberg Safra received her BA in Judaic Studies from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Jewish Education from the Davidson Graduate School of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Sharon worked as the yoetzet (parent liaison) at the Ramah Day Camp of Greater Washington in its initial summer and served as the Family Education Director at B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville from 2003 to 2016. Prior to 2003, Sharon worked as a Hillel professional, synagogue Program Director, and Regional USY Director. She and her husband, Rabbi Michael Safra, are the proud parents of three children and happy Ramahniks, Rebecca, Ethan, and Gila. Sharon believes strongly in the power of community and enjoys her work building a diverse summer kehillah each year.
Linor Shemesh, Registrar & Program Coordinator — Linor Shemesh is a recent graduate from the University of Hartford, where she majored in Communication Studies and Teacher Education. Linor grew up in Maryland, attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School and spent summers at Camp Ramah in New England. Prior to joining Ramah Day Camp full time, Linor spent two summers working as the Communication and Logistics Coordinator. She also taught Hebrew School in the Hartford area. Linor enjoys traveling to Israel and visiting her friends and family there.