Meet the Staff

February 13th, 2017

Emily Schnitzer, Camp Kee Tov Director

Years at Camp Kee Tov: 22

With her first year as Camp Kee Tov Director under her belt, Emily is ecstatic to return again for another summer of ruach (spirit) and cheer. With Camp Kee Tov celebrating its 50th anniversary THIS YEAR, she is even more energized to be a part of this amazing kehilla kedosha, sacred community.

Emily joined the CKT family in 1996 and after experiencing her first messy day, she never looked back! She spent the next 20+ years completely enveloped in this welcoming and fun community. With 7 years as a camper, 7 years on staff, 2 years as the Giborim Program Director and 4 years in the office as the Adminstrator and Associate Director, she is so happy that her second year as the Camp Kee Tov Director is during this momentous anniversary year.

She made her closest friends playing bramble scramble at Sunset State Beach, making breakfast on Giborim overnights and cultivating the future leaders of camp at Staff Training. She loves the sense of community and pride that each camper and counselor shows around Kee Tov. When campers and counselors scream cheers at the top of their lungs and know what song Eric Schoen is going to sing from his first chord strum- her heart melts.

She can’t wait for this summer to begin! If you’re looking for a place to spend your summers engulfed in creativity, camaraderie, ruach and genuine fun- you’ve come to the right place!

Contact her anytime at emily@bethelberkeley.org or 510-848-2372.

 

Allie Liepman, Camp Kee Tov Administrator

Years at Camp Kee Tov: 23

Allie calls herself a Kee Tov “Lifer.” She lives and breathes camp. Her Kee Tov life began in Rishonim in 1994 and, 23 years later, she couldn’t be more excited to continue as the Camp Kee Tov Administrator for its 50th anniversary year. Before Allie became the Kee Tov Administrator, she was a PD for 4 years and worked for Congregation Beth El’s Youth and Family Education programs.

If you ask Allie what her favorite camp memory is she won’t be able to tell you because there are too many to name! That said, some favorites are overnight talent shows, the Gesher Backpacking Trip and dancing in the Map Show.

Allie deeply cares about every registration form, friendship circle and, most importantly every Kee Tov camper. She is beyond excited to celebrate Camp Kee Tov’s 50th Anniversary this year! When she isn’t “clickity-clacking” on the office keyboard, she plays softball, quotes Save the Last Dance and spends time with friends and family.

Contact her anytime at campkeetov@bethelberkeley.org or 510-848-2372.

 

Nora Sheeder, Rishonim Program Director (Kindergarten)

Years at Camp Kee Tov: 17

Nora caught the Kee Tov bug during her first summer at camp as a young Habonimer. Ever since she has lived for singing with Eric, making friendship bracelets, and overnights at Gillespie.

After finishing Gesher, Nora took a few years off but as is known to happen, camp drew her back in. She returned to the Kee Tov staff in 2015 as a senior counselor in Chalutzim. After spending two summers in Chal, Nora realized that Chal-Rish days just weren’t enough for her and she needed Rishonim all the time. She is so excited to spend this summer making friendship pins and traveling to far away lands with all her new Rishonim friends!

When Nora is not singing camp songs or telling stories about ‘that one time at camp,’ she is a student at Dickinson College studying Anthropology and Political Science. Nora spent this past semester studying in Copenhagen, Denmark where she ate salty licorice and learned about Danish outdoor kindergartens.

She would like to give special thanks to her brother, PD Emeritus Beckett Sheeder, for his continued love and support as she begins her first summer as a Program Director at the best place on Earth!

 

Sasha Price, Habonim Program Director (1st and 2nd grades)

Years at Camp Kee Tov: 17

At the rose-cheeked age of five, Sasha joined the Kee Tov family and discovered a place where she could yell, sing and laugh as loud as she wanted; she decided to never leave. It’s not a true summer for Sasha without the smell of sunscreen, tall tall trees, kumzits and song sessions that never end (please!).

In 2002, Sasha met her life-long best friends and found her favorite kind of fun in Habonim and can’t wait to keep building on the tradition as a Program Director! After spending the last two summers as a counselor in Map and Chal, Sasha is itching to return to the powerhouse program that made her into the person she is, and to the little kid who year after year tearfully refused to leave Roberts after Family Night (Editor’s Note: Sasha still gets teary-eyed leaving Roberts Park!).

Since last summer, Sasha spent two months traveling on a loop through five countries in Europe before settling into Santa Cruz to pursue a degree in Literature. When she isn’t reading for class, you can find her playing guitar, doing yoga or learning how to play her new harmonica. This summer Sasha hopes to finally get the 50-year-old question answered: Have you ever seen a program that’s been greater?

 

Alana Levine-Gorelick, Giborim Program Director (3rd and 4th grades)

Years at Camp Kee Tov: 19

Having never missed a session since Alana began as a wee Rishonimer, she can truly say a summer is not complete without Kee Tov. Whether that was dancing in the Map show, riding the Spruce-Grizz bus to and from camp every day or coming up with new cheers to help her programs reign supreme, she could not stay away.

Since joining the staff in 2010, Alana has spent her first 6 summers in the greatness that is Giborim, before taking a brief hiatus to work in Chalutzim with her old campers. However the one year break was far to long and Alana rejoined the Giborim staff last year as their Program Director. She could not be more excited to once again be in the heart and home of camp, Giborim, and has no doubt that this will be the best summer yet!

When not mastering friendship bracelet techniques or brainstorming new messy day activities, Alana enjoys cooking gluten-free goodies and going on adventures through the Pacific North West. She is graduating from the University of Puget Sound this May with a Business Major and Minors in Sociology and Anthropology.

Alana can’t think of a better way to transition back to the Bay Area then coming home to another summer with Giborim!

 

Sonja Malamut, Mapilim Program Director (5th and 6th grades)

Years at Camp Kee Tov: 17

Four scores and seven years ago…just kidding! Seventeen years ago, Sonja began her CKT career and has not missed a summer since. For Sonja, summer just wouldn’t be summer without overnights, fuzzy milk, tie-dye, song sessions with E-Schoen and of course the ‘ruach exposé’. She could not be happier to be returning this year for more Kee Tov shinanagins!

This will be Sonja’s 8th year on staff. After working as the Rosh and Drama specialist for Mapilim in 2014 she could not wait to get back to MAP SIDE. Sonja is stoked to bring the Maplim Mispacha the creativity, silliness, love and ruach that has been bringing her back to camp all these years.

Sonja is graduating this coming fall from the University of Puget Sound with a BA in History and Environmental Studies. She is also the president of Ocean Intellect, an ocean conservancy club on campus. When not at camp or in the class room, Sonja can be found playing in the outdoors, adventuring with friends and cuddling with her pooch Luna!

 

Rachel Kator, Chalutzim Program Director (7th and 8th grades)

Years at Camp Kee Tov: 19

Rachel began her time at Kee Tov in 1999 as a wee Rishonimer and never looked back. Whether she was getting a sunburn or imitating her counselors’ performances of Kumsitz, Rachel knew she had found her home for the summers. By the time Gesher rolled around, she was positive she wanted to become a counselor at the camp where she had spent so many incredible summers.

Rachel spent her first three years as a counselor with the mighty Giborim (where her nickname ‘RayKay’ was coined), and later worked in Rishonim, Chalutzim, and Mapilim. She is thrilled to take the lead in Chalutzim this summer as Program Director!

When she’s not at Camp Kee Tov, Rachel doesn’t stray too far from 1301 Oxford Street! She keeps the ruach going all year-round teaching third grade at hebrew school at Beth El. Rachel spends the rest of her time diligently studying at Mills College, where her focus is Spanish and Politics. She can’t wait for a summer full of adventures, fun and ruach!

 

Tom Miller, Gesher Program Director (9th grade)

Years at Camp Kee Tov: 7

It may come as some surprise that this Gesher Program Director never himself drag-raced through obstacle courses in Beth El halls nor drank the fuzzy milk of lore before working at camp. As a youngster, Tom couldn’t get enough of local summer camps like CCCT’s Drama Camp and Playground R.A.T.S. Struck by how hilarious, inventive and caring his counselors could be, he aspired someday to become one.

Tom’s Kee Tov career began in 2010 when, by a stroke of luck, he accepted a job as Mapilim drama rover. The rest was history! He would go on to write and direct a series of vignettes as Drama specialist before moving on to Chalutzim and finally Gesher. Eight summers later, he returns again to his adopted camp home to accept the torch —with much dignity and grace— as PD of the illustrious “Gesh.”

When asked how he managed to come so far he responded with an impression of Mr. Miyagi: “I started out with a lot of schlepping. Let that be a lesson to the C-I-Ts.” He added that Kee Tov was always a place in which he thrived: “It’s this liberating space to be oneself, to get out what you put in, to be creative and fun because it’s a loving, supportive community, a kehillah kedosha.”

Tom has enjoyed the Kee Tov off-season working with five-year-olds at Tehiyah Day School, but is looking forward to working with the more *mature* rising frosh of Gesher. In his free time he enjoys reading, writing, and transferring colleges. You can occasionally catch his arts reviews in the Berkeley Times.

Tom is truly excited to be on staff with his former campers of last year, and he hopes to create a memorable summer for his future campers. For now, he awaits the promise of another Kee Tov summer.

 

Ruby Shapiro, Chaverim Program Director (Before and After Camp Program)

Years at Camp Kee Tov: 16

Ruby’s Camp Kee Tov life began as a young Rishonimer in 1994 and she returned every summer ready for the best months of the year! A quiet kid at heart, Ruby loved the ruach and enthusiasm at Camp Kee Tov. Summers spent singing on the bus, getting as messy as possible and making lifelong friendships are just some of what kept Ruby coming back to the Tov year after year. Having worked in Gib, Map, and Gesher Ruby cannot wait to keep the CKT day alive in Chaverim!

Ruby has worked with children in a variety of settings, teaching afterschool art classes, yoga classes and PE classes to children of all ages. However, Kee Tov is where her heart truly resides. She specializes in friendship bracelet making, tie-dye, and all around camp creativity! Ruby was responsible for the incredible tradition of ‘Tie-Dye Fri-Dye’, coining the phrase back in 2011!

When she isn’t at Kee Tov you can find Ruby spreading ruach all over the Bay Area, teaching both adult and children’s yoga and Pilates classes. For the last year Ruby has been volunteering and teaching yoga to children in Occupational Therapy clinics and will begin her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy at Samuel Merritt University in the fall. Before school kicks into gear, Ruby cannot wait to spend this summer with as many CKT-ers as possible in Chaverim!