Meet Our Team

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James Gelsey

James Gelsey

Eisner Director

Director since 2019, James (he/him/his) joined the Eisner summer staff in 2008 to work on camp’s amazing 50th Anniversary Celebration. After spending the next three summers as Program Director and then Summer Administrator, he joined the full-time team in 2011 as Associate Director and became Director of Operations in 2014. James’s varied professional background includes Jewish education and youth work; commercial theater in New York and Toronto; and authoring over 60 children’s books (the “Scooby-Doo! Mysteries” chapter books among them). He grew up in Miami, spending nine summers at URJ Camp Coleman, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. James and his family—Sue, Shira and Dina, who are all proud Eisner alumni—live in northern New Jersey.

 

Laura Gurvis

Laura Gurvis

Associate Director

Laura (she/her/hers) began working at Eisner in 2000 as our Camp Mom. Since then, she has been our Parent Liaison, Camper Care Director, Assistant Director and now our Associate Director. Her many responsibilities include overseeing our Community Care Team and the programming and managing of our Heller-Wexler Family Camps. She has served as the Jewish Educator at both URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, MS, and URJ Harlam Camp in Kunkletown, PA. She has held various positions in the Jewish community including Educator at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York, NY, and as the Director of the Children’s Department at the YM-YWHA of Washington Township, NJ. Laura has four children, all of whom grew up at camp and worked both as counselors and as members of our Leadership Team. Laura lives in Sherborn, MA with her husband, who is an alumnus of Eisner Camp.

Eva Gruenberg

Eva Gruenberg

Assistant Director

Eva (she/her/hers) joined the Eisner community as Assistant Director in 2018. She hails from the Philadelphia suburbs and spent her childhood summers at a girls’ camp in Maine. Eva grew up in the Reform Movement and brings to Eisner a background in experiential education and youth development through teaching outdoor education and holding key leadership roles at overnight summer camps in Maine and New Hampshire, progressing to assistant director. She earned her BA in History and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Wheelock College in Boston. When she’s not at camp, Eva enjoys hiking, playing and watching sports, and she’ll never turn down a game of trivia. Eva lives in Boston with her wife Rahel, a Jewish educator. She is delighted to see her passions and values combine in such an exciting way through her work with the Eisner community!  

Nicki Poliak

Nicki Poliak

Assistant Director

Nicki (she/her/hers) has worked in the Jewish community for the last few years and is so excited to be continuing her work as part of the Eisner full-time team! Nicki started at Eisner as a Bonim camper in 2005 and since then has participated in the Machon program, worked as a counselor, Assistant Unit Head, and Assistant Director of Machon. Nicki graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice. In college, she was very involved in Hillel, which led Nicki to her most recent work as Director of Programs and Engagement at the University of Connecticut Hillel. She is passionate about Jewish youth engagement and the power of Jewish camping, she is thrilled to be joining the Eisner family full-time!

adam kohane

adam kohane

Assistant Director

Adam (he/him/his) began working for Eisner Camp in 2013, and is so excited to be a part of the full time team as an Assistant Director. He started attending Eisner in 2004, when he was a K’tanim camper and made his way up through the units, participated in the Machon program, and then went on to become a counselor, songleader, and a unit head. Adam grew up in a small town in New Jersey called River Edge, and in 2018 he graduated from New York University, where he studied Music Business and took part in many different music clubs on campus. He previously worked for URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy East as the Program Administrator, and he continues to songlead at many different synagogues in the New York/New Jersey area. When he is not working, Adam loves to spend time with his family and friends, watch European soccer (go Liverpool!), and run around with his dog, Molly. He is thrilled that he will continue to get to spend his summers, and now his full year, working for Eisner Camp!

Lauren hyde

Lauren hyde

Business Manager

Eisner Camp has been a huge part of Lauren’s (she/her/hers) life as she had the unique experience growing up on the property as a child while her parents worked for the camp.  After she graduated from Westfield State College she joined the Eisner and Crane Lake team as a full time employee working as one of the bookkeepers.   She has done many different jobs at camp from Day Camp counselor to dishwasher and is now our Business Manager.  Lauren is happy to be able to enjoy the beautiful Berkshires all year round where she lives with her husband (who she married on the Eisner Camp grounds) and two children.

Ray Kimmelblatt

Ray Kimmelblatt

Development Director, URJ Northeast Camps

Ray Kimmelblatt (she/her) joined the URJ Northeast Camps team in 2020. She brings to the role nearly 20 years of fundraising experience in higher education, healthcare, and community organizations. Ray began her career planning the 2001 URJ Biennial Convention and spent the last 10 years as a nonprofit executive director.

Ray is a product of the Reform Movement and URJ camps, attending Eisner (’87, ’94), Kutz (’93) and Greene Family Camp (’96, ’97). She is a graduate of the University at Albany and earned a master’s degree in public administration from Baruch College. Ray is an alumna of Project OTZMA (’00), a year-long fellowship in Israel.

In spare time, Ray enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, and refinishing furniture. A native Long Islander, Ray met her husband Craig in Hebrew school in third grade. They live outside of Albany, NY with their sons Spencer and Jordan and their rambunctious pug, Ruby.

Marisa Bergman

Marisa Bergman

Development Associate

Marisa (she/her/hers) was thrilled to join the URJ Northeast Camps team in February 2019! She has over twelve years of experience as a synagogue educator and working in day and sleep away camps. Marisa graduated from the University at Albany with a Bachelor’s in Judaic Studies and Education as well as from Gratz College with a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education. Marisa is married to her childhood sweetheart, Matt, and has two beautiful boys, Emmet and Boaz, who are so happy to enjoy their summers in the Berkshires!

Meredith Smyth

Meredith Smyth

Retreat Center Manager

After working as a summer staff member in 2016, Meredith (she/her/hers) fell in love with both Eisner and the Berkshires. With a M.A. in Business Management from Lesley University and a history of interning and volunteering for non-profit organizations as well as event planning, she was excited to take on the role of Retreat Center Manager.  Meredith and her husband, Hal, live on camp with their puppy Charlie. They take many hikes to Look-Out Point and enjoy testing out new recipes in Manor House kitchen.

Jenny Travis

Jenny Travis

Marketing & Communications- URJ Northeast Hub

Jenny Travis (she/her/hers) is a new member of the Northeast Hub team, but has been with the URJ for three years working on marketing & communications – she is incredibly excited to be focusing more deeply on the URJ camps in the Northeast, including Crane Lake! Jenny holds a degree in communication studies with a minor in Jewish studies from Northeastern University. Prior to the URJ, she spent two years working in account services at an ad agency. Jenny lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé and her dog.