James Gelsey, Director
James joined the Eisner summer staff in 2008 to work on camp’s amazing 50th Anniversary Celebration. He spent the next few summers as Program Director and Summer Administrator before joining the full-time staff in 2011 as Associate Director. He became Director of Operations in 2014. James’s varied professional background includes Jewish camping, 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). James grew up in Miami, spending nine summers at URJ Camp Coleman, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. James and his family live in northern New Jersey and belong to Temple Beth El of Northern Valley, where James served six years as chairperson of the Education Committee and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees. His wife, Sue, is an Eisner alum, and both of their children, Shira and Dina, have been at camp since 2007.
Laura Gurvis, Associate Director
Laura began working at Eisner in 2000 as our Camp Mom. Since then, she has been our Parent Liaison, Camper Care Director, and now is a full time Associate Director. She has served as the Jewish Educator at both the URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, MS, and the URJ Joseph and Betty Harlam Camp in Kunkletown, PA. She has held various positions in the Jewish community such as 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 runs our “satellite” office in Newton, MA, working closely with our Boston-area congregations. Laura lives in Newton, MA with her husband, and four children – all of whom are alumni of Eisner Camp.
Eva Gruenberg, Assistant Director
Eva is thrilled and honored to be part of the Eisner Community as Assistant Director. 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!
Catie is delighted to be part of the amazing Eisner community as an Assistant Director. Catie is an alumnus of the URJ Camping movement, having grown up at Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) in Zionsville, Indiana. She spent five summers as a staff member at GUCI, progressing from counselor to Unit Head, before graduating from Ball State University with a degree in Music Education. Most recently, Catie worked for Disney Cruise Line, beginning as a Youth Activities Counselor and Trainer and then spending almost four years as an Assistant Youth Activities Manager onboard the Disney Magic. She is excited to bring her passion for guest service, working with youth, and love of Jewish camping to Eisner. After spending almost five years traveling and exploring, she is so excited to be part of the Eisner full-time staff and begin spreading her roots in the Northeast!
Kadie Black, Director of Development
Kadie joined the URJ Northeast Camps team in February 2018. She brings to the role years of experience working as the Manager of Philanthropy for Women of Reform Judaism, where she was involved in all aspects of fundraising and development. Prior to the WRJ, she worked as the External Affairs Manager for Our Kids of Miami/Dade Country, a foster care agency, where her many responsibilities included development, and for the New York Blood Center. Kadie is an alum of URJ Camp Coleman and is passionate about supporting Jewish youth. Kadie has a compassionate six-year-old son named Jacob, a spunky three-year-old daughter named Aliza, an incredible husband named Ben, and a cuddly golden doodle named Lincoln.
Nicki Poliak, Registrar/Office Manager
Nicki 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!
Marisa Bergman, Development AssociateEmail Marisa
Marisa 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!
Lauren Hyde, Business Manager
Eisner Camp has been a huge part of Lauren’s 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.