Our merakzim (unit heads) are in charge of the staff and campers in their aidah (age group) during the summer. They are responsible for the daily schedule and ensuring that everyone in their aidah is happy, healthy, and having a blast! Meet your campers' merakez or merakezet below!
(campers entering 2nd & 3rd)
My name is Lauren Laderman and I'm SO excited to be your merakezet this summer! I am originally from Houston and am currently a rising senior at Indiana University studying business management.
I first became a Young Judaean in 2001 as a Nitzanim camper at CYJ. After 8 summers there, I moved to YJ's Tel Yehuda in New York for 2 summers, went on to YJ's Machon in 2011, and finally returned to CYJ as a counselor for 3 amazing seasons. I also attended Young Judaea's gap year program, Year Course 2013-2014. Last summer, I was the merakezet for chalutzim, and I couldn't be happier to return this summer to lead ofarim!
The theme for Ofarim this summer is "The Jewish Lifecycle," where we will learn about everything from the bris to bar and bat mitzvahs to (everyone's favorite)- the Offie Wedding! We'll also be swimming, playing sports, making arts and crafts, conquering the ropes course, and so much more!!
I am so excited spend another summer back at CYJ and can't wait for all the fun, exciting memories I'll be making with y'all!
See y'all Soon!
(campers entering 4th grade)
Hello Chalutzim campers and families!
My name is David Broide and I'm from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I'm a rising junior studying Information Systems at the U. of Florida, and I am so pumped to be with you this CYJ season!
Young Judaea has been a part of my life since I was twelve years old. I was a camper at CYJ for Kesher, Bogrim, and Segel. In 2011, I went to Camp Yel Yehudah and most recently went on a Taglit-Birthright trip with Young Judaea in 2014, (as you might imagine, Zionism has been a focal point in my life). Since then, I've worked as a counselor at CYJ the past two summers, the second of which I participated in a fellowship program that brought modern Israeli Education to camp.
The main theme for Chalutzim this summer is, "Jewish Values and Traditions" where we'll learn about the different Jewish customs in super fun ways. For example, to explore the custom of kashrut, the campers will have a Kosher scavenger hunt activity, seeking out real food items with the certification they've learned about!
I am beyond excited for the summer-let's make it the best summer yet!
(campers entering 5th grade)
Hello Tsofim families!!
My name is Jorge Meizner. I'm from México City and I'll be your Tsofim merakez this summer! When I'm not at CYJ, I'm studying Sports Management in Anahuac University and pursuing a diploma in sports marketing and Business in the Johan Cruyff Institute
My whole life, I've been a part of a youth movement called Macabi, first as a camper until 10th grade and then a counselor for 3 years after that. I developed and oversaw many activities for the kids in Macabi, exploring topics like Judaism, Israel, Mexico, Culture, and more. I was also Merakez (unit head) for a year in that same Youth movement.
This is my third year at CYJ, and serving as Merakez of the tsofim last year was one of the best decisions I've ever made. If last year was one of the best summers in my life, I'm completely sure that this year will be a summer to remember for the entire Tsofim family.
I hope you're all as excited for camp as I am, and I can't wait to meet everyone! And remember: Tsofim is the best, Tsofim is the best, we don't know why, we don't know why, but Tsofim is the best!
Jorge Meizner, (AKA "hip hip" Jorge)
(campers entering 6th grade)
Shalom Maginim families!
My name is Hannah Dadoun and I'm going to be your Maginim merakezet this summer! I am beyond excited for the summer to start and I hope y'all are too.
A little about me: I am a twenty one year old student studying at Columbia College Chicago, currently majoring in Animation and minoring in Television Writing/Producing. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and was a camper at CYJ for six summers, followed up by two summers at Camp Tel Yehudah. This will be my fourth summer on CYJ staff and, (as with every summer), I am super excited to be coming back!
The theme for Maginim is Israeli Culture. Throughout the summer, we'll be learning and exploring the music, food, sports, and art that make up the one of a kind Israel. And, like Israel, this summer is going to be amazing and one-of-a-kind, (not to mention probably pretty warm). So get some rest and get excited! Camp is just around the corner and I cannot wait to meet all of you!
See y'all soon!
(campers entering 7th grade)
Shalom Kesher campers and families!
My name is Iris Toth and I am so excited to be the Kesher merakezet (unit head) for this summer! I was born in Austin 21 years ago, and I'm currently a junior at The University of Texas studying Elementary Education.
Young Judaea has been a part of my life for a long time! I was a camper at CYJ for five summers (2005-2009), attended Camp Tel Yehudah from 2010-2011, and I did YJ's summer Israel program, Machon, in 2012. The last three summers, I worked at CYJ, finally getting back to the place where it all started,
Our age group's theme this summer is Community and Tikkun Olam (Social Action). We will learn what it means to be a community, along with how to respect and work together to build one. We also focus on social action and how we can help those in need in our communities.
I'm so excited to spend the summer with y'all and I can't wait to meet all of you soon!
Iris Toth Kesher Merakezet
(campers entering 8th grade)
Hello Bogrim families!
My name is Tal Been, I'm 24 years old from a small town in Israel called Tzur Yigal, and I'm so excited to be your merakezet this summer!
Since I was young, I was a part of the Israeli Scouts youth movement, I even had the privilege of being in the Israeli scouts caravan many years ago. Since two years ago, when I finished my military service as a sports instructor, I've spent my time working, studying, and traveling around the world.
My first summer at CYJ Texas was the summer of 2014, and I'm really excited to be back at camp. I can't wait for the summer to start!
See you soon!
(campers entering 9th grade)
Hello Segel families!
My name is Tori Smith and I am so excited to be the merakezet, or unit head, for Segel this summer. I just graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison, majoring in Community and Non-profit Leadership with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.
Camp Young Judaea has always had a special place in my heart and I am really excited to be back this summer! I was a camper at CYJ for five summers, spent two summers at Tel Yehudah, and spent a summer in Israel on Machon in 2011. I started working at CYJ as a counselor in 2012, and in 2015, I became the merakezet of Kesher.
Segel is the oldest aidah in camp, and so it's only fitting that the theme for this summer will be leadership. Over the course of the session, we will work together as an aidah to define what it means to be a leader.
I've had the privilege of going on Segel as both a camper and a counselor, and in both instances it has been a life-changing experience. I have no doubt this summer will be the same! I can remember my own Segel experience so vividly - the rush of excitement as we took our place at the end of the mifkad circle for the first time, the euphoria we felt as our bus departed in the quiet of the night, the bittersweet feeling of finality that overcame us as we returned.
We've got quite a summer ahead of us, full of new friendships and memories that will last forever. I can't wait to go on this adventure with you!