CAA Camp Council

Jeffrey Kagan

Chair

Jeffrey Kagan has spent most of his life around camps or teens, or both. He served 20 years as a high school TYG advisor at congregations in Oak Park, IL, and Bloomfield, NJ, and has been honored with NFTY life memberships in the Chicago Area Region and at the North American level. Arriving at the CAA Council in 2020—serving as Vice Chair for two years, and Chair for two-plus more—he had also served as the Vice Chair of the URJ Kutz Camp Council for six years, and three more as its Chair, working closely with camp leadership, alumni and the broader community; he also taught more than 10 summers at the Kutz Camp, plus various sessions at NFTY Conventions and URJ Biennials. In March 2024, he was elected to his first term on the URJ’s North American Board.  Beyond the Jewish world, he served on the Board of Directors of the River North Chicago Dance Company for 11 years, and two more years on its Alumni Board. Begrudgingly, he does spend some time outside the camp world, serving as Chief of Staff of the Asset Management practice at KPMG, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees and as HR Committee Chair at Temple Emanu-El of Westfield. Jeffrey lives in Westfield, NJ, with his wife, Amy (whom he met at camp), and their two campers, Sophie and Noah.

Headshot of Rabbi Jessie Wainer

Rabbi Jessie Wainer

Vice Chair

Rabbi Wainer is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Etz Chaim. She previously served as the Associate Rabbi and Director of Congregational Learning for Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation in Reston, VA. Rabbi Wainer was ordained from the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 2016. While there, she also earned as Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters in 2015, as well as a Master of Arts in Education Administration from Xavier University in 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies, with Honors, as well as minors in Hebrew and Psychology from Indiana University – Bloomington. Rabbi Wainer currently serves as the head of faculty for the URJ’s 6-Points Creative Arts Academy where she is a founding faculty member. She also previously served on the CCAR’s Taskforce on Women’s Experience in the Rabbinate.

Subie Banaszynski, MSW

Subie Banaszynski is originally from the suburbs of Chicago and experienced the power of Jewish camp having grown up at URJ Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) camp.
She received her BA from Lakeland University (WI) and moved to St. Louis where she earned a Masters in Social Work from Washington University. During a long career in youth and family social work, Subie maintained a deep connection to Jewish education, youth and camping. She has served the Jewish community as a leader, board member, staff director, consultant and educator. Prior to her work at the Creative Arts Academy, Subie was the Director of Education and Engagement at Temple Emanuel in St. Louis. Subie worked for the URJ and NFTY in the youth department for seven years and thoroughly enjoyed being the North American Director of NFTY. She has been and continues to be a teacher, trainer, mentor and advocate for teens, young adults and their parents and has served as faculty and staff at many of the URJ camps. Subie’s history with CAA started in its inaugural year, 2018, as faculty, Camp Council member and has continued as a consultant and staff. In 2022 Subie became year-round staff as the Director of Community Care and is now the Year-round Social Worker. CAA is her passion, as is her large family, 5 grandchildren and her St. Louis community.

Headshot of Rabbi Jessie Wainer

Lesly Gregory

Lesly Gregory has been a camp kid since she was 10. Starting out as a camper at Greene Family Camp in Texas, Lesly went on to be a counselor and unit head during her time at GFC. With camp in her blood, it’s no wonder her kids are also camp alums. Her oldest has attended Camp Coleman in Georgia and CAA, while her youngest spent one summer at GFC and is heading to Camp Coleman for Quest Jr camp next. Lesly is an active member of the Jewish community, currently serving as the VP of Education at Temple Beth Tikvah in Roswell, GA. For her day job, Lesly is a freelance content writer, working with clients across a variety of industries. She crafts blog posts, web pages, white papers and even writes for her local paper. An avid reader, Lesly calls Marietta, GA home and lives happily with her family and four cats. A love of Jewish life and a passion for communications brought Lesly to the CAA Camp Council and she’s thrilled to be a part of yet another camp community and to connect with families across the country.

Headshot of Rabbi Jessie Wainer

David Loewy

David Loewy is a theater artist, educator, and nonprofit consultant based in New York City. He was honored to be CAA’s inaugural Artistic Director for its first two summers, and he believes very strongly in the power of the arts, camp, and experiential Jewish education. Born and raised in Texas, David spent 22 summers of his life at the URJ Greene Family Camp in various capacities, including two summers as the Spielberg Fellow in Jewish Theater Arts Education. He’s been creating Jewish-text-based theater works for over 25 years, particularly as a founding company member of the Jewish ritual theater company Storahtelling. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin’s Plan II Honors Program and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from NYU. He spends most of his time these days helping NYC cultural organizations build new spaces for themselves. He is thrilled to be serving on the Camp Council for CAA.

Headshot of Rabbi Jessie Wainer

Gail Ravnitzky Silberglied

Gail Ravnitzky Silberglied is one of the many parents who wishes there was a CAA camp back when she was growing up…Now a mom of three teenagers—all of whom have attended URJ Six Points camps (two at the sports academy and one at creative arts academy)—Gail is proud to serve on CAA’s Camp Council. Gail grew up attending Temple Israel of Northern Westchester (NY) and currently attends B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville, Maryland, where she co-chairs the sisterhood social action committee. Gail is also active in her childrens’ school PTAs and at the county level to advocate for reduced screen time and purposeful use of technology in the classroom. During the pandemic, Gail chaired the Virtual Leaning Committee for the Montgomery County Council of PTAs. Professionally, Gail has worked on Capitol Hill, as a lobbyist, and as a nonprofit executive before founding Speak Up Advocacy to help nonprofits maximize their effectiveness in reaching and influencing public officials. She currently is senior director of government relations and advocacy for the National Association of Workforce Boards. 

Gail is always happy to talk with prospective parents about this wonderful camp. 

Deborah Sternberg

Founding & Immediate Past Chair

Deborah Sternberg grew up in Baton Rouge, LA. Her religious values and leadership skills were shaped through her heavy involvement in the reform movement. An active member of her youth group, she volunteered for multiple summers at Camp Dream Street in Mississippi working with physically challenged youth. She attended Henry S. Jacobs Camp and Kutz Camp, and participated in multiple NFTY national programs. Deborah served as temple youth group president, NFTY Southern (SoFTY) president, and NFTY president. Having moved back to Baton Rouge with her family, Deborah became active in her home synagogue, Congregation B’nai Israel. She served on the board for over 10 years, including as temple president. She is a former member of the URJ national board and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism (CSA).

Deborah’s professional career has taken her from serving as a driver across the state of Louisiana for a gubernatorial candidate to the C-Suite of a national insurance company. Her experience in the realms of politics, communications, and business gives her a unique perspective to share with businesses and national boards.

Sternberg recently launched the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge, an after-school program that transforms high school students into confident entrepreneurs. Engaging the Louisiana Economic Development, LSU College of Business, and Baton Rouge Area Chamber, she established a committee of local entrepreneurs and community leaders who share her vision: a culture of innovation throughout Greater Baton Rouge, starting with high school students.

Deborah is married and the proud mother of two boys, both CAA campers!