CAA Camp Council

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Deborah Sternberg


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 currently sits on 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!

Jeffrey Kagan

Vice 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. He 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. 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 Sector Executive of the Asset Management practice at KPMG, as well as various roles in the community. Jeffrey lives in Westfield, NJ, with his wife, Amy (whom he met at camp), and their two campers, Sophie and Noah.

Subie Banaszynski, MSW

Subie Banaszynski is originally from the suburbs of Chicago and knows 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 social work, Subie always had a hand in Jewish youth and education. She is a member of Congregation Shaare Emeth and in the 90’s and early ‘00s she developed and oversaw their middle and high school educational programs. Most recently 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 at many of the URJ camps. Currently, Subie is consulting with Jewish institutions in St. Louis and spending a great deal of time with her four grandchildren.

Fran Levey

Fran Levey has been involved in Reform Judaism since consecration at Temple Beth Emeth, Wilmington, DE; confirmation, at Temple Emanuel, Cherry Hill, NJ; URJ Camp Harlam, PAFTY/NFTY, EIE (now Heller High) in Israel, and the URJ Kutz Camp. She was in the first year of the Religious Action Center’s Machon Kaplan Program, and was a Jewish Educator in a URJ congregation and former member of NATE. Fran and her wife Alice are active members of Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach and Temple Israel of Greater Miami.  Fran is grateful to be following her passions in design and technology, documentary films and photography as educational tools, gourmet & wine travel off the beaten path, and philanthropy that makes an impact. She and Alice are both life-long lovers of summer camp and treasure the friends they still have from those memorable summers.  Fran is thrilled to be on the CAA Camp Council as her way of giving back to “the movement” that has given her so much!

Dr. Alan Mason

Dr. Alan Mason is one of the nation’s most distinguished directors of sacred Jewish music concerts and religious services, and is the Immediate President of the Guild of Temple Musicians. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Miami, and is a retired Associate Professor of Music at Barry University. He is an accompanist for the American Conference of Cantors, the Cantors Assembly, the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Zamir Choral Foundation. Alan is the conductor of HaZamir Miami, a chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir, and the Assistant Director of the South Florida Jewish Chorale. Alan is on the Board of Directors of the Zamir Choral Foundation.

Rabbi Jessie Wainer

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 loves working with community members of all ages, developing creative worship experiences, walking with families through their times of sorrow and joy, and bringing Torah to life for people of all ages.

Born and raised in Oak Park, IL, Rabbi Wainer is thrilled to be home to serve the Jewish community of the western suburbs of Chicago. She 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.

Outside of her work in the Jewish community, Rabbi Wainer enjoys SCUBA diving, taking long walks with her dog Tali, playing one of her various musical instruments and baking challah.