Shabbat candle lighting: 4:28pm

Meet our Directors

Senior Director of Camping and Children’s Services & J Day Camp Director

Emily Peisach Stern
Emily's career started at the J in her teen years where she found a passion for working with children and a commitment to the JCC’s mission.  Prior to leading J Day and our Camping Services Team, Emily directed six successful years of Noah’s Ark Camp. As a past JCC camper herself, Emily knows how a great summer experience can create a lasting love and appreciation for camp. “Camp is where children can grow in a fun and enriching environment and there is not another place like it.” Emily has a Masters of Education in School Counseling from Loyola University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from University of Mary Washington. Emily Peisach Stern can be reached at 410.559.3557 |

Emily is busy preparing for camp this summer. Learn more about her day.

Assistant Director of J Camps

Stacy Deems
Stacy is excited to embark on another year as the J Camps Assistant Director. In this capacity, Stacy juggles multiple responsibilities including oversight and implementation of our STEM Plus Programs, our Shlichim program, all-camp special events, J Day field trips, and also acts as the Assistant Director of J Day Camp. Stacy honed her ability to thrive in multiple camp areas well over past summers serving as our J Camps Administrator. We love her passion and positive attitude. Stacy is a graduate of Daniel’s College of Business at the University of Denver. Stacy can be reached at 410.559.3513 |

Habimah Arts Camp

Gabriel Lewin, Director
As the founding director of Habimah Arts Camp, Gabriel brings a wealth of experience both as a teacher, director and performer. He has taught theater, English and choir at several local schools including the former Yeshivat Rambam, as well as Ner Israel and Owings Mills High Schools.  He was also the artistic director of the Jewish Theatre Workshop for several shows. An accomplished musician and vocalist, Gabriel has been a guest Chazzan at several area synagogues and he is the music director of Who Knows Five, a male a cappella ensemble that sings synagogue music all over Baltimore. Gabriel is a graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington with a B.A. in theater and drama & Jewish studies and has a Master’s in Education Administration and Supervision from Loyola University Chicago. Gabriel can be reached at

Jennifer Cameron, Habimah Creative Arts Director 
A veteran of the Jewish camping scene with fond memories of her time at Blue Star Camp in North Carolina, Jennifer is our Habimah Arts Camp Producer. Jennifer is responsible for hiring all of our guest teaching artists and counselors, camp scheduling, field trips and theme planning to ensure an amazing summer for our campers. This will be Jenn’s fourth summer with Habimah.   Like many of our campers, Jennifer loves performing. In fact she has been a professional musical theatre performer for the past 10 years. “Watching campers experience the joy of performing for a live audience is a wonderful feeling.” Jennifer is a graduate of George Washington University, with a degree in Communications and a minor in Public Health. Jennifer can be reached at

Maccabi Sports Camp 

Coming Soon!

Tennis Camp Director

Adam Stein
Adam is a USNTA certified tennis professional who has been teaching tennis to children and adults at the JCC for over two decades. He has been running our Tennis Camp for over 16 years.  His JCC past also includes roles as a lifeguard, pool supervisor, league director, camp counselor and personal trainer.  Silly much of the time, but serious when he needs to be, Adam is a kid magnet who believes that camp is vacation time for kids. “I want them to have fun and learn skills that will last a lifetime. I also want parents to feel that their children are enjoying their camp experience in a nurturing environment.” Adam has a BS in Physical Education from Towson University and is also an AAAI/ISMA Certified Fitness Expert. Adam can be reached at 410.559.3538 |

Preschool Camp Directors

Arielle Bodner, Camp Ami - Park Heights
Arielle’s journey at the JCC began when she started here as a preschooler at the age of three. After graduating from Kent State University with a B.S. in Human Development and Family studies, Arielle decided to come full circle working as an assistant teacher in the three-year-old classroom. Arielle’s passion for the J has grown as she now serves as the Program Manager in the Park Heights Early Learning Center. She loves coming in everyday and seeing the smiling faces of the children. She can’t wait to work as the camp director this summer! Arielle can be reached at 410.500.5937 |

Kim Davidson, Noah's Ark - Owings Mills
Kimberly Davidson is the Assistant Director of the Owings Mills Early Childhood Education Center. In 2001, following the birth of her first child, Kim joined the J family and taught Mommy and Me classes. Once her children began preschool here, Kim became a teacher in our 2’s class, where she helped to make our famous Pajama Party and End of the Year Picnic huge successes. Dani can be reached at 410.559.3555 |

CSA Karate Camp Director

Jennifer Lake
Ms. Jen has been Director of Comprehensive Survival Arts (CSA) Karate Camp since its inception 25 years ago and CSA has been a proud partner of the J for over 28 years.  As president and head instructor of CSA, Jen has played a vital role in the growth of the Martial Arts program at the J. In addition to offering a wide variety of classes for all ages and abilities she is also an ACE-certified personal trainer. Jen is actively involved in each camp day so that she and her team can give campers the best summer experience. She prides herself on getting to know the personalities of each camper. Jen can be reached at 410.559.3553 |

Inclusion Program

Sara Rubinstein
Sara is excited to be gearing up for her fifth summer with J Camps, where she oversees our Inclusion program. Sara serves as the Director of Inclusion and Ability at the JCC year-round, leading the JCC in its vision to ensure a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible community for people of all abilities. She oversees all programs for children, teens, and adults with different abilities, including our KLAL Summer Experience for teens and young adults.  Sara is the 2018 recipient of the Neely Tal Snyder Community Impact Award and has been working with people with disabilities since 2007 in community, hospital, and recreation settings in the US and Israel. Sara has a BA in Psychology from St. Mary’s College, a Masters in Dance/Movement Therapy from Drexel University, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Leadership in Disability Services at the University of Delaware. She is a registered dance/movement therapist and her favorite camp activities involve getting everyone up and dancing. Sara can be reached at 410.559.3576 |

TNT Director

Jeff Snyder
Jeff is the Middle School Coordinator at the JCC and the director of TNT. He loves getting to watch the teens interact with younger campers throughout the various J Camps and watch the teens become leaders in the JCC community. Prior to coming to the J, Jeff worked with people with disabilities in various roles. Jeff holds a B.A. in Criminology from the University of Maryland and an MSW from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Jeff can be reached at 410.500.5453 |

CIT Director

Cody Gelvar
Cody is excited for his third summer at J Camps! He is looking forward to guiding the CITs as they develop leadership skills and grow as young adults. As a product of Baltimore’s Jewish community, Cody understands the importance of an impactful summer experience for teens and campers. During the year, Cody is the Teen Service Coordinator for 4Front, Baltimore’s hub for Jewish teen programming. He also is the program coordinator for STAC, 4Front’s advocacy program. Cody holds a B.A. from West Virginia University. Cody can be reached at 410.843.7480 |

Camp Koolanu Directors

Rabbi Levi Mark
Back for his 6th summer at Camp Koolanu, Rabbi Mark brings excitement and tremendous positive energy to camp! His warm smile and enthusiasm for learning and growth motivates campers to be their best and make the most of their camp experience. Rabbi Mark has been involved in chinuch for almost 20 years and spends his time working individually with boys, teaching Limudei Kodesh at Torah Institute.

Rabbi Dovid Newmark
Rabbi Newmark is back for his 4th year at Camp Koolanu and is known in camp for his professionalism and calm demeanor. Rabbi Newmark works as a school psychologist during the year and is involved in providing counseling services to individual students, collaborating with families and school staff, as well as developing early intervention initiatives. Using his experience, Rabbi Newmark carefully consults with staff at Camp Koolanu to promote inclusive practices and implement strategies to assist all campers with varying needs. He encourages and assists campers and staff alike in building confidence and creating an environment of belongingness for a successful camp experience.

Mrs. Shira Heideman
As the Park Heights Program Director, Shira oversees all programming year-round and is back for her second summer supervising Camp Koolanu. She has been involved in Jewish youth and teen programming for nearly a decade. Shira has a Bachelors in Psychology and will be pursuing a Masters in Jewish Professional Studies.

The Koolanu directors can be reached at 410.500.5979 |

Jewish Life

Rabbi Dena Shaffer, Executive Director of 4Front Baltimore
Rabbi Dena Shaffer (or Rabbs, as the kids say!) serves as the Executive Director of 4Front Baltimore, a community-wide Jewish teen initiative housed at our Owings Mills JCC. In the summer months, Rabbs provides visionary and strategic leadership for the integration of Jewish life and learning throughout JCamps, which includes leading our weekly Shabbat celebration. A product of over 30 years of Jewish camping in a variety of settings, Rabbs knows that camp is a magical place where children of all backgrounds can explore their identity, feel loved and accepted, ground their choices in our universal values, and discover their ability to make our world a better place!  Rabbs holds rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (’10) and can usually be found hanging out with her pup, Darby!  Rabbs can be reached at 410.500.5983 |


Shawnise Crawford, Assistant Aquatics Director
Shawnise’s summers are spent poolside at the Owings Mills JCC managing the J Camps Instructional Swim program, where her goal is for every camper to have a fun-filled, safe and enriching swim experience. Throughout the rest of the year, Shawnise oversees the J’s Swim School, including lessons for our ECEC students, and manages the pool at the Park Heights JCC. She has worked in the J’s Aquatics department for over 15 years teaching, coaching, and helping swimmers and lifeguards cultivate their skills. She graduated with a BS in Psychology from Villa Julie College. Shawnise can be reached at 410.500.5931 |

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