Outside our programming team of counselors, specialists, and unit heads, CYJ-Texas relies on a huge operations team. The summer simply wouldn’t be possible without our 24-hour medical staff, Camper Care team, logistics, communications, food services, and maintenance, (you guys rock!).
To learn more about the camp nerds who run camp year-round, check out our staff bios below!
Meet Our Executive Staff
Since coming on as Director in 1998, Frank has overseen significant growth at Camp Young Judaea-Texas and its Retreat Center in Wimberley, TX. He considers the Jewish camp experience a life-changing opportunity, a unique setting to learn and grow in life’s most important areas—in character, in health, and in relationship. He’s committed to providing that experience with excellence, by emphasizing a mix of community, Zionism, Judaism, and—in true Texas tradition—cattle rustling!
Prior to CYJ-TX, Frank worked for Camp Tel-Yehuda, Taco Bell Corp, and Trails End Camp. While serving as Camp Director (and chief bottle-washer), Frank and his wife Simone, have grown their family with their children Elan, Jacob, and Rebecca and their dog, Coco.
Bar Twito has been Director of Operations for the CYJ retreat center since 2007. He grew up in Netanya, Israel and was a part of the Tsofim (Israeli Scouts) for most of his youth. When he was in High School, he was chosen to be part of the Tsofim Delegation to Jewish Summer Camps in the United States and spent an amazing summer working in Texas.
In high school, he became increasingly involved in the Scouts and decided to do a “shnat sherut” year of service with Young Judaea Year Course before beginning his army service. During his year spent with Year Course, he lived in Jerusalem and Tiberius, volunteering in schools and working with the communities’ youth.
After his year of service, he joined the Israeli Navy and served there for three years on a base in Haifa. For one summer during his army service, he was able to come to CYJ to work as a ropes course specialist. When he left the Navy, Bar worked as a YJ Year Course counselor, living in Holon and supervising the participants in their volunteer placements.
After working for Year Course, Bar returned to CYJ for another summer to run the ropes course during the summer of 2007, when he accepted the position with CYJ. He works full-time hosting groups at our retreat center and has enjoyed his time living in Texas! Bar is married to Yael, and they currently live in Dallas with their sons, Nadav and Matan.
Julia Paeglis has been working full-time for CYJ since 2008. As the Director of Year Round Programs, she spends the off-season planning and managing all of CYJ’s wonderful retreats, like Man Camp, Women’s Camp, Family Camps and Spring Camp.
Growing up in New Jersey, Julia was always active in her Jewish community, but never went to a residential summer camp as a camper. During the summer of 2005, she spent her first summer as a counselor at CYJ-Texas and enjoyed it so much she kept coming back year after year. Following her senior year of college, she decided to make camping her career. In November 2014, she received her Master’s in Camp Administration and Leadership.
Julia could not be happier to be part of CYJ-Texas’s full-time staff. For her, being a part of CYJ’s awesome retreats and magical summer has been a dream come true.
Michael has been involved with overnight camping since he was 9 years old, and he started working full-time for CYJ-Texas in 2015.
He was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. During the summers, Michael would travel up to URJ Camp George in Ontario, Canada. Over the years, he was a camper, CIT, Sailing and Water-skiing specialist, and Waterfront Director.
Michael graduated in 2012 from the University of Arizona with a degree in Elementary Education. After graduation, Michael helped to open Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink in downtown Tucson. He acted as manager, working to ensure guest satisfaction.
During the year, you’ll find Michael traveling all over Texas, promoting camp, visiting families, and recruiting campers and staff.
See you this summer!
Rachel Kurinsky, CYJ’s newest
Rachel recently moved to Houston from New York City. For three years there, she had the unique privilege of working as an Inclusion Specialist with Children with Disabilities. She is very passionate about inclusion—she has a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science and her master’s in Special Education.
“I am looking forward to a wonderful summer of love, laughter, and friendship at CYJ,” says Rachel. “An inclusion program teaches unity and acceptance. This program builds strong friendships for years to come.”
In her free time, Rachel loves running, traveling, and spending time with her husband and toddler, (who campers will get to meet this summer!).
She spent many summers as both a camp counselor and assistant director at Brooklyn Heights Sports Academy. She’s excited to be returning to the Jewish summer camp community!
Tori graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Community and Nonprofit Leadership. She spent her summers at CYJ as a camper, counselor, merakezet and is thrilled to be joining the full time team as a Development Associate.
In her free time, Tori loves traveling, reading, and spending time out on the water.
Tori feels extremely fortunate to work for an organization that had such a special place in her childhood and is excited to see what the future holds.
Patty was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended a summer camp in North Carolina through middle school.
As she got older, she began spending her summers volunteering with children in Atlanta and underdeveloped communities in Ecuador and Bali. Patty studied Kinesiology at San Diego State University and thrives off of providing her services to better educate healthy habits and staying active.
Patty works full time as the Director of Sales and Customer Success for the CYJ Retreat and Conference Center. Being a part of the CYJ Retreat Center is more than just a career to Patty. She is passionate about working with various groups and promoting an active lifestyle. She finds CYJ to be a home away from home and a place where people of all backgrounds can enjoy transformative experiences. She takes pride in working for the CYJ Retreat Center and being able to provide memorable moments for all that enter the gates.
Lauren Laderman has been a part of the CYJ community since 2001 and started working full time for CYJ-Texas in 2017. She spent her summers at CYJ as a camper, counselor, and merakezet and is excited to continue her CYJ journey full time.
Lauren grew up in Houston, Texas and was an active member of the Jewish community. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Business Management. She also attended Young Judaea Year Course in Israel- a 9-month gap year program in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
She works full-time as the Year-round Programs Coordinator, planning and facilitating all CYJ retreats. She is also the Israel Programs Recruiter and you can find her all around Texas recruiting for Year Course, Machon and several other Israel programs through Young Judaea.