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.
Yael Twito has been Assistant Camp Director at CYJ-Texas since 2007, but her connection to Young Judaea is much older. She grew up in Plano, TX where she got involved with YJ at age eight. Going all the way from Nitzanim camper through Bogrim, she moved on to Camp Tel Yehuda and Machon in Israel for the following four summers. When she graduated TY, she decided to take a gap year before college, so she joined YJ’s Year Course program for an incredible nine-month stint in the Holy Land.
After Year Course, Yael attended George Washington U., graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies. Half her college years were spent studying abroad at the University of Haifa, and she spent her summers staffing CYJ, TY, and Machon. After finishing college, she came right back to Young Judaea, spending a year working for Year Course before returning to Texas. Yael is currently in the last year of her master’s program at Touro University, studying Camping Administration and Leadership.
Yael is married to Bar Twito, and they currently live in Houston with their sons, Nadav and Matan. She is happy to be back home in Texas, working for the camp where she created so many fond childhood memories. It’s been a privilege to help create those memories and experiences for CYJ campers each and every summer!
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 and Yael decided to get married and stay in Texas to work full time for Camp. He works full-time hosting groups at our retreat center and has enjoyed his time living in Texas!
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 ReJEWvenation Weekend, 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 executive staff member, is excited to be leading camp’s new Inclusion Program for children with special needs.
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!