As Ramah Day Camp celebrates its 20th season, Lori is delighted to be at the helm for her 18th summer. Born and raised in upstate New York, she spent many summers at Camp Ramah in New England as a camper, counselor, and Rosh Aidah (unit head). Upon graduation from Rutgers University, Lori taught for several years at the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, Massachusetts. She later earned a master’s degree in history from Carnegie Mellon University. In Chicago, before becoming the director of Ramah Day Camp, Lori helped start the Board of Jewish Education's Marshall Jewish Learning Center. She also taught at the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School.
As director at Ramah Day Camp, Lori is motivated every day by a desire to pass on a strong sense of Jewish identity, values, and traditions. “These are things that can’t go home in a backpack. The gift of a Jewish camp experience is something that lasts a lifetime,” she says with a smile as she quotes the tagline, “Ramah Day Camp is where fun and friendship build Jewish lives.” She can’t wait to welcome you to camp this summer!
Judy worked as a synagogue education director for almost 30 years in the Chicago area before launching eJewcate Me, Inc., an online Hebrew and religious school, several years ago. While formal Jewish education is in her blood, Judy has found that being with the campers in a totally immersed Jewish environment has been tremendously rewarding, as well as fun. She is also the immediate Past President of the Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago, where she still serves on the Board of Directors. Judy belongs to Anshe Tikvah Congregation, where her son Rob serves as the Rabbi and Cantor. Judy has three grown children and three grandchildren. In her limited free time, Judy loves to read, sew, quilt, work out, and play Words with Friends.
Scott Topal is the Director of Operations of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and Ramah Day Camp. In this capacity, Scott is responsible for the finances and operations of both camps. Prior to his work with Ramah Wisconsin, Scott worked for seven-and-a-half years with Accenture as a management consulting manager. He has led teams and advised global financial, pharmaceutical, and government clients to leverage new technology, launch new internal departments, and improve operational efficiency.
Scott is a native New Yorker and lifelong summer camp enthusiast. He graduated from Northwestern University, where he studied learning and organizational change, and business institutions (by day), and served as president of Hillel (by night). He has a longtime connection to Ramah, having spent five summers at Camp Ramah in Nyack as a counselor, s'gan (assistant) rosh eidah, assistant director of communications and program director – focusing on logistics, risk management and operations.
Ilisa grew up in Homewood, Illinois, (Go Vikings!) and moved to Evanston after marrying her wonderful husband Mike in 1988. They now live in Deerfield with their three fabulous children, Ari, Mason, and Shira. Ilisa received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Washington University in St. Louis in 1987. Out of school she worked for a public accounting firm and later as the controller of the International Academy of Merchandising and Design. She left the workforce in 1996 when her son Ari was born and returned to working outside her home in 2010 when she began at Ramah Day Camp. Ilisa attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin for three summers (1979–1981) as a camper and came back to join the staff for an additional four years (1983–1986) in one of her most favorite jobs—counselor. All three of her children have attended Ramah Day Camp and Ramah Wisconsin.