Meet Our Camp Directors
Born in Philadelphia, my parents first shipped me off to summer camp in the Pocono Mountains at the age of 10 and I never looked back. It is there where I developed my passion for Jewish education and building community. I studied at the University of Pennsylvania where I received my B.A. and M.A. in Education followed by advanced coursework in Jewish Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Before joining Ramah Darom as camp director in 2008, I held professional positions on college campuses – working with Hillel at Rutgers and the University of Pennsylvania. I also served as Director of the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Learning at Hillel’s International Headquarters in Washington, D.C. My coaching resume spans the range from Division I Collegiate Rowing and to Under 6 JCC Soccer. My wife, Elana and I have four children and live in Atlanta.
Rachel Dobbs Schwartz
In 1998, I came to Ramah Darom as a staff member and felt that the experience was transformative for me as both a young Jewish adult and as a young person learning to be a professional. I couldn’t stay away and returned for the next several summers to coach soccer and eventually, take on the role of Rosh Sport. After four summers, I decided to pursue a study abroad program in Sydney, Australia as part of my degree from the University of Michigan, but I always knew that I’d be back and that camp was my home.
After graduating from the University of Michigan with a double bachelor’s degree in History and Art History, I pursued a career in education. I received a Master’s in Teaching from Emory University and went on to teach a wide variety of history courses to high school students over the next many years. Throughout my full-time teaching career, I served as a Team Lead Teacher (at Wesley International Academy) and also as the Co-Director of Student Life (at The Weber School).
I currently live in Atlanta with a fantastic family (husband, two children, and dog), and spend my free time playing music (drums and guitar), seeing live music, cooking, camping, hiking, and playing soccer and frisbee.
Audra Kaplan, PsyD
Director, Camper Care & Tikvah Support
As Director Camper Care and the Tikvah Support Program at Ramah Darom, I enjoy blending my love of camp and my passion for Judaism with my experience and knowledge as a clinical psychologist. I have been involved in both day camps and residential camp programs, as a camper, counselor, educator and director my entire life. Before joining the Ramah Darom family, I was the camp director of Camp Firefly, a day and overnight camp program of the Jewish Child and Family Services of Chicago. My clinical career has enabled me to provide individual, family and group psychotherapy; psychological assessments; supervision and training of graduate students; workshops on clinical supervision; camp consultation; and consultation services to schools and early childhood programs. I have also consulted around issues of inclusion of children with developmental and social disorders. I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and my doctorate of clinical psychology from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 1996. I have worked with Jewish Child and Family Services since 1997 and I am a Certified Autism Specialist. I have four awesome children (all third-generation Ramahniks!), private practice in clinical psychology in Chicago.
Assistant Tikvah Director
My first experience working with children with autism spectrum disorder was at Camp Yofi at Ramah Darom in 2007, and it helped shape my career path. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia and a Masters in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College of Columbia University and I worked in California for many years as a behavioral therapist.
Last summer, I returned to Camp as our Inclusion Specialist, ensuring all Tikvah supported campers, living in traditional bunks had the support they needed to have a successful summer experience. As Assistant Director, I partner with our Tikvah and Camper Care Director, Dr. Audra Kaplan, in all aspects of the Tikvah Support Program.
I’m a Camp Ramah Darom alumn (Gesher ’03) and a long-time summer staff member. After participating in Ramah Israel Seminar in 2004, I returned as Tzevet (staff) at Camp for four years and was on Ramah Israel Seminar Tzevet for one year. I am currently working as a behavior therapist for children with autism in Cooper City, Florida while I complete coursework to become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. I feel fortunate to be able to blend my love of Ramah, my training and my passion for individuals with special needs as Assistant Tikvah Director.
I am a dedicated Jewish Professional and long-time Ramah summer camp staff member. I spent five summers working at Camp Ramah in Nyack and two summers as a Rosh Edah (Unit Leader) at Camp Ramah Darom. For the last two years, I worked as the Program and Youth Assistant for the Kaplan Michell Retreat Center at Ramah Darom and recently became the Program Director of Camp Ramah Darom. A New York native, I moved down to Atlanta after graduating from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Urban Studies and Jewish Studies certificate.
Meet more of our Ramah Darom team of professionals.