Camp Judaea Announces New Executive Director

The Board of Directors of Camp Judaea is thrilled to announce that professional camping legend and CJ alumnus Walter Synalovski is returning to CJ as Executive Director effective August 21, 2017. After serving as the Director of Camp Judaea from 1992 to 1995, Walter was the director of Cedar Lake Camp in Pennsylvania for 14 years and will complete his seventh year as the Director of Camp Mah-Kee-Nac in Massachusetts this summer.

“Camp Judaea holds such a special place in my heart and I am incredibly excited to return as Executive Director,” Synalovski said. “The Zionist mission of Camp Judaea still resonates with me today like it did when I spent the 1984-85 year participating in Young Judaea’s Year Course in Israel. For me to be able to bring my camping experience and leadership back to where it all started is truly wonderful. I’m coming home.”

Board Chair Sam Levy said, “Walter’s hire is a home run for Camp Judaea. He’s friendly, warm, and engaging; he has a wealth of camping experience; and he’s a CJ alumnus. It’s the perfect mix that we’ve been seeking, and we are beyond excited to have found an Executive Director to lead us into the future.” Jeremy J. Fingerman, CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, commented that “hiring Walter is great news for Camp Judaea and for the field of Jewish camp. Walter has earned a well-regarded and highly-respected reputation over his 25 years in the industry. We have confidence he will help continue the outstanding performance of CJ and will contribute much to the growth of the field.”

Walter is returning to CJ at an exciting time for the summer camp. Enrollment has grown to a record high, with 650 children slated to attend camp this summer. To accommodate the growth, CJ is upgrading its facilities, including building a new dining hall that will be ready for the summer of 2017. CJ also plans to add another cabin village, build a new arts center, and complete numerous other projects in the coming years. Synalovski marveled at how much camp has grown in the 22 years since his tenure as director in the 1990s. “The new cabins and brand new dining hall are state of the art. They show that the Board is committed to implementing the organization’s strategic plan. I know that camp will be in great hands under Leah Zigmond’s leadership this coming summer, and I look forward to working together with Leah starting in August to help CJ reach new heights.”

Walter was born in Puerto Rico and received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida International University. After attending Year Course and graduating from FIU, he worked in Miami as a Young Judaea Regional Director. He is fluent in English and Spanish and has two daughters, Lizzy (22) and Rachel (20).

Camp Judaea, located on 123 acres in beautiful Hendersonville, NC, is an independent not-for profit organization serving boys and girls ages 7-16. Camp Judaea’s mission is to provide a safe, fun, nurturing community where children, teens, and young adults grow as individuals, build lifelong friendships, develop leadership skills, and establish enduring connections with Judaism, Israel, and the natural environment.

8 Ways to get to Camp Judaea’s Alumni Camp

August 4-6, CJ young alumni are invited back to camp for a weekend of nostalgia, friends, and fun! For many of our participating alumni, it has been a while since they’ve had to fill out transportation forms and make their way to 48 Camp Judaea Lane. To help them make their arrangements, we’ve put together this list.

Camp Judaea Alumni ages 22-35, Don’t miss: Kabbalat Shabbat overlooking the lake, a hysterical oneg, late-night basketball, watching the softball game from the pool, Shabbat shira, an epic rikkud party, s’mores around a fire, bagel cheers, and more! Your favorite camp memories with all your camp friends in ONE weekend.

Bring your counselor, bring your bunkmate, bring your banquet date, bring your BO, bring your spouse (but don’t bring your kids!) and tell your boss you’re #GoingBacktoCJ2017!

Click here for more information about Camp Judaea Alumni Camp
Click here to register for Camp Judaea Alumni Camp– $199 until May 31st! After this date, price will go up to $240.

Contact Elana at with questions or for more info.

What’s New at CJ?

With our summer season just around the corner, the Camp Judaea team has been working around the clock to make sure that camp is ready to welcome our 140 staff members and 650 campers!

Graded “A” and Approved!

The new Chadar Ochel (dining hall) is officially “approved for use” by the State of North Carolina’s Health Department!!!!

Click here to view the photo album of the new Chadar Ochel progress from beginning to end…



Fishing in the lake at Camp Judaea has become one of our favorite activities– it’s among the most popular of chug (elective) selections! The lake is stocked with fish and ready for all sorts of fun!








Before last summer, we resurfaced our Kadur-Sal (Basketball) Courts. THIS SUMMER we have added a new shade and seating structure behind the courts. Audiences and fans will be able to watch the game comfortably, and it is also another great option for eda (unit) meeting places. Check it out!

And last but not least: Our wonderful maintenance team was kind and creative enough to add a Chicken Condo to our Kibbutz! Now our summer feathered friends will have another shelter and get plenty of climbing exercise!



We can’t wait to show off our beautiful camp and share our 57th summer with our CJ family!

Meet Amos Pomp: Chalutzim Merakez

Amos Pomp, from Chapel Hill, NC, will return to Camp Judaea this summer as the Chalutzim Merakez. Having joined the CJ family in 2007, this will be his ninth summer spent at camp and his fourth summer as a staff member.

This will be Amos’s third time on the Chalutzim Outward Bound trip, as he participated as a camper in 2012 and as a madrich in 2016. He also completed an 85-day Outward Bound course in Costa Rica in the fall of 2015. Upon the completion of this summer’s Outward Bound trip, Amos will have 115 days of Outward Bound, including 128 solo hours, under his belt. We think he’s pretty qualified for this position.

Amos is a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He enjoys sunny and slightly breezy days, but is looking forward to powering through a few thunderstorms this summer at camp.

Meet Joe Silber: Bogrim Merakez

Joe Silber was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Aventura, FL when he was 12. This summer he will be the Bogrim Merakez!

He studies Hospitality and Restaurant Management at FIU with hopes of a future as a successful restaurateur.

Joe began his Camp Judaea journey in 2009 as a Kesher camper and returned again in 2010 for Bogrim. His favorite memory is from the Bogrim trip to Washington, D.C. This will be Joe’s third summer as a CJ staff member.

Joe is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan. “My dad and his brothers have been Steelers fans since the ’70s ever since they attended a football camp in Pittsburgh and were coached by the Steelers players,” Joe explains. “It’s a family tradition.”

Meet Coby Tuchman: Kesher Merakez

Say “Shalom” to Coby Tuchman, the 2017 Kesher Merakez from Plantation, FL.

Coby studies Film, TV, and Business at New York University. This will be his fifth summer as a staff member following his many summers as a camper. He recalls his favorite day of Bogrim 2010: Yom Sport. “What we lacked in athletic ability,” Tuchman reminisces, “we more than made up for in ruach.”

Coby is proud to share that he can do “that raindrop sound á la Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Meet Leon Faigenblat: Tsofim Merakez

Leon Faigenblat, known as Papito to some of his friends, will be the Tsofim Merakez this summer!

He was born in Bogota, Colombia but grew up in Hollywood, Florida. He currently attends Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL and will be starting at the University of Florida in the fall.  In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer (really any sport) and Xbox.

Leon was a Camp Judaea camper from Sayarim through Bogrim, listing his favorite memory as living in the Tabins with his friends during their Kesher summer.  He participated in our MIT (madrichim in training) program and Young Judaea’s Machon before his senior year of high school, then went on Young Judaea’s Year Course after graduating.

This will be his fifth summer working at Camp Judaea and his second summer in a supervisory role.  Welcome back, Leon!

Meet Jackie Hajdenberg: Sayarim Merakezet

It is so fitting that Jackie Hajdenberg, our 2017 Sayarim Merakezet, joined the CJ family as a Sayarim camper ten years ago in 2007– what a way to come full circle!

Her favorite memory as a camper was being a member of the Teva (nature) chug (elective) each summer.  She fondly remembers making organic soaps and lip balms, having picnics by the lake, and even starting to design and build the layout for the beautiful garden that we have today.  Her positive camp experience led to her participation in our MIT (madrichim in training) program in 2013.  She worked as a counselor the following two summers and returned in 2016 as the Oranim Merakezet.

Jackie grew up in Maitland, FL, which is just outside of Orlando, and now attends Barnard College at Columbia University where she studies Political Science.  Her hobbies include rock climbing (bouldering), traveling, cooking, and camping.