URJ Announces New Directors for Specialty Camps to Engage Unaffiliated Jewish Youth

New Jewish Science and Technology Camp to Build on Success of Jewish Sports Camp

October 16, 2012, New York, NY - The Union for Reform Judaism is proud to announce new directors for its two specialty camps. Eric Lightman will direct the new URJ 6 Points Science and Technology Academy and Alan Friedman will oversee the already highly successful URJ 6 Points Sports Academy.

Both camps aim to attract a new cohort of campers, who, were it not for the sports or science components of the programs, would probably not enroll in a Jewish camp. Funding for both URJ 6 Points Academies is made possible by the Foundation for Jewish Camps (FJC) Specialty Camps Incubator grants, jointly funded by The Jim Joseph and AVI CHAI Foundations.

"The URJ is thrilled to have both Alan Friedman and Eric Lightman as new members of our team," said Director of URJ Camping and Israel Programs Paul Reichenbach, "They are leading the effort to grow and establish specialized camping for young people who want camp experiences in sports or science and technology, that are filled with fun, friendship and skill acquisition, but that are also intentionally and joyfully Jewish. Alan and Eric join an exceptional group of URJ camp professionals who are creative and entrepreneurial leaders in their field."

Lightman to Head 6 Points Science and Technology Academy

Eric Lightman, a long-time camping professional with an impressive background in computer science, will become founding director of the URJ 6 Points Science and Technology Academy, to open near Boston in summer 2014. The camp will serve upwards of 600 campers entering grades 6-10 and will build on the growing interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to attract unaffiliated and currently unengaged Jewish families.

URJ 6 Points Science and Technology Academy will not only engage campers’ curiosity about the world through hands-on scientific exploration; it will immerse them in a vibrant community filled with Jewish experiences and connections to Israel. Judaism will infuse all aspects of the camp experience through song sessions, blessings at meals, Shabbat celebrations, and the presence of Israeli staff. Campers will develop meaningful Jewish friendships and create shared Jewish memories.

Lightman is an experienced Jewish communal professional who was a long-time camper and staff member at Capital Camps in Maryland. He has a degree in computer science from the University of Maryland and worked as a software engineer for MicroStrategy, Inc., an international business intelligence firm. Lightman participated in Project Otzma, a 10-month volunteer and learning experience in Israel, and served as teen services director at the Weinstein JCC in Richmond, VA. He received the prestigious JCC Association Graduate Scholarship and the Taub Foundation Fellowship, which enabled him to pursue graduate studies at New York University in public administration and Hebrew and Judaic studies. Most recently, Lightman was the director of the 2012 JCC Maccabi Games in Rockland County, New York.

"I am incredibly excited to begin work on the new 6 Points Science and Technology Academy, which will require tackling not only the logistical challenges of running a summer camp, but also the task of crafting a program that melds Judaism and science into a single, cohesive experience," said Lightman. "I look forward to sharing these meaningful and impactful experiences with hundreds of Jewish teenagers each summer."

Friedman to Direct 6 Points Sports Academy

Alan Friedman, the former director of a leading sports camp and a thriving Jewish residential camp, will assume the helm at Six Points Sports Academy, a Reform Jewish sports camp in Greensboro, NC. At 6 Points Sports Academy, Jewish children entering grades 4 to 11, participate in top-level sports training alongside the beloved traditions of Reform Jewish camping.

Friedman was active at Camp Mah-Kee-Nac, a private boys’ sports camp in Lenox, MA, since he was 12 years old – first as a camper and then as a CIT, group leader and finally director. In 2006 Alan took his passion for informal Jewish education and summer camping and became the executive director of Camp Mountain Chai, a Jewish residential summer camp and year-round retreat center in Southern California, where he grew the camp from 125 to 550 campers. Friedman was active in NFTY throughout high school and spent ten years working as senior youth group advisor at four Reform congregations in the northeast. He earned a degree in Communications and Business Management from Ithaca College and has had a successful advertising career.

"I am excited to join the 6 Points Sports Academy team," said Friedman. "I look forward to building on the huge success of the past three years as we continue to offer campers the unique opportunity to develop athletic skills while being part of a caring Jewish camp community. I will ensure that 6 Points Sports continues to be a special place where campers and staff can become the next generation of proud Jewish athletes."

URJ Camp and Israel Programs serve more than 11,000 young people each summer. Responding to demand, the overall URJ camping program has dramatically expanded in the past few years. For more information, visit www.urjcamps.org.