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.