The Kutz Year Round Staff Team
Melissa Anton Frey is Director of the URJ Kutz Camp. Previously, Melissa served as NFTY Associate Director, NFTY Convention Director, NFTY Director of Operations, NFTY Assistant Director, regional advisor to NFTY’s Northeast Lakes and Texas-Oklahoma Regions, and curriculum author for the Regional Board Leadership Track at Kutz. A product of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Camps (Greene and Kutz) and NFTY, Melissa has been involved in youth work in various capacities with the URJ for over twenty years.
Melissa is an honors graduate of Purdue University, where she double-majored in Graphic Design and American History, and has a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Texas. Melissa’s background as a former advertising agency art director, university faculty member, URJ congregational education director, URJ camp education director, Hebrew school teacher, and junior and senior youth group advisor are reflected in her unique approach to experiential Jewish education. Melissa builds teen leadership via Jewish ethics and values, and engagement and empowerment, by fostering strong, meaningful, Jewish communities.Melissa makes her home at the Kutz Camp with her Westie, Maggie.
Kelly Biedinger‘s love for camping began as a camper at day camp in her hometown of Birmingham, AL. She has been involved on staff with the Kutz family since 2008, and joined the year-round team in 2010, currently serving as the Assistant Camp Director. Kelly has a bachelor’s degree in Restaurant and Hospitality Management from the University of Alabama. She is a recent graduate of the Yitro Fellowship, a professional development program for Assistant Camp Directors by the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Kelly truly believes that camp provides the ultimate experience as a place for our teens to grow and develop as leaders in the Jewish community. And, as an avid Alabama Crimson Tide fan, Roll Tide!
Originally from Houston, TX, Ben Tungland was deeply involved in his local TYG, TESTY, at Temple Sinai in Katy, TX. Ben spent six amazing summers at URJ Greene Family Camp before coming to Kutz as a participant in 2005, where he has spent summers and off-seasons since. Ben received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY in 2010. Over the years, Ben has spent time teaching religious school and tutoring b’nai mitzvah students in cantillation. Ben has a strong background in outdoor education, having taught the Teva major at Kutz in 2010, is a certified Wilderness First Responder, and avid alpine tower enthusiast. Ben currently serves as Assistant Director of Operations.
The Summer 2014 Co-Resident Advisor Coordinators
Mara Price hails from Georgia and currently lives in Bloomington, IN as an Engagement Associate and the Indiana University Hillel. As a graduate of the University of Georgia, Mara loves Bulldog football! She also enjoys singing, playing guitar, and belly dancing. She is excited to return to her summer home as RA Coordinator and cannot wait to meet all of the Kutz participants!
Mike Rostin is a Co-Resident Advisor Coordinator at Kutz Camp for the summer of 2014. This will be his second summer at Kutz Camp, his first being a camper in 2007. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Music Education, and is currently a Youth Advisor for his Temple Youth Group at Congregation Dor Tamid. When he is not teaching or playing music, he enjoys being outside, going to the bowling alley, and driving his truck.
The Summer 2014 Avodah/Site Coordinator
Max Hendrix was born and raised in the comforts of Kenosha, WI and ventured to Kutz as a camper the summer of 2010 and have been back every summer! I currently attend the University of Minnesota and will be a senior in the Fall of 2014. I am planning on becoming a Rabbi in the future and am incredibly excited to spend another summer at home!
The Summer 2014 Summer Events Coordinator
Tali Merdler lives by the idea that everyone is who they are for a reason. In the fall she will be a senior at Kent State University in Ohio (her home state), focusing on Cultural Anthropology and Jewish Studies. She adores frozen mango, documentaries, and a good laugh. At Kutz 2014, she will serve the community as the Summer Events Coordinator – handling schedules, planning professional development and social programs for the staff, and supervising the manager’s team. This is sure to be an incredible for everyone in Warwick, and she cannot wait for June.
The Summer 2014 Mitzvah Corps Team
Samantha Dresser is the Director of the Kutz Mitzvah Corps Program. This will be her eighth summer as part of the Mitzvah Corps team, where she has served in her current role since 2009, and previously coordinated the Mitzvah Corps peer-engagement program for two summers. She works part-time with the Kutz team from January-July, working with families and providing oversight of Mitzvah Corps staff hiring, training, and program implementation during the summer. Samantha is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and works full time as a Clinical Supervisor and Mental Health Clinician at YAI: National Institute for People with Disabilities, a New York City-based agency providing services for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Samantha has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from New York University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Michigan State University. She also has post-graduate training in Schema-Based Cognitive Therapy and significant experience in working with children, teens, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders in both clinical and recreational settings.
My name is Matthew Peven. I have been at Kutz since 2005. I have held many different positions on camp, but this summer I am one of the Co-Mitzvah Corp On-Site Coordinators. I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2010 with a degree in Elementary Education and I am currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Special Education with a focus in Autism from Oakland University. During the year, I work in a public school with individuals with Autism. Outside of work, I enjoy soccer, board games, and food.
My name is Rachel Dubowe and I am from sunny Southern California where the sunshine is plenty and the avocado is never-ending. This will be my 7th summer at Kutz and 6th summer on Mitzvah Corps staff. I graduated from UC Davis in 2012 with a degree in Human Development. After spending 6 months in Israel, I am back in my home state working in various special needs environments and exploring post college life.
The Summer 2014 Co-Program Coordinators
My name is Evan Traylor, and I just completed my second year at the University of Kansas studying political science and Jewish studies. I am an alum of the URJ Greene Family Camp and NFTY in Israel, and served as the 2012-2013 NFTY President. During the year, I am an intern with KU Hillel, a member of the KU Honors Program, and a trustee on the URJ Board.
Jordan Pelavin is joining the Kutz staff this summer as the Co-Program Coordinator. Although she is no stranger to URJ camping, Jordan is so excited to be spending her first summer at Kutz. After spending 13 summers at URJ Camp Harlam, including 4 on staff in various capacities, Jordan is ready to bring her enthusiasm about the magic of camp to Warwick. During the year Jordan studies communication and political science at Salisbury University, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Jordan loves politics, pop-culture, Parks and Recreation and making cheesy puns at any and every opportunity. After a few years away from NFTY, she is excited for a summer full of learning, growing and having fun.
The Summer 2014 Dean of Academies
Mike Fuld will be a part of the Kutz Leadership Team this summer as the Dean of Academies, where he will be providing support and supervision to the major teachers, and overseeing the development and implementation of the Leadership Academy, which includes the Temple Youth Group Leadership and Regional Board Leadership majors. During the year, Mike serves as the Regional Director of Youth Engagement for the New York Area at the Union for Reform Judaism. Prior to becoming a Regional Director, Mike served as the Senior Assistant Director of the Kutz Camp. This summer will be Mike’s 11th consecutive summer serving as a member of the Kutz staff team.
The Summer 2014 Rabbinic Deans
Rabbi Rob Nosanchuk is Senior Rabbi of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple. He, his wife Joanie Berger, and their two children Zachary and Hope, moved to Shaker Heights, OH, in 2010, after his previous service as Senior Rabbi at Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation in Reston, VA and as Associate Rabbi at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in Maryland. Rob is an alum of Kutz, having spent summers here as a participant and staff member. Rob is delighted to be joining us as co-faculty dean the first two weeks of the session. Something cool you should know about Rob – he has joined and led interfaith groups of ministers and/or imams to the Middle East to reflect on sacred sites of each tradition and to learn from institutions devoted to social change.
Rabbi Scott B. Weiner is Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel of New Rochelle, in New Rochelle, NY. He has been with the congregation since 2009. Prior to his tenure in New Rochelle, Scott served as Rabbi of the Hebrew Tabernacle Congregation in Washington Heights, NY. Earlier in his career, he served as Assistant Director of both the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) and URJ Kutz Camp. During high school he was an active participant in both. Scott will serve as co-faculty dean the second two weeks of camp, and will be joined by his wife Limor, daughters Jordan and Carmel, and their dog Vicki. Something cool you should know about Scott – In his personal commitment to active Judaism, he co-founded Running Rabbis!