Year-Round Staff

Rabbi Bill Kaplan
Shalom Institute Executive Director
Since 1990, Bill has been part of the year-round SI staff, but really began his Jewish camping career at Camp JCA in 1976. Bill received his BA from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, his MBA in Nonprofit Management and Jewish Communal Service at the American Jewish University, and his rabbinical ordination from the Academy For Jewish Religion in Los Angeles. Bill is married to Rachel and has two children, Noah and Rebecca, who have grown up at the Shalom Institute and love their Camp JCA Shalom experiences.

Joel Charnick

Associate Executive Director & Camp JCA Shalom Director
Starting at Camp JCA Shalom in 1988 as a TASCer, then as a CIT, Counselor, TASC Unit Head, CIT Director, Tiyul (Teen Travel Trip) Director, Etgar (Israel Trip) Director, and Program Coordinator, Joel returned to the Shalom Institute in 2001 and has been the Director of Camp JCA Shalom since 2003. Joel graduated from the University of Arizona (go Wildcats!), went to graduate school at Colorado State University, and ultimately at American Jewish University for his MBA. It was during his time at AJU when Joel met his beshert, Rachel and they were married in September of 2011. Joel and Rachel have two children, Jonah and Lily, who are beginning their camp journeys.

Elisa Becker
Associate Director & Day Camp Director
Elisa has over 25 years of experience working in camps all over Southern California. She received her BA as well as her Teaching Credential from UC Irvine. In 2011, she started Camp JCA Shalom Day Camp for campers in 1st – 8th grades. In addition to being the Associate Director, she also serves as a Site Visitor for the American Camp Association of Southern California. Elisa loves being part of the Shalom Team.

                                               Allison David

Sarah Verity Collica
Administrative Director
A former Chaverim Unit Head and Head Counselor (2005 and 2006) and a Los Angeles native, Sarah is thrilled to be back part of the Shalom Institute team. Sarah has worked for a variety of organizations in the Jewish community, including Hillels, synagogues, and The Museum at Eldridge Street on New York’s Lower East Side. Sarah has a BA in history from UC Berkeley and an MPA in non-profit management from New York University. Sarah loves camp and is happy to be part of the year-round staff helping families experience the JCA magic!

Michelle Horowitz Cait
Shemesh Enterprises Director & Alumni Relations Coordinator
Michelle is a graduate from Lesley University in Cambridge, Ma. She has a Master’s degree in Expressive Arts Therapy. Michelle started at Camp JCA Shalom in 1988 as Drama Specialist. She worked in various Jewish Community Centers in Los Angeles as Day Camp Counselor, Unit Head, Enrichment Specialist,and Director of Children’s Services. Michelle has vast experience in the arts, group development, and event planning. She is married to Robert Cait and has three children, Justin, Spencer and Tatiana.

Arthur Pinchev
Sherut L’Olam Director & Shalom Institute TEENLAB Director
Arthur Pinchev is proud to join the roster of Jewish educators at Shalom Institute as Sherut L’Olam director. Arthur brings more than 20 years experience in youth work, camping and experiential education having directed both Camp Alonim and youth and family programs at the former Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley. Arthur received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The Evergreen State College, Washington and his Master of Science degree in education from Bank Street College, New York. He has served as a Peace Corps volunteer and training director in Lesotho, Africa. Arthur resides in Studio City with his wife Carrie Ungerman, an artist and educator. Both serve as the unofficial “aunt and uncle” to dozens of former Alonim staff offspring.

Marsha Katz Rothpan
Development & Community Engagement Director

David Starkopf
Assistant Camp & Retreat Director

Anna Latz

Ben Schillmoeller
Operations Director

William Smythe
Operations Coordinator

Davis Watson
Shemesh Organic Farm Director

Allison Blonder
Program Director

Henry Schmidt
Program Director

Maia Erickson
Development and Executive Assistant

Lori Brockman

Family Relations Coordinator
Lori Brockman is a graduate of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion where she received a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education. Lori has worked in Experiential Jewish Education for the past twenty-five years. She has extensive experience with Youth Groups and Family Education. Lori is married to Eric Grodan and has two children, Gabriel and Ayla who have grown up at Camp JCA Shalom.


Randy Childs
Adventure Program Director
Randy comes to us with a wealth of experience in outdoor education and is a nationally recognized leaders in ropes courses and experiential education. His camp experience is extensive throughout the United States – from being a camper and staff member, to raising his family at camp. Randy has always thrived on being a part of a camp family. He has a degree from Michigan State University in Environmental Education. Randy began his California outdoor experience in 1984 by playing a major role in the creation of The Wilderness Institute with his brother. Randy has been instrumental in developing and supervising our current ropes course since 1993. Randy heads the Pioneer Living program, which has active learning stations for reconnecting to our natural and cultural heritage.

Caroline Weil