We are thrilled to welcome Rachel Dobbs Schwartz, our new Assistant Director, to our year-round Ramah Darom team.
Rachel is a long-time member of the Ramah Darom family. In 1998, Rachel joined Ramah Darom’s camp staff. She served as a soccer coach for two years and as rosh sport for one summer. Fourteen years later, Rachel came back to Ramah Darom this past summer to serve as rosh machmaut (head of camping, biking and farming).
Before this summer, last year Rachel served as an 8th grade team lead and history teacher at Wesley International Academy. Prior to working for Wesley, Rachel was the co-director of student life and a full-time teacher of modern Jewish history and the Arab-Israeli conflict at The Weber School.
Rachel has her bachelor of arts degree in history and art history from The University of Michigan and her masters of arts degree in teaching from Emory University.
We sat down with Rachel to catch up and learn more about what she likes to do in her free time, what three things she can’t live without, and why she loves Ramah Darom.
Read below to see our Q&A with Rachel, and please give her a big, warm welcome to the Ramah Darom year-round team.
Where did you grow up?
As a child, I grew up in Long Branch, New Jersey. We moved to the Clearwater, Florida area when I was 8 years old.
When did you first come to Ramah Darom? I was 17 years old when I started attending Camp
Ramah Darom as a staff member. It was 1998, Camp Ramah Darom’s second summer. During the first summer, I was on USY Pilgrimage in Israel. When we returned, a group of us weren’t sure what we were going to do the following summer, and we all ended up going to Ramah Darom. Many of us are still friends today!
What inspired you to pursue a career in Jewish education?
I would say that first, my high school teachers are really who catapulted me into education in general. My experience in USY and attending summer camp as a child also had an influence on me – the amount of growth that happens during those experiences is tremendous. Then, of course, being a young counselor at Ramah Darom inspired me to always be tied to Jewish communal and educational work. I just care a lot about Jewish youth. I think growing up in a place that had a really small Jewish community also made me realize how important it is to feel connected.
What drew you to this role?
It requires the perfect combination of the things I love to do paired with the skills I have that are the strongest. I love the active role at camp. I love managing logistics. On the education side, most of the work I’ve done that I’ve succeeded in the most has been in the experiential area. I feel I have a lot to offer the specialists and rashei edah on how to be an informal educator. I’m looking forward to passing my knowledge on.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to run. I’m a big sports fan – I’ve played soccer my whole life. I also love camping and the outdoors. I love to read, to listen to music and of course to spend time with my family and friends.
Tell us about your family.
My husband, Pete, just finished his MBA at Emory’s MBA program. He has been in the entertainment and media industry for 20 years and currently works for Price Waterhouse Coopers as a senior associate. My daughter, Isabelle (Izzy), is three years old, and Osi, our dog, is seven. I also am actually 35 weeks pregnant and have a little boy on the way!
Finish these sentences:
If I weren’t a Jewish educator, I would be:
On the Appalachian trail.
One thing most people don’t know about me is:
I was a drummer in a Southern rock band called Diesel Jones.
Three things I can’t live without are:
Music, one cup of coffee in the morning and a kitchen. I need to cook.
If I could invite anyone over for dinner, living or passed, I would choose:
Abraham Lincoln or David Ben-Gurion. You know, whoever is available.
I love Ramah Darom because:
It feels like home. It feels like family. It creates opportunity like nowhere else does.