Camp Seneca Lake Seeks Trip Leader for its “CSL in Israel” 2018 Summer Program

Camp Seneca Lake is seeking a dynamic Jewish educator and trip leader for our Camp Seneca Lake “CSL” in Israel program, a month-long immersive Israel experience for sixteen-year-old/ entering high school juniors. Our 2018 trip will take place from Sunday, June 24 – Wednesday, July 25. The CSL in Israel Trip Leader must oversee and manage all on-the-ground aspects of the CSL in Israel trip during the duration of the program. This includes working with the staff team on the ground – American and Israeli, implementing the planned itinerary, managing camper issues, overseeing supplemental Jewish programming and Shabbat experiences, coordinating rooming, etc. The CSL in Israel Trip Leader will work closely with the JCC Director of Jewish Life to ensure programmatic success.

The CSL in Israel Program:

CSL in Israel is a pluralistic program for Jewish teens, all of whom have spent at least one summer at Camp Seneca Lake. Our month-long immersive program exposes participants to the beauty, depth, and complexity of Israel from the inside out. Participants travel the entire country – hiking, touring, tasting, learning, and exploring. Each Shabbat is celebrated with a different community, enabling participants to experience some of the many ways that Israelis celebrate and observe Shabbat. The program includes time at several kibbutzim, as well as in all major cities. Additionally, participants spend a Shabbat with host families in Modi’in, Rochester’s “Partnership2Gether” community in Israel.

The CSL in Israel program aims to create positive, purposeful opportunities for its participants to learn about and connect with Israel – past, present, and future – on a personal level. We strive to provide participants with a deep, nuanced understanding of Israeli history and culture, so that all participants may begin to develop a relationship with Israel that is unique and meaningful to them. While the trip is certainly Zionist, it is not pro-aliyah. Rather it focuses on how we as American Jews can relate to Israel as both a spiritual and religious homeland, and a complex modern nation-state.

CSL in Israel strives to enrich the character and personal development of participants by providing a supportive, open environment in which they can be themselves, question and think critically, grow personally, and learn how to balance their personal needs with the needs of a group on the go. CSL in Israel strives to challenge each participant to think deeply about who they want to be, and how they want to relate to and participate in the world around us, Jewish and non. We are confident that the CSL in Israel experience will last well beyond the teens’ time together, and serve as a one of the most significant and influential summers of their lives long into the future.

Jewish Practices on CSL in Israel:

CSL in Israel is nondenominational. Sometimes Shabbat is celebrated with just the CSL in Israel community, utilizing the Camp Seneca Lake siddur and songbook (potentially accompanied by a live guitar). Sometimes Shabbat is celebrated in partnership with a local synagogue – Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox – as a way to expose participants to the many different ways that Israelis (and Jews) celebrate and observe Shabbat. The group does occasionally drive on Shabbat. In terms of kashrut, the vast majority of food provided is kosher, with occasional exceptions most typically being an unhechshered snack bar. Participants may purchase and eat what they wish during free time and in their rooms. CSL in Israel is deeply committed to all types of pluralism, and encourages participants and staff to “be themselves” within the structure of the group. That said, it is unlikely that someone who is “shomer Shabbat” in a more traditional sense will feel comfortable in the group, and the trip leader must be willing to drive on Shabbat and fully participate in services of any denomination.

General Trip Leader Responsibilities and Expectations:

  • Be responsible for the general health and safety of the participants
  • Establish an atmosphere in which participants feel secure, happy, and part of the group
  • Supervise participants under their immediate care at all time
  • Make sure participants adhere to program rules
  • Set a good example in all areas of program life; act as a role model
  • Actively participate in group activities
  • Be drug-free (including paraphernalia) and alcohol free while on the program
  • Avoid physically intimate relationships with all participants
  • Work closely with the JCC Director of Jewish Life and the Authentic Israel provided tour guide to implement the CSL in Israel program and planned itinerary
  • Work with the tour guide to effectively supervise and manage the security/medic and bus driver
  • Supervise the junior counselors provided by CSL
  • Oversee supplemental Jewish programming and Shabbat experiences
  • Coordinate rooming; ensure special dietary needs are met
  • Work with the JCC Director of Jewish Life to manage camper and families issues
  • Work with the JCC Director of Jewish Life to effectively communicate with parents and families about the trip, both generally and in terms of specific, personal issues as they arise


Specific Trip Leader Qualifications:

  • Have traveled to Israel as staff (junior or senior) on a teen or young adult peer trip
  • Have strong group management skills, and a willingness to enforce program policies and staff requirements
  • Be an exceptional communicator with parents, families, and JCC supervisors
  • Be able to speak about personal Jewish and Israel-related experiences in a natural, organic way
  • Be fully committed to pluralism – politically, religiously, and beyond – both within American Jewish society and in Israel
  • Be physically able to participate in at least the vast majority of group activities, including occasional hikes and camping, and extensive daily walking
  • Be committed to continuing the mission and values of CSL while in Israel
  • Be comfortable participating in (and potentially taking a leading role during) pluralistic, CSL-style Shabbat experiences, both at host synagogues and just with the group
  • Be comfortable helping teens debrief and process difficult, varied, and sometimes unexpected experiences, including but not limited to group exposures to religious and political diversity within Israeli society, and visits to sites such as Har Herzl and Yad VaShem

Job Details:

  • Salary Range: Commensurate with Experience
  • Expected Time Frame of Employment: June 24 – July 25, 2017, with consistent communication and pre-trip coordination with JCC Director of Jewish Life and Director of Camp Seneca Lake beginning in early April, as needed
  • Please note there will also be a mandatory 2-3 day staff training workshop prior to June 24 scheduled to best accommodate the schedules of all involved

To Apply:

  1. Please submit your resume, with the names and contact information of three references to Joy Getnick, JCC Director of Jewish Life, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. References can be a combination of professors/teachers, employers/supervisors, and peers or friends.
  2. Please contact Joy Getnick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 585-461-2000 x239 with any questions about the CSL in Israel Program or this job posting.


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