Awards and Honorees
Pearl Seiden has been a tireless champion of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. In 1989 she founded Camp Dream Street: A free one-week camp for children with cancer and blood related disorders, together with their siblings. She served on the JCC Executive Committee and as Vice President of Fundraising, chairing the Gift of Community capital campaign, where over 30 million dollars was raised under her leadership. In 2010, she served a three-year term as the President of the JCC. She served on the boards of the Jewish Home at Rockleigh, Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center as well as Gilda’s Club of Northern New Jersey. She is the proud mother of four children and Bubbe of five grandchildren.
Shelley Richman Cohen
National spokesperson and advocate for inclusion of children with disabilities in the Jewish camping world, Shelley began her advocacy when seeking a mainstream Jewish camp for her son Nathaniel A"H, who had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and was a wheelchair user. No mainstream modern Orthodox camp was willing to accept him until she found NJY Camps' Camp Nesher. She subsequently joined the NJY Camps board, helping to motivate the successful inclusion of Round Lake Camp into the Milford site, in what was a groundbreaking integration of over 100 children with disabilities into a preexisting camp structure. She is the founder and director of The Jewish Inclusion Project and currently sits on the Boards of Foundation for Jewish Camp, RespectAbility a national organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities for people with disabilities, and American Friends of Beit Issie Shapiro. She lives in Manhattan with her husband Ruvan and has two married children, Jonathan and Naomi Cohen and Jackie and Oren Charnoff.
Esther Staum Katz
Esther is being honored as we celebrate 10 summers of Camp Shoshanim, our Orthodox Camp for girls. Her vision of a world in which Orthodox Jewish women have voices and choices is embodied in this camp, helping to empower our girls. Esther has been with NJY Camps since 1996 and the Director of Shoshanim since its inception in 2009. Under Esther’s leadership, Shoshanim has grown to include Yachad, as well as a Yachad vocational program. Yachad is the National Jewish Council for Disabilities’ program for campers with differing abilities who are mainstreamed into daily camp life. Esther is a member of the current cohort of the ELI program, the Executive Leadership Institute of the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Esther is the proud mother of three NJY alumni and grandmother of five future NJY Campers.