URJ Heller High has a dedicated team of staff members with years of experience working with high school teens. They are passionate about teaching and caring for the health and well-being of each of our participants.
Rabbi Loren Sykes, Director of Teen Immersive Israel Programs, Principal of Heller High
Rabbi Sykes grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago where Temple Menorah played a significant role in his early Jewish experiences. Loren was a lifelong Jewish camper and an active member in synagogue and youth group life. He holds BA degrees in European Intellectual History and in Talmud, as well as an MA in Jewish studies and rabbinic ordination. Rabbi Sykes started his tenure as principal in October, 2015 and was appointed to oversee all of the URJ Teen Israel programs in December, 2019.
Rabbi Sykes brings seventeen years of senior leadership in Jewish camping to his position as principal of Heller High. He was the founding executive director of Camp Ramah Darom in Clayton, Georgia, and was Director of Camp Ramah Wisconsin, as well. He created Camp Yofi: Family Camp for Jewish Families with Children with Autism, a groundbreaking program for which he received the Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education in 2006. Rabbi Sykes has vast experience in not-for-profit leadership and management as well as years of volunteer service on the boards of directors of several Jewish day schools. He has three children, two living and working in Washington DC and one who is a second year student at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He lives in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem with his dog, Hamilton.
David Solomon, Associate Principal
David has worked with NFTY in Israel and the Heller High program for 20+ years. In addition to his own teaching responsibilities in the general studies program, he is also the general studies coordinator. David, known and loved for his special sense of humor, hails from Johannesburg, South Africa, and made aliyah in 1985. After completing a B.A. in History and English Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, David gained certification as a secondary school teacher and taught in some of the most prestigious high schools in Jerusalem before joining Heller High in a full-time capacity.
Robin Kulwin, Associate Principal, Director of Admissions (U.S); Associate Director of Teen Israel Immersive Israel Programs
Robin Kulwin has worked with Heller High since 2012. She's lived in Montclair, NJ since 1990, though now spends much of her time at Paradox Lake in the Adirondacks of NY. Her professional career included stints in commercial banking in Mississippi, public service in the state governments there and in Pennsylvania, and a decade with the Project Finance/Global Power Group at Chase Securities Inc. Robin served six years on the Montclair Board of Education, two as President, and is currently on the board of the Seagle Opera Festival. she and her husband are the parents of two post university EIE alums.
Judy Goldstein, Director of Student Services (Israel)
Judy graduated with honors from Tel Hai College. She was a Commander and Hebrew teacher in Basic training for new immigrants from 1998 to 2001, and was also the commander of a course that trains teachers and prepares them to be commanders and Hebrew teachers. Later, she spent six years of hadracha as a youth counselor in the Noam youth movement, and a number of years as a counselor and educator for NFTY summer programs . Last year Judy was the Director of Counselors and Co-curricular Activities, and also the Camp Director for part of the NFTY in Israel summer programs.
Evan Wertheim, M.A., Director of Jewish Learning (Israel)
Evan grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where he developed a lifelong love for the Jewish People and Israel. His Jewish identity was shaped by a home committed to Judaism, active participation in synagogue life, and NFTY events (especially his trip to Israel in 1999). Upon finishing his BA at George Washington University, Evan served in the AmeriCorps VISTA program working with people with special needs. In 2007, he made aliyah and has continued to be involved in Jewish life, especially as a member of Achva, a pluralistic synagogue in Modiin. He holds an MA in Tanakh and Talmud from the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem. Evan is thrilled to be a part of the staff and share his love for Am Yisrael with the students. He has worked at Heller High since 2015 and lives in Modiin with his wife, Yaara, and children, Mati, Idan, and Gili.
David Alon, M.A., Jewish History Teacher (Israel)
David, a NFTY alum, grew up in the Reform Movement and was formerly a madrich for NFTY's summer program and the education director at URJ Camp Harlam. He received his BA in religion from the University of Rochester in 1999, and spent the next year in Israel as a participant in the Jewish Agency's Project Otzma for young leadership. As part of this experience, he chose to engage in a course of studies at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. David subsequently received his MA from Brandeis University in 2003 in the field of management and also pursued a graduate cluster in Jewish studies. Upon completing his Masters, David made Aliyah to Israel and enrolled for another year of learning at the WUJS Institute-Arad, focusing on Hebrew language, Tanach, Jewish history, and Zionism. Later, he enlisted for six months in the IDF and trained with the artillery corps, where he served as a reserve soldier for 11 years. Before coming to Heller High, David was a teacher in the Israeli public school system in the Negev. Also a licensed Israel tour guide, David is excited to be a part of the Jewish History faculty, where he has the great opportunity to share with the students his passion for Eretz Yisrael and being a part of the Jewish people.
Paul Reichenbach, Immediate Past Director of Camp and Israel Programs (U.S)
Paul J. Reichenbach served as a senior member of the Union for Reform Judaism staff for over 30 years. He served as Co-Director of the Kutz Camp, Director of the college department and for 25 years as Director of Israel Programs. He was the Director of Camping and Israel Programs with principal responsibilities for the 15 URJ Camps and high school and college programs in Israel. A leader in the field of Informal Jewish Education, Paul has been Chairman of the North American Conference on Informal Jewish Education. A proud alumnus of NFTY and New York University, Paul has three wonderful children who are all alumni of NFTY.