Meet the J Camps Staff

Anna Shabtay
Director of Children, Camping and Member Services 

Anna ShabtayAnna is excited to be a part of camp this summer in her first season as Director. She has been at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC for 2.5 years overseeing the membership department as well as special projects. Prior to moving to Houston, Anna served as the Senior V.P. of Communication and Special Projects at the Memphis JCC. She has a master’s degree in Jewish Non-Profit Management from Hebrew Union College and a master’s degree in Public Administration from University of Southern California. Anna is passionate about camping and believes that camp has a huge impact on children’s futures. Anna has two kids who will both be at J Camp this summer!

Julie Levine
Assistant Director of Camping 

Julie LevineJulie is EXCITED to return for her 6th year at camp surrounded by the best campers and staff in the world. Originally from Los Angeles, Julie has been in Texas for almost 40 years and considers herself a Texan at heart! Julie graduated from The University of Texas at Austin before completing her Master’s Degree in Education at The University of Houston. Since joining J Camp in 2013, Julie has directed many camps including Sports, Specialties, Junior Camps, Camp WITS and Camp Kaleidoscope. During the year, Julie has performed a variety of roles including working with Teens on the 2017 J-Serve project and leading the J’s Sport Stars program, working with children with disabilities.

Kathy Sabia
Children and Camping Program Assistant 

Kathy SabiaKathy is a familiar face at the J Camps office as she has been working for J Camps since 2009. She is an LSU graduate and worked in public education before joining the J team. Kathy is integral to the administration of J Camps and ensures that everyone is taken care of! Kathy will tell you “I like interacting with the families and making the J Camps office a welcoming environment for everyone.”

Zoe Alterman
Camp Kaleidoscope Assistant Director 

Zoe AltermanZoe Alterman is the current Children’s Program Coordinator at the J and runs KidZone, Kids Nite Out, and other Children and Family Programs.  Before moving to Houston, Zoe grew up in San Antonio and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S in Corporate Communications. Zoe has spent her entire professional career working with children, and she spent the previous 3 years teaching Reading and English in Memphis, TN as a Teach for American Corps Member.  To say Zoe loves camp is an understatement. She grew up going to camp at the San Antonio JCC and has been at Camp Champions in Marble Falls, TX for the last 15 years-as a camper, counselor, and Leadership Team Member. In her free time she enjoys doing anything outside, reading, traveling, and watching sports (especially the Spurs and Astros). Zoe is a kid at heart and she can’t wait to be at Camp Kaleidoscope this summer

Tobi Arsham
Art Camp Director 

Tobi ArshamTobi has been the Director of J Camp’s Art Camp since 2008. She currently is a full-time art teacher at Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School and is looking forward to inspiring and motivating children this summer. Tobi builds an environment where children can create and express themselves through the many mediums of art and have fun at the same time. Tobi has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art & Graphic Design.

Bonnie Blumberg
Kinder Camp Assistant Director

Bio Coming Soon

Marquise Davis
Kinder Camp Director 

Marquise is an early childhood professional originally from Birmingham, AL. She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Development and an M.S. in Psychology with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. She has worked as an educator of young children for the past 9 years and is currently a teacher at the Bertha Alyce School. This will be Marquise’s second summer as Kinder Camp Director and she can’t wait to have a great summer!

Eva De La Cruz
Theatre Camp Director 

Eva De La CruzEva has been the Youth Theatre director/choreographer at the J since the spring of 2012 and was brought onto the staff as the Youth Theatre Coordinator in the fall of 2015. During the fall and spring, she has directed over 17 JCCS and Teen Theatre productions. Prior to working at the J, Eva was the Artistic Coordinator at HITS Theatre, an outreach instructor with Main Street Theater, and an on-camera acting instructor at the Page Parkes Center of Modeling and Acting. Eva has been a member of Actors’ Equity Association since 2005 and has worked as a stage manager for over 45 local productions. Eva received her BA from the University of Houston and was the Associate Producer for the Houston Shakespeare Festival for four seasons following her graduation.

Matt First
Sports Camp Director 

Matt FirstMatt has been playing sports since about the time he could walk. He has experience in everything from gymnastics and taekwondo at a young age to football, basketball and lacrosse at the high school and college level. Matt currently is coaching high school lacrosse and playing soccer in his spare time. He is the full time Sports and Recreation Coordinator at the J.

Sarah Foster
Teen Camp Director 

Sarah FosterSarah Foster works at the J year round as the Teen Community Engagement Director. Before coming to the J, she served as the Reform Community Educator at Rutgers University Hillel and also worked as a synagogue Youth Director and in a variety of camp roles at various Jewish overnight camps. She received her Master’s Degrees in Jewish Nonprofit Management and in Religious Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and went to Skidmore College as an undergraduate. Sarah is very excited to work as Teen Camp Director and to continue to getting to know our teens over the summer while exploring Houston!

Meagan Friedman
Camp Bami Director 

Meagan FriedmanMeagan is currently the Assistant Director of Early Childhood Services for the Bertha Alyce School. She graduated from The University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology. Meagan has spent many years working as a Day Camp Director for JCCs including the New Orleans JCC for 4 years and here in Houston for 6 years. She believes in the importance of summer camp for children and is looking forward to a great summer.

Lee Hutchens
Aquatics Director

Lee HutchensLee grew up in Virginia around a pool as a swimmer, teaching lessons and lifeguarding. He received his Psychology degree from East Carolina University. For the past 17 years Lee has been working in aquatics promoting and teaching water safety, correcting technique, improving endurance and making sure to create a safe and fun environment for all swimmers at the pool. He has a passion and energy for everything aquatics and enjoys using that to create a fun and safe environment for everyone at the J.

Bryan Kiser
Gymnastics Camp Director

Bryan KiserBryan has been coaching recreational to elite/Pro athletes and entrepreneurs for over 31 years. As the Assistant Gymnastics Director at the J, Bryan gets the pleasure of leading and    Directing Gymnastics Camps where the focus is on safety, FUN and the learning of basic gymnastics skills. As a Gymnastics expert and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist   (CSCS), Bryan feels all children should be exposed to gymnastics and or gymnastics activities.

Erik Kiser
Tennis Camp Director 

Erik KiserErik has been teaching tennis for over 15 years in Corpus Christi and Houston. He played Division I collegiate tennis and earned a Silver medal at the 1999 AAU Junior Olympics as a tennis player. Erik worked with past presidents of the USPTA and Hall of Fame Coaches. For the last six years, Erik assisted J Camps with the Tennis and Junior Tennis Camps – he was once a camper himself. With his knowledge of the game and love for the sport, Erik brings a passion to this state-of-the-art tennis facility and is looking forward to sharing his knowledge with the campers this summer.  

Jamie Levit
Circus & Dance Camp Director 

Jamie LevitDance education has always been a part of Jamie Levit's life, having danced since the age of two. Jamie's classical training has been in ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance, lyrical/contemporary, pointe, hip hop and acro tumbling, as well as being a competitive dancer from the ages of 4-19. She is a graduate of Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA). In 2007, Jamie returned to become a full-time ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical and hip hop instructor at the Carol Ehler Dance School in Copperfield. She now relishes the opportunity to share her knowledge and love for the art of dance with the JCC dance program and at J Camps Dance Camp this summer!

Jill Levy
Camp Kaleidoscope Director 

Rabbi Jill LevyRabbi Jill grew up at the J in Houston as a young child. She graduated from Bellaire High School in 1994 and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and a Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University. Rabbi Jill spent a number of summers on the staff of Camp Ramah in Georgia. While in Rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Jill was a Wexner Graduate Fellow and served as student rabbi in several different congregations.   Levy most recently served as the Director of Congregational Learning at the Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Synagogue in Seattle, Washington.  Rabbi Levy became the director of Camp Kaleidoscope last summer out of her passion for creating a fun, meaningful and Jewish environment.  She and her husband, Matt, have two daughters, Nava and Miri, who both love J Camps.