Last month, Ramah Berkshires was thrilled to welcome Yoni Saposh to our year-round team as our new Chief Operating Officer. We recently sat down with Yoni to learn more about his deep roots at Ramah Berkshires, and his transition into this new role.
Where does your Ramah Berkshires history begin?
I started coming to Camp when I was 4-months-old as a staff kid. We have a long family history at Berkshires. My parents met here. A lot of my family and my extended family also met their spouses here at Camp. And I met my wife Arielle here at Camp.
When did you and Arielle meet?
Well, she’s a year younger than me so we were not in the same edah. Actually, my first memory of her is when I was in Tzeirim and she was in Shorashim. There were so many campers on A-side that summer that some of the Tzeirim boys lived on B-side. I remember walking over to A-side with a friend of mine who wanted to talk to a friend in Shorashim and Arielle was there. I don’t think I even spoke to her that time or even saw her again until years later in 1998 when I was back in camp as a 2nd year staff member. We started dating that summer. I was already at Penn and she was about to start her freshman year there. We got married in 2005.
What is one of your first significant Camp memories?
As a staff kid, I have a distinct memory of playing in the mud right in front of the chadar ochel. But I think the memory that stands out to me the most from when I was a camper is Friday night davening. I loved Kabbalat Shabbat up on the stadium courts and the singing – it just always felt really beautiful and special.
What made you decide to make the professional transition to CRB?
I had been working for Black Rock Financial Management for 18 years – well, 20 years if you count my two years as an intern. I actually realized that when I told the President of the company that I was leaving, it was almost 20 years to the day that he had originally hired me. I think one of the main reasons I found my way back to CRB as a professional is that, over the past few years, I had a significant lay leadership role in Camp and I really enjoyed it. I realized that if we can find a way to strengthen the independent confident thinking of our children and young staff then they will be better off and the American Jewish community and America as a whole will be better off. At my last board meeting before taking this position, Jane-Rachel asked us to write down one sentence to describe what Camp is. I wrote: A place and community to raise, support and build confident, strong, caring, independent Jews.
When you were a camper, did you ever imagine yourself in some type of leadership role at Camp?
When I was 21 years old and took the job at Black Rock, I said to a close camp friend of mine at the time, that I was going to work in finance for 20 years and then work for Camp.
Ok, lightning round. Finish the sentence:
My favorite camp meal as a camper was…Bishul. And I liked the Shabbat lunch cold cuts. I will say that some years the cold cuts were better than others, but I did really like the cold cuts.
When I am not working I am…Spending time with my family.
Something many people don’t know about me is…I love photography and taking pictures.
If I were not in this role at Camp, I would be…The Camp photographer.
A fun fact about me is…I do triathlons.
As we were wrapping up the conversation, Yoni shared one more very touching story:
I started training in 2007 for triathlons only because Arielle was studying for the BAR exam in our apartment and I needed to find something to do to stay out of her way. One thing that worried me was that I was not a good swimmer and had never been one. In fact, I only passed the swim test to get a yellow tag one of my last summers at Camp. So when I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon my brother walked up to me and handed me a green tag. It was very sweet.
Welcome back to Ramah Berkshires, Yoni!