Meet Our Staff
Leah Zigmond was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Go Steelers!) and recently moved to Phoenix after spending 6 years in Atlanta, Georgia while serving as Associate Director and Interim Executive Director of Camp Judaea and, previously, Assistant Director of Camp Ramah Darom.
Prior to Atlanta, Leah spent 13 years living and working on Kibbutz Lotan in Israel’s Southern Arava Desert. Much of this time was spent in Lotan’s Center for Creative Ecology including six years as the Center’s Director of Education and Associate Director of the Living Routes semester abroad programs in Israel.
When she’s not at camp Leah loves hiking, reading, doing yoga, and hanging out with her two boys, Yaniv and Amit, and her husband Simon. Email Leah
Rabbi Nicole Berne grew up in sunny Los Angeles, CA. She fell in love with Judaism as a young child, but had to wait until after college before falling in love with Jewish camping her first summer at URJ Camp Newman.
She received a BA in English and history from Indiana University-Bloomington. She spent the last six years as a student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, receiving a master’s degree in Jewish Education from the Los Angeles campus and a master’s degree in Hebrew Literature from the New York campus, finally culminating in rabbinic ordination.
In her spare time, she likes to explore bookstores, visit farmers’ markets, and blow bubbles outside. Arizona will be the fifth state she’s lived in, and she can’t wait to explore life in the southwest! Email Rabbi Berne
Sara is a recent Phoenix transplant from Southern California. She studied City and Regional Planning at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, on the central coast of California. She has held many leadership roles not only in the college, but in the community as well. She comes with over 15 years of volunteer and work experience with Jewish youth and community members. She grew up attending Congregation Eilat in Mission Viejo, California. She has been a part of a few other synagogues as she relocated from Aliso Viejo to San Luis Obispo. She attended Jewish youth group and Jewish leadership camp weekends from 2001-2006. She then followed her passion and became a youth adviser for Jewish youth groups in Mission Viejo and then San Luis Obispo from 2006-2012.
She currently lives in Phoenix. Her parents live in Southern California and she has two brothers, one in Phoenix and one in California. She has a perfect little nephew in Phoenix who was just born in 2016. She loves running, traveling, working out, attending sporting events, and spending time with family.