Rabbi Zvi Dershowitz
Rabbi Dershowitz served as Camp Director from 1954-61, creating the model for all who followed and establishing many of the traditions that are still enthusiastically celebrated seven decades later, including Bikkurim and the Ozo Program. Rabbi Dershowitz established Herzl Camp as the trusted caretaker of our most precious resource – our children. During his tenure, camp doubled in size, serving 600 campers a summer from all over the Midwest. Zvi took great care to infuse a passionate Jewish spirit and a love for Israel in our campers and staff for his 8 years at the helm. Zvi’s values are enshrined in our mission and in our service to each Jewish child today. Zvi’s legacy is lived out each day on the shores of Devils Lake.
Rabbi Dershowitz went on to serve as Rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and he continues his service there as Rabbi Emeritus. Zvi also directed two Jewish camps in Southern California, taught at what is now theAmerican Jewish University for more than four decades,and provided care and guidance to those in need as Chaplain to the Los Angeles County Jail System. Ever an adventurer, Zvi has visited over 70 countries, while serving as Chaplain and lecturer on countless cruises.
Creating transformational change was the recurring theme of Mike Fiterman’s nomination for the Herzl Hall of Fame. Mike’s passion and persistence as Chair of the Here’s to Dear Old Herzl Campaign led to the rebirth of Herzl Camp as a top-notch center of Jewish life and learning. In addition to many years of service on the Board of Directors, Mike devoted countless hours to leading Herzl Camp through its first-ever capital campaign to expand and rebuild camp during the darkest days of the Great Recession. Mike’s can-do spirit and determination gave hope to all and eventually prevailed; Herzl raised $8 million dollars and built a facility that is the envy of the camping community. Mike’s legacy is not in that beautiful facility but in his success in teaching Herzl Camp’s board, volunteers, alumni and friends to fundraise. Mike didn’t give Herzl a fish, he taught Herzl Camp to fish.
Mike is a Herzl alumus, a past camper parent and a current camper grandparent. Mike’s current passion is to enrich and expand Herzl Camp’s leadership training for summer staff. He and his wife, Linda, have created the Fiterman Leadership Development Initiative to support a well-rounded and wide-reaching program to engage and develop our staff as emerging Jewish leaders.
Rose and Harry Rosenthal
The idea of Herzl Camp was born of the experiences and persistence of Harry and Rose Rosenthal zl. After the Rosenthal’s sent their daughter to a Jewish camp on the East Coast, they felt that the Midwest should have a Zionist camp a little closer to home. From that moment, they worked tirelessly to develop that idea and establish Herzl Camp. They recruited friends, raised funds, and hammered out countless details needed to create a summer camp. From that first summer with 60 campers on White Bear Lake, they served for ten years as Board Presidents and nurtured Herzl’s development through its first decades – purchasing property on Devils Lake, hiring staff and directors, and leading the community in this new and exciting venture.
The Rosenthals were the dreamers as well as the doers who brought the dream to life. Seven decades later, over 30,000 Jewish youth have experienced the magic that is Herzl Camp because of the Rosenthal’s leadership.
Mickey and Harold Smith
Harold and Mickey’s Smith’s involvement in Herzl Camp began in the 1960s when Harold joined the Herzl Camp Board of Directors and served as Treasurer. Over the six decades that the Smiths have made Herzl Camp one of their primary causes, they have played pivotal roles in moving the camp forward. Most recently, Harold and Mickey gave the initial gift for the Here’s to Dear Old Herzl Campaign and, in their wisdom, they made that gift contingent on the participation of others, ensuring that Herzl fully developed The Smiths have used their support wisely to create meaningful and visionary change time and time again.
Harold and Mickey have prioritized the education and development of Jewish youth through their support of Jewish camps, preschools, day schools, and Hebrew schools. From the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to Herzl Camp to the St Paul Talmud Torah, the impact of the Smiths’ generosity and leadership can be felt throughout the Twin Cities.
For 25 years, Ron Zamansky and his law firm Zamansky Professional Association have served as Herzl Camp’s legal counsel on a pro-bono basis. Ron’s immediate response, thorough and thoughtful guidance, and his passion and devotion to insuring the best outcome for camp and community were key factors in his selection to Herzl’s first class of Hall of Fame members.
Ron formed Zamansky Professional Association in 1988 on the founding principles of providing legal services with dedication to the law, service, good judgment, availability and community. The legal services provided to Herzl Camp by Ron and Zamansky Professional Association certainly fulfill his founding principles.
In his years of service, Ron has handled all of Herzl’s legal matters, from the simple and routine to the complex and sensitive. Ron has worked quietly and tirelessly behind the scenes to protect Herzl Camp, our campers, staff, volunteers and donors. Ron’s wise counsel has steered Herzl Camp on the right path countless times. Ron is on-call for Herzl 24/7 during the summer and throughout the year. Herzl Camp is a better and safer place because of Ron’s diligence.
Ron’s efforts reflect his family’s love and involvement for Herzl Camp. His wife, Lynn, was a camper and counselor at Tzrif 6. Their sons, Rory and Drew, and Drew’s wife Natalie, were campers, and Rory was an Ozo and staff member as well. Ron is an alumnus, past camper, Ozo, parent and is eagerly awaiting becoming a camp grandparent of Mia and Noah. Ron’s concern for our youth extends beyond his service to Herzl Camp. Ron founded the Create A Memory Foundation that has for the past 29 years provided children of the community with the opportunity to play ball on Major League baseball fields including the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Miller Park and Target Field.
Hall of Fame Nominations – 2017 Class