What is Camp Timbrel?

Camp Timbrel is a one of a kind, unforgettable, Jewish experience. Girls come together for a truly spectacular journey of self-discovery, growth, and transformation learning skills and values that will empower them to succeed beyond the bounds of the Camp Timbrel family. 

The name for Camp Timbrel is derived from Miriam in the Bible. After the Israelites left Egypt and crossed the sea, Miriam (Moses’ sister and a prophet in her own right) led the women in joyous and celebratory singing and dancing. Her instrument was a tambourine, or timbrel. A timbrel has come to represent women and the power that women have to lead the world

Why Girls?

We believe that when girls are provided a environment where they can be one hundred percent themselves, they flourish. We believe that when girls  flourish they  understand themselves to be holy, divine, created in God’s image and deeply valued for their own unique talents and gifts.

And when girls have experienced a positive social connection with their peers, when they have experienced an authentic and personal exploration adventure, when they have lived in an empowering community environment, they take the lessons they have learned about themselves and others into any situation in which they find themselves. 

We believe that when girls are allowed to be fully themselves, they change the world. 

Why Now?

In our world that is so dominated by pressure to conform, where women are still paid less than men, where men think its ok to objectify women, girls benefit from being unapologetically themselves. At Camp Timbrel, girls live in an environment that is specifically for them.  Each girl’s own inherent value is as a person created in God’s image, who is a co-creator of their reality, who is needed and valued for who they are, who knows that they are capable of making the world a better place for everyone through their own unique talents and gifts.

As far as we know, there is only one Jewish camp that focuses on this exclusively. Though many Jewish camps do focus on self-esteem and self-worth, except for one, none are focused on girls only.

Who We Are

Executive Director, Rabbi Rachel Brown

Working at camps around the country, Rabbi Rachel Brown came to a vision for an all-girls empowerment camp, where each woman is valued for their unique talents and contributions to create an all-girls, pluralistic-Jewish, summer camp.

Rabbi Rachel is an adventurer whose route to founding Camp Timbrel began long ago. While spending most summers of her life at Jewish summer camp – as a camper, counselor, woodworking specialist, art director, and Jewish program director – Rabbi Rachel noticed that there are few options for non-Orthodox Jewish girls who want to go to a girls-only Jewish summer camp. Thus her summer-camp-founding dream was born: to create a Jewish summer camp where girls can go to spend their summer living together, playing together, and being authentically themselves without the dynamics that the presence of boys brings.

Rabbi Rachel was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University in Los Angeles. She lives in Beachwood, OH with her family.

Prior to rabbinical school, Rabbi Rachel’s path has included attaining a BS in Architecture, apprenticing as a carpenter and traveling the Pacific Northwest by bicycle, with detours along the way to basic training in the Israeli army and living in Jerusalem for two years. She also holds a motorcycle driver’s license and a private pilot’s license.

Our Board

Dr. Arlene B. Holtz is an independent consultant who specializes in leadership development. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania. She was a teacher and administrator in the School District of Philadelphia for 32 years, including 13 years as principal of Wilson Middle School. She has worked in secular and Jewish education and currently serves as board president of Mariana Bracetti Academy, a K-12 charter school in Philadelphia.

Dr. Holtz also serves as chair of the social justice committee, serves on the board of directors and board of trustees, and is a lay leader for Shabbat morning services, Torah study, and shiva services at her synagogue in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

Cheryl Gordon holds a B.A. in Secondary Education, an M. A. (Spanish Linguistics) and an M.S.J.S. (Jewish Studies.) She has enjoyed a varied career, first as a Spanish teacher, then as owner of an international training firm, and, ultimately, in multiple Jewish communal  professional roles.  She has vast experience working with teens and preteens in Jewish settings, and as a community-wide educator.  Cheryl has designed and delivered a wide range of innovative programs, has mentored many potential leaders, and has provided guidance to organizations wishing to offer relevant and enjoyable programs.

A proud Jewish wife, mother and grandma, Cheryl was born in Chicago, but lived in Texas for many years where she served on multiple not-for- profit boards and as an SBA mentor. She now is a happy resident of Beachwood, OH, where she teaches the popular ZOOM class “Some-thing Newish about Being Jewish” for NCJW/Cleveland. She is an instructor for Partners in Torah and speaks frequently to diverse audiences on many topics. Cheryl also serves on the board of Mandel Jewish Day School. 

Dr. Stephanya Shear practices medicine in Roanoke, VA. She is the parent of a teenage daughter who attended Camp Timbrel’s chalutza/pioneer session in 2018.