Home / Blog / The Elaine and Michael Serling Israeli Camper Program

The Elaine and Michael Serling Israeli Camper Program

By: Lee Trepeck, Chief Executive Officer

The 2024 Send a Kid to Tamarack Community Leaders are Elaine and Michael Serling. Earlier this month, during our board meeting, they spoke to our group — and, on Zoom, they moved the room. We were thrilled to announce they made a transformational endowment gift to help secure the future of the Israeli Camper Program — and we shared that the iconic partnership between the Jewish Federation of Detroit and Tamarack Camps will now be known as the Elaine and Michael Serling Israeli Camper Program.

In their voices, they highlighted mishpacha (family) and kesher (connection). Clearly, during a beautiful lifetime, they have been centered by family. And, throughout a long history of philanthropic involvement, they have been motivated to support meaningful community connections.

In our organization, I have watched Elaine and Michael take a deep interest in their own grandchildren, eager to offer opportunities for even more young people to engage; their desire stimulated direct support of scholarship. Additionally, during several visits to the Farber Farm, they saw connection to our culture’s roots (literally). Michael brought Michigan State University professors to the farm to explore how they could be helpful, and they both attended a luncheon at Florine Mark’s (of blessed memory) home to learn more of the opportunities that could grow from this exciting new area of camp. 

Finally, through many interactions with our Israeli campers, TLV (teen leaders) and Shinshinim (Israelis who defer a year in the army to live and work in our community and at Tamarack), their passion for the Israeli Camper Program — locally and in Israel — grew. And, through the years, as an entire team sat together dreaming of various ways to sustain this connection, they exclaimed, “Henini” (Here I Am).

Their genuine spirit is intentional and inspirational. Through their voices and actions, Elaine and Michael are clearly a bright example of family and connection!

Please learn more by reading the recent announcement about their enduring gift to continue the Israeli Camper Program.