Rabbi Michael Merrill and Malkie Merrill

Directors and Founders of Camp Al Haderech

Nineteen years ago Rabbi Michael and Malkie Merrill founded Camp Al Haderech to create a camp with a Torah environment, that also provided diverse programming, creating a wonderful experience in camp each day. Along the way they also started the NJ and 5T's campuses in addition to Al Haderech Max.  As hands on directors they are available at all times for the children, staff, and parents. Rabbi Merrill lives and breathes Al Haderech all week long throughout the summer. He can be caught on his phone 24/6. Malkie Merrill serves as the Aquatics Director and directly oversees the day to day operations of our camp office. She is usually the one you get on the office line and she helps our head staff all day long. They can be reached at all hours of the day and often late at night to ensure your child has a great camp experience.

For the last 18 years Rabbi Merrill has been the Director of Student Activities and teaches at the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC). In 2018 he assumed the position as Assistant Principal of HANC Elementary School.

Malkie Merrill as been teaching at Bais Yaakov of Queens for the last 20 years. She is also an active member of numerous committees in the West Hempstead Jewish community.

The Merrill Family will iyH be making aliyah after Summer 2021, but will be running the camp office from Israel. They look forward to continuing to visit their Al Haderech Family each summer back in the US.

The Merrills and their children love spending their summers at Camp Al Haderech. Some of them are even part of the Al Haderech staff.

Katie Lichter

Assistant Director

Katie is from Great Neck where she is the assistant Rebbetzin at the Great Neck Synagogue. She is getting ready to enjoy her seventh summer as the Assistant Director. Katie has great programming ideas and has teamed up with the rest of the Head Staff to make every day at Al Haderech special. Katie is the one that makes sure that everything runs through all of Al Haderech. She is busily in touch with our camp parents and head staff regularly. Al Hadereh is so lucky to have Katie running the entire back end of the camp. Katie’s children look forward to another great summer with their Al Haderech family!

Yonina Lermer

Max Head Counselor

Yonina has been at Camp Al Haderech for over a decade. She was the Head Counselor of Al Haderech Girls Travel for 9 summers (a record!) before taking two summers off. She worked as the Program Director of Camp Kaylie before returning to run Al Haderech Max. During the year Yonina is a beloved teacher and mentor at Yeshiva Har Torah. We are happy to be entering summer 3 of her second tour of duty!

Deena Wertman Lewin

NJ Girls Travel Camp Head Counselor

Deena joined the camp for Summer 2017 as a master teacher in Yeshivat Noam and is excited about her fifth summer running Al Haderech Girls Teaneck. Deena knows NJ and helped plan great trips, but she does so much more. Her daily activities make camp a blast. Deena is full of excitement and ruach and helps make Al Haderech NJ the place to be. She knows all the kids and loves every minute of camp. In her spare time Deena loves to play with her adorable children.


Eli Cohen

Boys Max & Travel Camp Head Counselor

Eli joined the camp in 4th grade as a camper. He graduated Al Haderech and joined the staff where he immediately became one of the best counselors. After 2 years in Israel Eli returned as a Head Counselor. Entering his third year as Al Haderech Boys Head Staff Eli is well known in camp for his patience and calmness all the time. He can be found entertaining a bus full of campers or chilling and learning during his off time. Al Haderech is lucky to have Eli for his ____ (too many to keep track of) summer. 

Ariella Merrill

Al Haderech Max - Assistant Head Counselor

Ariella has been part of the Al Haderech family since birth. At 6 weeks old she was keeping her mom company as she was cooking camp lunch. She would later join the Tots, Juniors, Travel, and now Max divisions. Ariella has been a staff member in all of our divisions as well. Ariella finishes her senior year in TAG and has been a Chessed Head. She is high energy and loves to sing and drink coffee. Her parents are proud to welcome her to the Head Staff.