As Hillel’s Harrison Leadership and Professional International Development (Harrison LAPID) Initiative enters its fourth year, we are thrilled to have matriculated three cohorts of talented, passionate, and dedicated Hillel professionals who have facilitated outstanding student leadership development and advanced numerous Tzedek initiatives on campus.
Harrison LAPID, supported by the visionary leadership and generosity of Hillel’s International Board of Governors member and Board of Directors Vice Chair Dr. Lynne B Harrison, brings new and exciting resources to Hillels around the globe supporting outstanding professional and student leadership development.
Harrison LAPID’s fourth cohort, selected among an exceptional group of applicants from around the world, consists of 11 professionals from Israel, Brazil, the US, and Russia, will receive intensive training and tools to support their professional development. The objective of Harrison LAPID is to provide engagement, leadership, and professional skills for Hillel professionals and students, and to inspire them to create their own Tzedek (social justice) initiatives, creating a Jewish context to develop their values, leadership potential, and sense of peoplehood.
Meet some of Hillel’s brightest professionals, participating in the 4th class of Harrison LAPID:
Maiya Sarah Chard Yaron, Director of Educational Engagement, Maryland Hillel
"Student leadership development, facilitated by Hillel professionals, is at the core of our work. The Harrison LAPID initiative will allow me to improve my own skills and knowledge by learning with top thinkers and practitioners who understand Hillel’s mission and vision, and understand the nuances of campus life. Hillel Institute and other experiences that bring together sub-cohorts of Hillel professionals have taught me that building relationships with colleagues in the field is one of the most vital resources for campus Hillel professionals in our own growth. The opportunity to participate in a cohort with other campus professionals from around the globe is a very exciting component of the Harrison LAPID initiative."
Andreia Fischler, Logistics and Production Coordinator, Hillel of Rio de Janeiro
“Social justice is one of the main pillars of our Hilllel. We have various tzedek projects ranging from visits to elderly homes to teaching underprivileged kids basic healthcare and sexual education. Our biggest success to-date is the coexistence project, which deals with the idea of understanding and accepting "the other" - whoever they may be. I dare to say that Hillel Rio is one of the main sources of tzedek practice in Rio de Janeiro's greater Jewish community.”
Rachel Nilson, Assistant Director of Jewish Student Life, San Francisco Hillel
"San Francisco has a reputation for being a center for progressive political activism, and this is evidenced in the campus cultures of the universities we serve. However, our challenge has been to integrate our students’ political and social justice passions with their Jewishness. Students are often aware of trendy issues relating to sustainability, human rights, or education, but they do not always realize that their enthusiasm for these topics is influenced by their Jewish values, or that we can engage these communal problems through Jewish work. I believe we need to readdress how we make that passion a regular feature of our initiatives, empowering students to take the lead and engage in social justice actively.”
Julia Barnard, Repair the World and Tzedek Professional, University of Texas
“I believe that the Harrison LAPID initiative will help me integrate myself into the larger Hillel world. I want to belong to a cohort of professionals who will push me to grow and improve. I am open to new ideas and to my own personal growth, and am excited that the Harrison LAPID experience will invest in opportunities that will support and challenge me in both of these areas. I know that my own experiences with leadership training have been formative and important for me, and I look forward to providing similar experiences for students at Texas Hillel.”
Jonathan Steven Falk, Program Director, Hopkins Hillel
“I love working in the Jewish world, specifically with Hillel and its mission. I have an interest in exploring long-term professional opportunities with Hillel and finding a working cohort of my peers. Over this past year, I have made great strides getting to know a variety of staff at the SIC, and I am confident that participation in Harrison LAPID can help me continue to develop and create lasting relationships. I want to be able to bring back the knowledge and education from the Harrison LAPID experience to Hopkins Hillel to better the Hopkins Jewish Community.”
Nilli Glick, Program Director, Tel Aviv University
“I feel that Harrison LAPID can help me develop my own professional skills alongside engaging and empowering students, creating greater opportunities for student initiatives and creativity. One of my goals for the coming year is to build a strong, confident group of student leaders who will help Hillel in reaching our goals and accomplishing our mission. I would like to see myself as an example for my staff and students – as I am asking them to strive for excellence, it’s only expected that I would do the same.”
Jenna Ashley Citron, Director of Jewish Student Life, Queens College Hillel
“Two years ago when I began work with Hillel it was never my intention to make it my profession - as time went by, that thought has changed entirely. I have found my niche and my passion here. Hillel has become my family. I am excited to move forward into a new position at Queens College with all of the knowledge I have gained from my mentors at my local Hillels, from the amazing students, and from the SIC. I believe wholeheartedly in the work we do as Hillel professionals and in the students we impact. I want nothing more than to be the best professional I can be by pursuing knowledge at every opportunity. Especially during this transition period, I believe the Harrison LAPID initiative is a perfect opportunity to learn and grow with other Hillel professionals, and to bring that knowledge back to my local Hillel.”
Olga Danishevskaya, Program Director, Hillel Russia
“Hillels across Russia have continued to expand their engagement efforts providing students with pluralistic opportunities to celebrate Jewish life, visit and continue learning about Israel, engage in social justice work, socialize in a Jewish context, and celebrate their Jewish identity. I am interested in participating in Harrison LAPID as we aim to engage and develop new leaders in Hillel Russia, and we know that this amazing program will help us reach our goals.”
Jason Oruch, Director of Student Life, University of Oklahoma
“This initiative consists of two things that are very important to me: professional development and engagement through social justice. I am eager to be part of an international cohort, to gain the knowledge that’ll arise from viewing Hillel through differing perspectives, and I am excited for the networking opportunities with a diverse cohort of Hillel professionals. I think social justice is a pressing issue on campuses because it can take so many forms, and the idea of creating a social justice oriented initiative on my campus motivates me. This would provide our Hillel a platform to partner with other campus groups and departments, and I feel it will help our organization grow both through the sharing of knowledge I will gain through Harrison LAPID, and through the impact of the student-led initiatives themselves.”
Sharon Silverman, Engagement and Leadership Coordinator, University of Vermont Hillel
"The most important component when developing student leaders is first understanding where they are in life, college, and on their Jewish journey. From there, learning about student’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their personal goals are very important. What do they want out of college? Out of their Jewish community? It is my job to help provide students with the tools for becoming a Jewish leader, and to inspire the drive and motivation that will ultimately come from the students themselves.”
Gil M Schpero, Assistant Director, Muhlenberg College Hillel
"My first endeavor with Hillel’s Schusterman International Center was at last year’s Hillel Institute. It was an incredible learning and networking experience and also the first time I understood the depth of the work we do. Participating in New Professionals Institute inspired me and taught me a variety of tools to bring back to our campus. I am extremely passionate about the work that we all do on each of our campuses and I hope to be part of the greater Hillel family for many years to come. The resources and professional development opportunities that Harrison LAPID has to offer will undoubtedly help me continue to become the best Hillel professional that I can be. The Harrison LAPID Initiative provides the opportunity to share ideas, become inspired, and gain knowledge and insight towards the most important goal of forming life-long relationships with our Hillel students at our home bases as well as with our colleagues around the country and the world.”
“It was empowering, inspirational, and helpful. It has added new structure to the way I view my role in Hillel and has given me the strength to continue to challenge myself and others to be better.”
“I am a better me now, I know where I am going and I know where I want to go. I certainly didn’t know what I was looking for when I first came into the United States, and I got so much more than I ever expected. My mind is flying, my body is full of energy, and my heart is full of beautiful memories.”
This is just some of what previous participants have said about their experience within Hillel’s Harrison LAPID initiative. We congratulate the fourth cohort on their selection, and eagerly anticipate a new year of continued growth and opportunity for Hillel professionals and students alike.