Eight Hillel professionals from across North America have been selected to participate in ACCELERATE, an executive training program that prepares individuals to become Hillel directors. (Read more about the program here.)
Rabbi Benjamin Berger
Rabbi Ben Berger.
Ben is the Senior Jewish Educator at the Ohio State University Hillel, Wexner Center for Jewish Student Life. A graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, Ben got his start in the Hillel world as a student activist at UC Santa Cruz, then as Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps fellow at Cornell University Hillel. He then went on to be Berman Fellow and program director at University of Michigan Hillel. At OSU Hillel, Ben is charged with broadening the reach of Hillel through relationship based engagement. Ben also teaches on a variety of subjects and venues on campus enriching Jewish students' lives with Jewish text and conversation. Ben is married to former Hillel professional Rachel Weiss-Berger, and together they have three daughters, Tovah, Avital and Eliana.
Shirin is an associate executive director for Hillel of Greater Toronto. Prior to moving to Canada, she worked as a program director at the Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy and Advocacy in IDC, Israel. Shirin is a recipient of the JDC Ralph Goldman Fellowship, and worked in Mumbai, India and St. Petersburg, Russia. She was a Jewish Agency emissary to Madison, WI federation and worked with UW Hillel. Shirin also worked in the Israeli Knesset promoting minority rights and affirmative action. She represented Israel in the UN International Committee on Human Rights in Geneva and the World Conference against Racism in Durban. Shirin holds a masters degree in Communications and Political science (Bar Ilan University) and received MFA grants for cultural studies at Prague and Copenhagen Universities. She lives in Toronto with her husband Tsahi and son Itamar.
Carrie J. Fischbein
Carrie, the program director at Columbia/Barnard Hillel, is the former executive director at Deal Sephardic Network, assistant executive director of the JCC of the Greater Palm Beaches, and the teen and camp director at the 92nd Street Y. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Carrie has extensive experience with children, teens, and families, with specific expertise in conflict resolution, family therapy, recreational practice, and community building. Currently Carrie spends her personal time enjoying her friends and family in the NY area, traveling, and as a volunteer Standards Visitor for the American Camp Association and the B'nai Jeshurun Women's Shelter. If you listen closely - she’s usually singing, she loves to laugh, and she is an incredible baker!
Mindy, the acting director of American University Hillel, has been with Hillel for ten years, beginning as a Steinhardt JCSC fellow at the University of Maryland. Mindy has been on the board of directors of the National Union of Jewish LGBT students since 2009. Originally from Huntington, NY, Mindy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a dual major in Communication Arts and a minor in Jewish Studies. She went on to further her education, earning an MFA from American University in Film and Media Arts. In her free time Mindy enjoy reading memoirs, watching television shows about Alaska, and exploring the great Maryland outdoors.
Bev is the director of Jewish student life at Hillel Montreal and has been working in the Jewish community for the past seven years. Prior to her work at Hillel, she was the associate director of alumni engagement at the Bronfman Israel Experience Center where she worked with Taglit-Birthright Israel and March of the Living alumni. Bev holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University in Social Work and a master’s degree in community Social Work as well as a certificate in Jewish Communal Work from Wurzweiler at Yeshiva University. Currently, she is pursuing an additional master’s degree in Jewish Professional Studies at Spertus College and a fellowship in Israel education. Bev has focused much of her career and passion on issues related to Jewish continuity, informal education and understanding emerging adults and their relationship to Jewish identity.
Suzy is the director of student life at the University of Oregon. She has been working in the Jewish community since graduating from University California, Santa Cruz in 2000 with a B.A. in Community Studies and a minor in Education. Through her work with Jewish summer camps, youth movements, and Hillel she has had the pleasure of watching campers become Hillel leaders and Hillel leaders become community leaders. Suzy is very passionate about creating a warm and inclusive environment at the University of Oregon’s Hillel. She has been trained to be a Safe Zone Ally and she recently co-led a webinar for Hillel’s COMMuniversity on creating a safe and welcoming Hillel community for LGBTQIA students. During her free time Suzy enjoys exploring Oregon with her husband and dog Parker.
Rabbi Kate Speizer
Kate, associate director and campus rabbi at Cornell Hillel, began her professional life in business in Silicon Valley but found her true calling working in the Jewish community. After serving as a volunteer in Israel on Project OTZMA, she was as program director at the University of Pennsylvania Hillel and pursued rabbinic studies at the Hebrew Union College. Upon ordination, she began at Cornell University where she is a resource for students, faculty, and staff sharing her passion to make Jewish Life accessible. Kate and her husband, Ilan, have two children Yoni (3) and Shira (9 months). Kate enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking, creating art, and spending time with friends and family.
Debbie, the assistant director of Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania, studied psychology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA; and received an M.A. in Higher Education Administration from New York University, where she also worked in residential life and fraternity/sorority life. Debbie also worked for Washington University in St. Louis. When she does pull herself away from the college campus every so often, Debbie can be found supporting the local food movement (buying, cooking, and eating!), running, exploring Philly, and traveling.