Hillel has named six individuals to the position of Senior Jewish Educator for campuses across North America. In this position they will work in collaboration with the Campus Entrepreneur Interns to build relationships with students on the periphery of Jewish life through meaningful Jewish conversations and experiences, including that may include Taglit-Birthright Israel trips, social justice Alternative Breaks, and on-campus learning sessions focused around students' passions and their "big life questions."
With these appointments, Hillel expands the programs from four to ten campuses: UCLA, Berkeley, University of Texas, New York University, University of Kansas, the University of Delaware, University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland and The Ohio State University, and Tufts University.
The new senior Jewish educators are:
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, a former atheist who has a unique path to Jewish life and is the author of several books – one chronicling her own Jewish journey and another about to be published called The Passionate Torah, was ordained at American Jewish Univeristy in California. Ruttenberg also draws from several years building communities and engaging young people in Jewish life through alternative paths when she worked with Kol Zimrah in Jerusalem, Israel, a musically innovative minyan, and the Makor Or Center for Jewish Meditation in San Francisco, Calif.
Ohio State University
Rabbi Benjamin Berger, who graduated from University of California Santa Cruz and completed his rabbinical studies at Yeshiva at Chovevei Torah in New York, N.Y., is no stranger to Hillel. After graduating from U.C. Santa Cruz, Berger was a former Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellow at Cornell University Hillel and later received the prestigious Berman Fellowship at University of Michigan Hillel, where he worked for two years.
University of Maryland
Rabbi James Kahn, who graduated from University of Florida and completed his rabbinical studies at Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Boston, Mass., is known for his musicality, drumming and interest in Jewish spirituality and mysticism. Kahn has worked for several years developing and implementing curricula in synagogues and Jewish high schools in the Boston area.
University of Delaware
Rabbi Jeremy Winaker, who was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, N.Y., has been a congregational rabbi at Bet Torah Synagogue in Mount Kisco, N.Y., for the past five years. He is known for his work engaging congregants and has been dreaming of working in an informal educational setting. A conservative rabbi, Winaker demonstrates vast experience working across denominations of Judaism, a valuable asset for a senior Jewish educator tasked with engaging students with diverse Jewish upbringings.
University of Pennsylvania
Rabbi Joel Nickerson, who was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, Calif., began his professional career with Hillel at Stanford University, serving as a Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellow working to engage uninvolved Jewish students with the Hillel. After his two year fellowship at Stanford, he decided to attend rabbinical school and continued to work with Jewish youth during rabbinic internships at several synagogues in California. Nickerson has a magnetic personality and love of learning, a valuable asset for a senior Jewish educator.
University of Kansas
Rabbi Neal Schuster, a congregational rabbi at B’nai Jehudah in Overland Park, Kan., for the past five years, was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, Calif. Schuster is known for building meaningful relationships with congregants, and breaking the usual rabbi stereotypes. He is also a favorite Florence Melton Adult Mini-School educator in the Kansas City Jewish community.
This positions are made possible through a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation and additional support from the David and Inez Meyers Foundation.
Hillel, serving more than 500 campuses and communities, is the world’s largest Jewish campus organization. Its mission is to enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.