Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life and the Orthodox Union have appointed Rabbi Ilan Haber as the national director of the Jewish Learning Initiative (JLI), an Orthodox outreach program for college campuses.
A joint program of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, the Orthodox Union and Torah MiTzion, JLI was founded in 2000 by Rabbi Menachem Schrader to provide support, guidance and Jewish learning opportunities to Orthodox students at secular colleges. Working in conjunction with the Hillel Foundations, JLI husband-and-wife teams serve as mentors and resources to Jewish students. Though they primarily focus on the Orthodox communities on their campuses, the educators reach out to students from all backgrounds with study sessions, workshops, Jewish programming and the promotion of positive Jewish identity.
Rabbi Haber and his wife, Aviva Leah, were among the first couples to serve as JLI educators, working at Yale University from 2000 to 2002. As national director, Rabbi Haber is in charge of the ongoing management of the program. He will focus on developing the resources needed for JLI's future growth, and he also supervises the educators. Rabbi Schrader continues to play an active management role as founding director.
"After spending two wonderful years as a JLI educator and seeing how much the program means to Orthodox students, I am committed to helping it strengthen and expand," Rabbi Haber said. "We aim to build on the success of the past four years and serve more campuses."
Rabbi Haber, a native of Silver Spring, Md., will continue his position as director of accreditation at Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, where he has worked since 2002. He attended Yeshiva University both as an undergraduate and for rabbinical studies, and he earned a master's degree in public affairs from George Washington University.
JLI educators currently work with students at Yale University, Brandeis University, Princeton University, Cornell University, Brooklyn College, UCLA, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oxford. The Orthodox Union is the major source of funding and support for JLI. Local Hillel Foundations also contribute financially and provide infrastructure and administrative support.
The largest Jewish campus organization in the world, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is committed to creatively empowering and engaging Jewish students through its network of more than 500 campus Foundations, Program Centers and affiliates. Its long-standing dedication to building Jewish identity, while nurturing intellectual and spiritual growth in a pluralistic community, positions Hillel as a leader in building a stronger Jewish people and stronger Jewish future.