Four new student members have been selected to join the Hillel International Board of Directors for Fiscal Year 2015. Jonathan Rahmani of Texas A&M University, Zachary Goldberg of Syracuse University, Yoav Schaefer of Harvard University and Liza Naomi Abrams of the University of Nevada Reno, were selected from 50 applicants nationwide. They join current student Board members Juliana Wishne of The Ohio State University and Emily Steinberg of the University of Michigan. Each will attend the upcoming meeting of the Board at the University of Maryland.
The selection process, limited to rising juniors and seniors, sought to ensure a geographic, gender, and age balance. Alongside Board members involved in local Hillels, Hillel International professionals, and thought leaders in the Jewish community, student members add an important voice and perspective.
“I offer my sincere gratitude to all of the students who applied, and heartfelt congratulations to those who were selected,” said President and CEO Eric Fingerhut. “Student members help other Board members grapple with challenging issues including campus services and expansion. This year student members will also help to form the inaugural Student Cabinet, with the goal of ensuring direct and consistent communication between the Hillel student community and Hillel International.”
Student members will also attend Board meetings in January at Arizona State University and in May in Baltimore. They will actively serve on at least one committee or Task Force, and fundraise or make a personal minimum gift of $100 based on the Board Giving Policy.
Meet the new Student Board Members:
Jonathan is a senior at Texas A&M University graduating in May of 2015 with a degree in Exercise Physiology. Passionate about building relationships with others, he has focused his energy outside of the traditional classroom and onto recruitment, engagement, and public relations. In his three years at Texas A&M, Jonathan has been instrumental in the development of the Jewish community in a variety of ways, one of them being the Aggie Jewish Open House, a weekend dedicated to bringing Jewish high school students from across the state of Texas to visit Aggieland and to learn about the Jewish community at A&M. Jonathan currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Texas A&M Hillel. He also holds the position of Engagement Intern through Hillel International.
In addition to his involvement at Hillel, Jonathan is an active member and past VP of Recruitment of Texas A&M’s Jewish fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu (Sammy), the current Vice President of Public Relations for Texas A&M Interfraternity Council, and serves on the executive board of Aggie Students Supporting Israel. Aside from being a student at Texas A&M, Jonathan enjoys biking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
Zach Goldberg is a senior at Syracuse University, majoring in Economics, Policy Studies, and Energy and Its Impacts. Zach is a two-term President of the Hillel Jewish Student Union, of which he has also previously served as Vice President of Religious Life. He has also been an active part of Hillel at SU’s FreshFest Pre-Orientation Program, having served for the past three years as a facilitator and serving on the Lead Team for the past two. Zach is a past Taglit-Birthright Israel participant (Summer 2012) and two-time Alternative Spring Break alumnus, having traveled to Joplin, MO, and Moore, OK, with Hillel and the JDRC (Jewish Disaster Response Corps). This past summer, he was a member of the 2014 CLIP (Collegiate Leadership Internship Program) cohort through the Bronfman Center at NYU, working as an intern in the Quality and Corporate Compliance division of FEGS Health and Human Services.
Outside of his Hillel and Jewish-focused involvement, Zach is a brother of Phi Delta Theta, a U100 Campus Ambassador, and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Team Peer Advisor. Zach is a native of Plainview, New York.
Originally from Santa Barbara, California, Yoav Schaefer made aliyah to Israel in 2006. After a quick stint in the IDF from 2006-2008, he worked in a number of professional capacities in Israel relating to Jewish education, Israeli politics, and the peace process. In 2010 Yoav, together with his family, founded the Avi Schaefer Fund, a non-profit organization created in memory of his identical twin brother Avi. The Fund is committed to cultivating open and nuanced conversations about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and promoting interfaith and cross-cultural understanding among young people. In his spare time Yoav is a student at Harvard University studying political and social theory and focusing on twentieth century continental philosophy.
Liza Naomi Abrams
Liza Naomi Abrams is a senior at the University of Nevada Reno, majoring in Dietetics and minoring in Psychology. Liza is studying to be a pediatric dietician and work with children struggling with food allergies and obesity. During her junior year, Liza was elected as President of Hillel at the University of Nevada Reno and became a founding mother of SAEPi, the first Jewish sorority in the state of Nevada.
In addition to her involvment with the University of Nevada Reno’s Hillel, Liza also works as a substitute teacher in Northern Nevada and teaches Hebrew to religious school students. Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, Liza spent a summer in Washington, D.C. participating in the Machon Kaplan Internship Program. As a social justice advocate at the Religious Action Center and a Legislative Intern at the Food Research and Action Center, Liza worked on social justice issues relating to Judaism, hunger, and undernutiriton in America.
Returning Student Board Members 2014-2015:
Juliana Wishne is a senior at The Ohio State University studying political science, Spanish, and pre-law. She is originally from St. Louis, MO. Her Jewish leadership experience at Hillel includes being a member of an Israel Intensive Fellowship and this year’s Ask Big Questions cohort. In addition, she is the Executive Director of College Democrats at Ohio State, a member of OSU’s AIPAC Cadre, a Morrill/Politics, Society, and Law Scholar, and works for her state representative. She is very excited to be a member of Hillel International’s Board of Directors for the second year and enjoys giving back to an organization that has truly impacted her college experience in countless positive ways.
Emily Steinberg is a senior at the University of Michigan, majoring in Psychology and minoring in French and Art History. During her sophomore year, Emily co-founded a student group through Hillel called Breaking Barriers, which aims to build relationships between Jewish students and students of other religions. Emily also serves as co-chair of Challah for Hunger and as an advisor to First Year Students of Hillel (FYSH). Emily became a member of the C.R.E.A.T.E. committee, which awards grants to students to develop projects in the arts that contribute to a culture of creativity, innovation, and collaboration within the Jewish community and the University as a whole.
In addition to her involvement in Michigan Hillel, Emily is a design editor at the University’s student-run newspaper, The Michigan Daily. Originally from Needham, Massachusetts, Emily spent a summer in D.C. as a Conference Coordinator Intern at Hillel International, helping to plan Institute 2013.