Growing up in Laguna Beach, California, Elan was the atypical kid who loved going to synagogue. His family nurtured in him a love for Jewish learning and a deep connection to his local Jewish community. In high school, Elan further explored and strengthened his Jewish identity by attending the URJ Kutz Camp & the NFTY-EIE High School in Israel. When he arrived at UCLA for college, he found himself totally consumed with involvement in various campus organizations and leadership opportunities on top of a robust academic schedule. Because he did not find a “home” at Hillel right away, it seemed as if Elan’s religious and cultural identity had taken a back seat. After a campus engagement intern invited Elan to be a founding member of “JEWkBox,” UCLA’s Jewish a cappella group, Elan felt encouraged by Hillel at UCLA to use his passions as a springboard for creating meaningful Jewish experiences on campus.
Elan went on to serve as the Engagement Chair for Hillel at UCLA’s Student Board, a role in which he developed relationships with Jewish students on campus who (similar to him during his freshman year) were not already involved with the Jewish community. Because of the significant impact Hillel at UCLA’s staff had upon Elan, he felt inspired to become a Hillel professional. He now works as the First Year Engagement Coordinator for Columbia/Barnard Hillel, where he builds meaningful relationships with students and helps to create intentional opportunities for involvement in the Jewish community on campus. Elan is fortunate to have the privilege of continuing his Jewish learning as a part of the Hillel International Ezra Fellowship, and he is grateful to work for an organization that truly values relationship-based engagement.
The Ezra Fellowship is supported in part by the Maimonides Fund.