California native Suzy Sostrin has known she wanted to work for Hillel ever since she was an undergraduate student at University of California Santa Cruz. In fact, her dream job was to be an executive director at a local Hillel.
As an undergraduate, Sostrin needed somewhere to go for Rosh Hashanah. She found Hillel. “The staff and students were so warm and welcoming that I was on the Hillel student board by my first month of school, and president of the student board by my sophomore year. Hillel became my home away from home, and by junior year I knew my dream was to become an executive director for Hillel.”
After graduating from college, Sostrin cut her teeth in the Jewish communal world: She worked as a youth group director for USY, a director at a Reform Jewish day camp, an assistant regional director and camp director at Young Judea for the Pacific Northwest and a regional program director in the Pacific Northwest for BBYO. But her path back to Hillel wasn’t exactly a straight line: Sostrin studied traditional Chinese medicine in her pursuit of becoming an acupuncturist while she worked as a camp director and USY director.
Sostrin found her way back to her roots, though, and in 2007, began working at San Diego State Hillel as the director of Jewish student life. Three years later, Sostrin moved to Oregon and worked at the Hillel at University of Oregon as assistant director. Her dream came true in 2012 when she became the executive director at the Hillel at University of Oklahoma.
Sostrin and her husband moved to Oklahoma two weeks after the birth of their daughter. “Five years later, I am happy to say both OU Hillel and my daughter have grown, flourished and keep me smiling.”