Meet Jim Shane



June 8, 2023

Jim Shane is a supporter of Hillels all over the world and an emeritus member of Hillel International’s Board of Directors. We sat down with Jim to hear about his experience with Hillel and what makes him passionate about the work that Hillel does.

Q: Where were you born, and where do you live now?
A: I was born in Saint Louis, MO and I now live in Boston, MA.

Q: Who is your greatest inspiration?
A: My grandfather became my mentor after my father’s death. He taught me that “Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time.” He meant that people’s differences come second to what connects us; what is universally human about each of us. My grandfather’s wisdom serves as a guiding light in my life. 

Q: What are your personal passions and interests?
A: My passion is the global Jewish community. I started studying Tanach, the Hebrew canon, and the Hebrew language later in life and fell in love with it. 

Q: Tell us about some of the highlights of your work with Hillel.
A: The nachas, or pride, I feel comes from being part of the small things. I witnessed the first cohort of Israeli students travel to Russia, and hosted Technion (the Israeli engineering university) students at MIT Hillel. 

Q: How have you seen Hillel change as an organization over the time of your involvement?
A: Hillel is a truly international movement, and we need to encourage more people to think internationally; we have to be Hillel all over the world, not just in the U.S. 

Q: What are the most important skills our leaders need to help guide Hillel through the 21st century?
A: Listen. Listen. Listen. The best sign of a leader is someone who listens to their constituents and gives them what they need to succeed. 

Q: How has your work with Hillel connected you to other local and national leaders?
A: The other leaders I’ve connected with and worked with through Hillel have become like family to me.