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More than 30 Hillel professionals from campuses and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman International Center achieved professional milestones in 2008 ranging from five years to 35 years.
Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller of UCLA Hillel reached the largest milestone, having served the organization since 1973. Also from southern California, Hillel at San Diego's director Jackie Tolley was honored for 30 years of service. Both received awards at Wednesday evening's gala.
Earlier in the week, Hillel Executive Vice President Scott Brown recognized three Hillel directors celebrating a silver anniversary.
Linda Askenazi of Hillel at Brooklyn College was described as a "true pioneer" who was among the first women to become a Hillel director. In 1983 Askenazi was working for the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush when a Hillel board member approached her to interview for a director position at Brooklyn College. She became interested in the position when she learned that few women or non-rabbis were Hillel executive directors at the time.
"She advocates for what she believes is best for her students, her staff and for the entire Hillel enterprise with passion, energy, and integrity, and continually challenges us to do the same," said Brown.
Zac Kaye, who began his career at the University of Melbourne in Australia and now leads Hillel of Greater Toronto, has spent the last three decades caring for students on a 24/7 basis. When Kaye and his wife Suzanne started their careers as Jewish professionals, they lived inside the Hillel building at University of Melbourne. Since then, they've moved on to serve Jewish students in Vancouver and Toronto. Under Kaye's leadership, Hillel has blossomed to serve an extremely high percentage of the 18,000 Jewish university students in the Greater Toronto area.
Rabbi Peter Tarlow of Texas A&M Hillel wears dual hats as both a rabbi and executive director. In addition to fulfilling his duties at Hillel, Rabbi Tarlow is an internationally recognized expert in the Portuguese Inquisition and those Jews who have practiced Judaism covertly, crypto-Jews, since the Catholic church outlawed Judaism in the Iberian peninsula in the 15th century. Last spring, at the request of the local native people, Rabbi Tarlow brought Texas A&M students to Huánuco, Peru, to help local crypto-Jews celebrate their first legal Shabbat service since the Inquisition. Before the trip students studied the history of Peruvian Jewish life and the culture of the country.
Other milestones were achieved by:
Michael Faber, Ithaca College Hillel
Amy Olson, University of Rhode Island Hillel
Andrea Hoffman, Schusterman International Center
Aryeh Furst, Schusterman International Center
Beth Meltzer, Northeastern University Hillel
Philip Schlossberg, Purdue Hillel
Lauren Estes, Tufts University Hillel
Jeff Rubin, Schusterman International Center
Gerald Sorokin, University of Iowa Hillel
Cindy Spungin. Brandeis University Hillel
Andrea Steinberger, Hillel at the University of Wisconsin
Karen Adelman, Hillel of Metro Detroit
Ilya Baru, Khabarovsk Hillel
Avi Friedman, Schusterman International Center
Sheri Ginis, Hillel of Metro Detroit
Andrea Jacobs, Fiedler Hillel – Northwestern University
Aryeh Kaplan, UCLA Hillel
Sharona Kaplan, UCLA Hillel
Susan Leff, Hillel at the University of Vermont
David Levy, Colgate Jewish Union
Daniel Libenson, University of Chicago Hillel
Yasha Moz, Schusterman International Center
Linda Myers, Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh
Kerry Newman, Hillel at Binghamton
Olivia Payne, Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh
David Rittberg, NYU Hillel, Bronfman Center
Bob Scherr, Williams College Jewish Association
Jonathan Siger, Central Florida Hillel
Rebecca Simons, Duke University, Rubenstein-Silvers Hillel
Paula Tucker, Gallaudet Jewish Student Association
Aaron Weil, Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh
Katie Wexler, Schusterman International Center