Ari IsraelExecutive Director
Rabbi Ari Israel is in his twenty second year as a Hillel Executive Director in College Park. In addition to Rabbinic ordination, Ari has Masters Degrees in Medieval Jewish History as well as Secondary Education. Ari is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, teaching Jewish Leadership, and also teaches for the Acharai Jewish Leadership Institute in Baltimore. He is married to Suzy and their six children reside in Silver Spring, MD. He is also an amateur photographer trying to pick up golf to avert a mid-life crisis.
Dawn SavageAssistant Director, Student Life
Dawn is a newcomer to Maryland Hillel and is excited to bring her experience in student leadership and development to UMD! She received her BS in Psychology from James Madison University and her MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Connecticut. Dawn’s role as the Assistant Director is to lead the engagement team in meaningful programming and experiences for all students at Hillel. When she’s not having coffee dates with students, you can find her cuddling with her cat Roxy, cross-stitching on her couch, or preparing for her next hiking adventure!
Shawn LaingDirector of Finance and Operations
Shawn is making his return to Hillel after a 15 year hiatus living in South Florida, working with different Jewish organizations. Shawn graduated with a degree in Finance from Syracuse University and received his MBA from Nova Southeastern in South Florida. In his free time, you can find Shawn watching and/or playing sports, cooking, trying to grow a garden and raising his 2 kids with his wife Miriam and dog Cocoa.
Adam BershadDirector of Engagement and Israel Experiences
Adam is joining us as the Director of Engagement and Israel Experiences after spending the last four years working at UCF Hillel in Orlando, Florida. He is excited to cultivate an amazing community on campus and a love for Israel. Adam is also receiving his Master’s degree in Jewish Professional Studies from Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. Adam is coming a bit closer to home as he grew up in New Jersey and went to college at Temple University. Outside of work, you’ll find Adam rooting on his beloved Philadelphia sports teams, trying out new recipes in the kitchen (perfecting his homemade hummus and challah) and exploring all that the DMV has to offer. He also loves creating content on TikTok under the name @jewishadam. In addition, Adam has a keen interest in genealogy and has pieced together his family tree. He has connected with relatives from all over the world! He would love to meet you over a coffee any time.
Dan KlingIACT Coordinator
Dan is new to Maryland Hillel and happy to be getting back on campus! Dan grew up in the D.C./Baltimore area and graduated from George Mason University in 2020 with a degree in Government & International Politics. On campus, he was an involved leader in his Jewish community and Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter, and served as the Program Associate for Fraternity & Sorority Life. After graduation, Dan worked with Jewish nonprofits in the DC area. As the IACT Coordinator, Dan is incredibly excited to be connecting students with their identities and his favorite place, Israel. When not with students, Dan is an avid traveler, live music fan, Maryland Renaissance Festivalgoer, and adding to his list of the TV shows “you just have to watch!”
Rabbi Josh LehmanOU-JLIC
Rabbi Josh Lehman
Rabbi Josh Lehman grew up in Monsey, New York but has spent most of the last decade living in Israel. After studying in Yeshivat Hakotel for 2 years and serving as a combat soldier in the IDF, Josh continued on to study Computer Science at the Jerusalem College of Technology. He then received Rabbinic Ordination from the Mizrachi Musmachim Program while serving as a Jewish educator at various institutions around Israel.
In addition to playing guitar, running, and enjoying a good football game, Josh loves to spread his passion for Judaism with a warm yet sophisticated lens. He loves to build full and meaningful relationships with everyone he meets and never gets tired from a long shmooze.
Rikki Lehman grew up in Miami Beach, Florida. She studied for a year and a half in Sha’alvim for Women in Jerusalem, and went on to study in Stern College for Women, where she majored in psychology. During her college years, Rikki was involved in informal education, as an NCSY advisor during the year and on summer programs such as Michlelet and TJJ. The summer after graduating Stern, Rikki moved to Israel and worked as a counselor and part-time teacher in a Seminary. She worked as an Admissions Coordinator for Yeshiva University in Israel, and taught classes on various Jewish topics.
Rikki is a big coffee lover and enjoys road tripping with family and friends. She is passionate about teaching and learning from people of all different backgrounds, and creating lasting relationships with those around her.
Liz DonaldsonOffice Manager
Liz Donaldson has served as the Office Manager since 2007. She handles the administrative and financial needs of the office. Liz has been working within the Jewish Community since 1999. Prior to working at Maryland Hillel, she was the Office Manager at the Bernice Rabovsky Religious School at Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, MD. Liz grew up in Maryland and went to UMUC. She looks forward to helping and interacting with parents, students and staff. Students enjoy her positive personality and friendly demeanor. In her free time, Liz enjoys quality time with her husband, their two children and adorable dog.
Samuel KapnerOperations Associate
Born in DC, Sam grew up not too far from College Park in Bethesda (Montgomery County), Maryland. Sam joins the Maryland Hillel in November 2021 as an Operations Associate. He recently graduated from the University of Texas in Austin (Hook em’) in May 2021 and loved every minute of it. While in Austin, Sam managed the student interns while working at the Texas Hillel. He also worked as a tour guide for the University of Texas Admissions Office and was always playing an Intramural sport…regardless of the season. Sam graduated from UT with a degree in International Relations and Global Studies and hopes to one day work overseas.
As a new member of the Maryland Hillel community, Sam is really looking forward to meeting the students, parents, and any other member of the UMD community. He loves nothing more than when a friendly face says hello and introduces themselves. So, if you’re visiting the Maryland Hillel, please do!
Sara PilavinDirector of Annual Campaign
Sara Pilavin (SAH-ruh PI-luh-vin; she/her) is thrilled to bring her experience in events, fundraising, and marketing for Jewish non-profits to UMD Hillel. Sara majored in Sociology and minored in Student Services and Counseling at Queens College, where she was also on her Hillel student board. Sara joins us remotely from the Tri-State area, and looks forward to connecting with Terps near and far! In her spare time, Sara can be found checking out thrift stores, going on long walks, rereading her entire collection of John Grisham novels, and drinking an impressive amount of coffee.
Ana LevyCampus Marketing and Development Manager
Anasazi (she/her) is excited to return to the Hillel movement, after starting her career as a Springboard Fellow in the Gimel cohort. As an innovation fellow at GW Hillel, Ana crafted a new digital media strategy, served as the project lead for the inaugural Global Giving Week, and mentored more than 360 GW students. One of the many highlights of her Springboard experience was traveling to Georgia and Azerbaijan with JDC Entwine. Ana spent the last year working with Repair the World to launch the Service Corps program, which mobilized hundreds of young adults to serve in their communities as a response to the pandemic. Ana lives in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., where she can be found cooking vegan meals or heading to a yoga class. Ana will be working with Maryland Hillel to share stories of Jewish Terps, with a focus on giving days and special campaigns.