Stephanie BekermanBirthright Israel IACT Coordinator
Stephanie Bekerman is a transplant to UMD, originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2015 where she studied marketing and management. As Maryland Hillel’s IACT Coordinator, Stephanie loves everything about Israel from exploring Tzfat to eating delicious rugelach in the Shuk! Stephanie is excited to share Birthright Israel experiences with Maryland Hillel. In her spare time, she is always ready to watch a romcom movie marathon, loves dancing, traveling, and makes latkes like your grandma!
Elan BurmanCapital Campaign Director
After moving back home to South Africa for a few years, Elan returned to the Washington DC area in 2014 where he was working as the Director of Planned and Major Giving for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. In 2016, he decided to “return home” and assumed the role of Capital Campaign Director for Maryland Hillel, steering financial resource development efforts for our new building. Elan completed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, majoring in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Cape Town. He holds a Masters Degree in Jewish Communal Service with an emphasis in fundraising from Brandeis University. In 2016, he completed his Masters in Information Systems degree through Northwestern University. He is married to Jackie and is the proud father of Dina and Ariel. In his spare time he enjoys cooking (well eating actually), swimming, reading biographies and current affairs, and volunteering.
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 Jason, their two children and two adorable dogs.
Sapir FriemanJewish Agency Israel Fellow
Sapir Frieman is the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at the University of Maryland Hillel. Sapir was born and raised by the beaches of center-north of Israel. After being a part of Bney Hamoshavim youth movement for most of her life, she served for two years as commander in the Israeli education force. With a B.A. in education- learning disabilities combiner with art at Tel Hai College, Sapir worked for the students union as head of culture department from planning a concept party through meaningful lectures of all topics. In her free time Sapir enjoys knitting, musicals, everything Disney, music, traveling and of course would love to share her passion and love for Israel with all of the students and UMD.
Maddie FriedmanOperations and Communications Associate
Maddie is a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘Em), where she received her B.S. in Public Relations with a Business Minor. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, she spent her time involved in the local Jewish community, as well as her summers at URJ OSRUI. Maddie is excited to be joining the team at Maryland Hillel as the Special Events and Catering Coordinator. Maddie previously served as a Public Relations Intern at Beck Media & Marketing, working with technology clients on media outreach and awards nominations. In her free time you can find Maddie in the aisles of Trader Joe’s, front row at a country concert, or looking up plane fares for her next big adventure. Maddie looks forward to becoming a part of the Maryland Hillel community, and cannot wait to see what being a Terp is all about!
Naomi GohnAssociate Executive Director
Originally hailing from Wisconsin, she’s lived in 5 states and Israel. Shortly after arriving in DC, she met her husband Andrew and they currently live in Takoma Park with their adorable [fact, not opinion] toddler, Dahlia. In her free time, Naomi enjoys cooking with fruits and vegetables from her husband’s garden, watching survival shows from the comfort of her couch, and listening to audio books. She always appreciates a great recipe or podcast recommendation, so don’t hesitate to send those her way. Naomi is excited to be part of the dynamic Maryland Hillel team and call herself a Terp!
Olivia HazlettSpringboard Social Justice Fellow
Born and raised in Marblehead, Massachusetts, Olivia is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she double majored in Political Science and Sociology and minored in American Culture. While on campus, Olivia took an active role in a variety of communities: serving as the Director of Programming for her sorority, Secretary of Wolverines for Israel, and member of the mental health organization, Wolverine Support Network. Additionally, Olivia has found a passion for connecting with and advising students through her experiences both as an Academic Peer Advisor during Michigan’s New Student Orientation as well as Campus Day Representative for visiting prospective students.
Olivia is a firm believer in the power of experiential education and has been fortunate enough to travel extensively while learning and teaching about civil rights and social justice, including a unique study abroad experience aboard Semester at Sea. Although she will always be a Wolverine at heart, Olivia is thrilled to move within the Big 10 and serve as Maryland Hillel’s Social Justice Fellow.
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.
Gabi KirschCampus Marketing and Development Manager
Gabi Kirsch (she/hers) is our Campus Marketing and Development Manager. In this role, Gabi is responsible for supporting the marketing and grassroots fundraising campaigns of the University of Wisconsin Hillel, the University of Delaware Hillel and the University of Maryland Hillel. Originally from metro Detroit, Michigan, she now lives in Washington, DC.
MJ Kurs-LaskyAssistant Director
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, MJ knows the true value of excellent ketchup, a great football team, and a strong Jewish community. After graduating from the University of Maryland in 2010, MJ worked at the non-profit KaBOOM! prior to joining the Maryland Hillel team in August 2015. In his spare time, he enjoys running, traveling, and cheering for the Terps!
Claire ShoyerJTS Slifka Rabbinic Fellow
Claire Shoyer is a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Before rabbinical school, Claire studied communications at the University of Pennsylvania, where she played on the women’s ultimate frisbee team, sang in an a cappella group, and tutored public speaking. Claire is so excited to join the Maryland Hillel community!