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Shalom! We are an all-star group of full-time and part-time staff from all over the country who make up the Hillel@Stanford team. Along with our amazing interns and volunteers, we love our jobs making a Jewish home for every student at Stanford. Please feel free to get in touch if you need anything.

Rabbi Jessica Kirschner
Executive Director

Rabbi Jessica Kirschner is a Bay Area native. She has deep roots in the synagogues, summer camps, and youth organizations of the Union for Reform Judaism. She graduated from UC Berkeley, where she had been a student leader at Hillel and studied at the Hebrew University. After five years of rabbinical school in Jerusalem and Los Angeles, she was ordained by Hebrew Union College in 2007. She served for seven years as a Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Washington DC, and as a board member of Jews United for Justice, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the Washington Interfaith Network. Upon moving back to San Francisco in 2014, she worked for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism as a community organizer and leader of their state-wide legislative work. 

She and her husband live in San Carlos and have two daughters, Hannah and Maya. 

Jeremy Ragent
Assistant Director

Jeremy Ragent, a Bay Area native, has learned that a little humor goes a long way. After studying history at UCLA, he spent a year living and volunteering in Israel doing a program called Otzma (z”l). He began his career at Hillel@Stanford taking Jewish Stanford students out to coffee, hearing their stories, and working with them to make Jewish life happen. After some fun in LA getting an MA in Jewish Nonprofit Management and Public Administration from HUC and USC, doing development work for a Jewish public interest law firm called Bet Tzedek and a synagogue’s free summer literacy program called Wise Freedom School, he is delighted to be back on campus working with those same energetic, passionate, and fun students (and Hillel’s fantastic professional and lay team) to enrich Jewish life on campus. Jeremy loves learning and speaking Hebrew (it brings out his chutzpah), singing and playing music, exploring nature, and spending time with his friends and family.

Shifra Elman
Program Director, Jewish Life and Learning

Shifra wants to live in a world where comfy couches abound, trees are everywhere, and a pluralistic Jewish environment is easily accessible! These are some of the reasons they returned to Hillel at Stanford. Starting with Hillel at Stanford in 2011 as the Gesher Director, Shifra then moved into an interim role as Program Director of Jewish Life and Learning. They then left to become Assistant Director at Hillel of Silicon Valley and has now returned as the Program Director for Jewish Life and Learning and Gesher! Shifra earned her Master’s in Social Work and Community Organizing from Yeshiva University and her B.A in Media Planning and Judaic Studies from…wait for it…Yeshiva University!

Nathalie Landesman
Program Director, Campus and Community Partnerships

Prior to Joining Hillel@Stanford, Nathalie Landesman Co-Founded Mishelanu, and educational program for Israeli American College Students, and was its former national Director at the Israeli-American Council (IAC). Nathalie held positions in training and strategic directorship both in Pharmaceuticals and HighTech industries and has over 16 years of experience in project management in both Fortune 500 and small startups. She is a mother of three, holds a Master's in Business and administration, and has been residing in the Silicon Valley for the last 15 years.

Brian Kaplan
Director of DevelopmentBrian_web[1]

Brian began his career in high tech and after working at Octel and Nuance Communications, he began supporting nonprofits. Most recently, Brian founded Relevant Learning, a nonprofit designed to bring relevancy and engagement into high school classrooms. Earlier, he was Vice President of Development at New Teacher Center (NTC), a national nonprofit raising the effectiveness of new teachers. Prior to NTC, Brian served as Vice President of Development and Marketing at Silicon Valley Education Foundation. He is a trained facilitator in inter-personal dynamics (touchy/feely) from the Stanford GSB and serves as a Strategic Advisor to Educate Girls Globally. Brian holds a BA from Northwestern University, an MBA from the Haas School of Business, and an MA Ed. from Stanford University. Brian has two children, lives in Palo Alto with his wife Stephanie, and loves hiking, outdoor adventures, and road cycling.

Lia Nilson
Innovation Specialist, Springboard FellowLiaNilson_square

Lia Nilson was born and raised in Sonoma County and she recently graduated from the University of San Francisco with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Northern California has always been home for Lia, specifically the Bay Area, and she truly loves it here. She is less familiar with the South Bay and is eager to immerse herself in the cultures and communities on and around the Stanford campus. As a Springboard fellow, Lia is a member of a 20-person cohort, trained to integrate design thinking methodology in Hillel programming to engage more students and better serve their needs. She is passionate about art and gardening and believes that mindfully engaging in hands-on activities inspires opportunities for social action.

Will Funk
Camp Kesem DirectorWill Funk_square

Will first began his involvement with Stanford Camp Kesem in 2016 as a student counselor and fell in love with the organization, mission, and community so much that he just couldn’t leave! He is now joining the Hillel team after having completed his BA in Science, Technology, and Society with a minor in African Studies from Stanford. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Will was heavily involved on campus as a director of Stanford Dance Marathon, the Stanford Tree, and much more. Will loves engaging with students in a variety of conversations, from tackling larger societal issues to discussing personal identities. He also loves improv, hiking, movies, dancing, and singing, especially when surrounded by friends and family! Will is excited to join this community and cannot wait to engage with all of the incredible students and staff that make it so special.

Elana Thurston-Milgrom
Communications and Operations Manager

Elana is a recovering academic, with the many years in graduate school to prove it. She did her B.A. in literature at Occidental College followed by an M.A. from UT Austin in comparative literature and another from Central European University in history. She devoted considerable energy to learning among the most useless language in the world (Czech) and a little less to learning a slightly more practical one (German). She is very slowly chipping away at her dissertation (Ph.D from UF), so feel free to ask her anything about Czech-Jewish history and literature! Coming back to Stanford was a homecoming after many years away for Elana, who grew up just down the street from Hillel. She lives in Redwood City with her pitbull, Beatrice and they are both enjoying and taking full advantage being outdoors in California.

Susan Feist
Development Associate 
Part-time: M,T,Th


In late 2010 Susan made aliyah from New York to sunny California, where she enjoyed a long career as Marketing and Public Relations Director at two Westchester JCCs. After a short break from work, she decided it was time to look for the perfect job. Along came the opportunity to work at Hillel. Her major responsibilities revolve around thanking all the wonderful people who donate to Hillel, therefore allowing the organization to offer the important and dynamic programs that it does. Outside of the office, Susan can be found hanging out with her grandchildren, walking the Bay Trail, hiking in the hills, practicing yoga and volunteering at the Peninsula SPCA.

Rich Stoner
Facilities Manager
Part-time: M-F 8-12

Rich is our rock-star Facilities Manager. He works hard in the wee hours of the morning to keep the Taube Hillel House and Koret Pavilion in tip top shape. If you happen to be here that early (maybe you're pulling an all-night study session in the Kopa Cafe), be sure to say hello!


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Taube Hillel House & Koret Pavilion at the Ziff Center for Jewish Life
565 Mayfield Avenue
Stanford, CA 94305-8456
(650) 723-1602