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Hillel Happenings


STANFORD, CA – Hillel@Stanford is pleased to announce the appointment of Rabbi Jessica Oleon Kirschner as Executive Director, leading a campus-wide organization that empowers Jewish students at Stanford to explore and deepen their Jewish identities and to envision their futures inspired by Jewish values and history. Rabbi Kirschner will begin her tenure on August 25th 2017, in time to welcome incoming students and to lead Reform/Reconstructionist high holiday services for students, faculty, staff and community members.

"I am thrilled to join Stanford’s incredible Jewish community" Rabbi Kirschner said. "I look forward to working with students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and community members to nurture Jewish engagement, build community, and further Jewish life, learning and connections to Israel.”

Rabbi Kirschner most recently served as California director of leadership and congregations for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. A Bay Area native, she is a graduate of UC-Berkeley, where she served as president of the Jewish Students Union working with Hillel and diverse Jewish student groups across campus. Her education at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion included a year in Jerusalem. Rabbi Kirschner served as the associate rabbi for Temple Sinai, a large congregation in Washington, D.C. and has extensive experience leading youth groups in camp and congregational settings.

Rabbi Kirschner’s appointment was the result of a four-month national search process conducted by a committee of nine community leaders representing Stanford students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and community members working with the assistance of Hillel International. The committee prioritized criteria for the new director, identified and screened more than 70 candidates, narrowing a diverse field to three finalists, who each visited campus and met with a broad constituency of stakeholders.

“We are fortunate to have attracted such a visionary leader whose deep commitments to Jewish life, learning, and values are evident and inspiring. Her credentials as a mentor and bridge-builder will be strategic assets as she focuses on deepening engagement and connections across Stanford’s pluralistic community.” said Hillel@Stanford President Dr. Ellen Konar.

"Hillel International is committed to hiring and promoting the most dynamic Jewish professionals to inspire and engage students” said Hillel International President and CEO Eric D. Fingerhut. “We are thrilled that Rabbi Kirschner is bringing her considerable talents and passion for building the Jewish future to Hillel@Stanford University.”

Rabbi Kirschner succeeds Rabbi Serena Eisenberg, who resigned after six years leading Hillel@Stanford. Key accomplishments during Eisenberg’s tenure include creation of the George and Charlotte Shultz Fellowship in Modern Israel Studies, the launch of a Jewish Incubator Fellows program, and a year-long celebration of Hillel@Stanford’s half-century anniversary. Jeremy Ragent, assistant director, is acting as interim director until Rabbi Kirschner’s arrival.


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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