Since 1985, Sam has guided the transformation of Hillel Council of New England from an umbrella organization providing support to the large, established Hillel foundations in the immediate Boston area to one that fosters Jewish campus life on ten small campuses throughout New England. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, The Mandel School of Social Science at Case Western Reserve University and the School of Jewish Communal Service at Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, and he has an honorary doctorate of Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College. Sam is also a Board Member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston and the Board of Governors of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies. He is also a member of Temple Isaiah, Lexington and of the Bedford Center for The Arts. He is married to Judy Rakowsky and is the father of Benjamin of Tel Aviv, Jacob of Panama City (Panama) and Ezra, a sophomore at the University of Toronto.
Office: Usdan 52
Originally from Newton MA, Cindy is beginning her (super sweet) 16th year with Hillel at Brandeis. On her Grand Tour of American Universities, she has earned degrees in Psychology and Higher Education Administration and gone to such places as Amherst, MA Bloomington, IN, Stony Brook, NY, and scenic Storrs, CT (there’s not much to do there, but it is scenic). As Associate Director, Cindy serves as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Program Officer for Hillel at Brandeis. Most days you can find her in Usdan, hangin’ out in the Hillel Lounge, keeping the chaos somewhat contained. She enjoys a really good café au lait and pretty much anything on the ice cream menu at Cabot’s.
Office: Usdan 152
The Heshe and Harriet Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) is a program of the Orthodox Union in partnership with Hillel. Rabbi David Pardo received his BA from UCLA and his ordination from Yeshiva University, with supplementary education from the Isralight Institute and Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future. Most importantly, David learned from following around some really interesting people. A native Angelino with no known conflicting or career-threatening team affiliations, Rabbi Pardo realized as an undergrad that working on a college campus was the place to be, and JLIC was the greatest way to do it. He’s lived in different corners of the world, working with different populations of young adults to build supercharged Jewish communities. Rabbi Pardo loves learning meaningful things, schmoozing about interesting things, eating (and making) spicy things, biking, fine tea brewing and parenting with his awesome wife Ariel. For more information about JLIC at Brandeis, please click here.
Office: Usdan 144
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The Heshe and Harriet Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC) is a program of the Orthodox Union in partnership with Hillel. Ariel Pardo was born and bred in sunny Los Angeles. She attended YULA high school and went to UCLA, graduating cum laude with a degree in Anthropology. Ariel attended Nishmat’s Alisa Flatow program for post-college students. While on Yeshiva University’s Gruss Campus in Israel, Ariel completed a certificate program from Machon Puah’s Women’s Health Training, learned Hilchot Taharat Mishpacha under the guidance of Yoetzet Leora Bednarsh and completed extended studies in YU’s Midrashiya program. She met David at UCLA while participating together in JLIC programs and has traveled the globe in search of great tea (and Jewish things, too). Ariel enjoys learning Tanach, viewing American musicals, drinking fine tea, chilling out with students, and adoring her daughters. For more information about JLIC at Brandeis, please click here.
Office: Usdan 143
Naomi, who is half-Brandeisian on her mother’s side, is very excited to have recently relocated from the Quaker state to the Puritan state. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Linguistics in 2013. She had her first work experience as an editor at her college’s daily newspaper, which has given her a deep-seated appreciation of editorials, good grammar and Dunkin Donuts. Time spent in Israel has propelled her to work at Hillel, and she is passionate about helping students find their places in the Jewish community. Help her feed her caffeine addiction by letting her take you out for coffee!
Office: Usdan 150
Gabby is very excited to be joining the Hillel at Brandeis family this year! She was actively involved in the Hillel at Hunter College. She went on Birthright as a sophomore and felt like she was destined to be a staffer. Post-college, she staffed three trips in one summer (and she’s still catching up on sleep!). Her start-up marketing and events background, combined with her love of Israel, amplifies her passion for working in the Hillel community. If you would like to chat about getting to Israel (or anything for that matter), she would love to buy you a cup of coffee, so please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Office: Usdan 145
Described in an article in the Brandeis Hoot newspaper as “the heart and soul of the Chaplaincy,” Ellie Afienko has served as Department Administrator for Hillel at Brandeis and the Chaplaincy at Brandeis University for more than 30 years. In that time, she has mentored countless students and served as colleague, counselor, and friend to all Hillel staff and Brandeis chaplains. Ellie’s job involves all elements of administrative matters, from departmental budgets to managing day-to-day communications, from greeting new students to helping student leaders with financial reporting. Ellie is a proud parent and grandparent, and she lives in Millis.
Office: Usdan 51
Leah Berkowitz is a senior majoring in International and Global Studies and Anthropology with a minor in Legal Studies. She is from Boca Raton, FL and is very excited to be back from a semester abroad in the Netherlands for her third year on Hillel staff. Leah works on the Jewish Penicillin initiative, a volunteer-based campus soup delivery system, and the calendar for all Jewish-related events happening at Brandeis. When not working at Hillel, Leah spends her time teaching 3rd grade at the Boston-area Jewish Education Program.
Office: Hillel Lounge
Lauren Offermann is a junior majoring Education Studies and minoring in Francophone Studies and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. She is originally from Baltimore, MD and tries very hard not to call everyone “hun.” This is her second year working for Hillel at Brandeis, but she has spent plenty of time eating lunches there with current and former Hillel office workers. Her job consists of booking room reservations, making everyone in the Hillel lounge smile and answering any general questions. She also works for the Gateways program in Boston as a B’nai Mitzvah tutor for kids with special needs.
Office: Hillel Lounge
Casey Pearlman is a junior from New York majoring in International and Global studies with a minor in French and Francophone studies. This is her first semester working for Hillel at Brandeis. Her role at Hillel focuses on managing room reservations for events and programs of all Hillel member groups. In addition to spending time in Hillel, she enjoys playing basketball, tutoring, writing for The Justice and talking with her friends and family.
Office: Hillel Lounge