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 a focus on fostering 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. He has an honorary Doctor of Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College. Sam is also a Board Member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston; the Board of Governors of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, a member of Temple Isaiah, Lexington and a member of the Bedford Center for The Arts. Married to Judy Rakowsky, he 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. Her Grand Tour of American Universities has earned her degrees in psychology and higher education administration and taken her to such places as Amherst, Massachusetts; Bloomington, Indiana; Stony Brook, New York; and scenic Storrs, Connecticut (there’s not much to do there, but it is scenic). As Associate Director, Cindy services 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 cafe-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 smikha from Yeshiva University (YU), with supplementary education from the Isralight Institute and YU’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 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, shmoozing 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 look 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 Hilkhot 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 Tanakh, viewing American musicals, drinking fine tea, chilling out with students, and adoring her daughter. For more information about JLIC at Brandeis look here.
Office: Usdan 143
Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jacob graduated in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in political science. He then spent ten months in Israel volunteering and deepening his connection with the country. As the Coordinator for Israel Engagement, Jacob works to connect Brandeis students with Israel through Birthright trips, long-term programs and other activities on campus. He is thrilled to be at Brandeis and looks forward to sharing his love of Israel with others. Whether discussing the politics of Israel, finding the best hummus and schwarma, or just hearing his awesome Wisconsin accent, Jacob loves to connect with students. He will be tabling at various locations on campus to promote Birthright and encourages all students to stop by his office in Usdan.
Office: Usdan 146
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 lives in Millis.
Office: Usdan 51
Coby is a senior studying Music and Anthropology. She is from New Haven, Connecticut. She has been working as one of the student office assistants in the Hillel Lounge for the past two years. Do you have a question about the inner workings of Hillel? Chances are, Coby can help (She can even create a tri-fold!) Outside of the many hours she spends in the Hillel Lounge, she enjoy searching for round objects as well as tiny versions of normal sized things and performing in Manginah, Brandeis’ premier co-ed Jewish Acapella group.
Office: Hillel Lounge
Leah is a junior majoring in International and Global Studies with a minor in Anthropology. I’m from Boca Raton, Florida and it is her second year on Hillel’s Student Staff. Her particular role on staff, involves organizing Jewish Penicillin, a free, soup delivery system (check it out!); a calendar that includes all events that reflect Jewish Life at Brandeis; and advertising job opportunities available in the Jewish community, from local to global. Not only is this the best job on campus, but it offers a wonderful, vibrant Jewish community! Leah was lucky enough to become involved her freshman year at Brandeis when she was appointed to Hillel Board as First Year Representative. Please feel free to contact Leah with any questions or concerns you may have!
Office: Hillel Lounge