Hillel-Resetting the Table Fellows 2015-16

Rebecca Powell/Harvard

RebeccaPowellRebecca Powell is the Student Activities Director at Harvard Hillel.  Rebecca grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in social welfare.  In college, she participated in several types of Israel programming and many one-on-one and group dialogue sessions.  Since graduating, she has worked in both theater and Jewish education with middle school, high school, and college students.  Rebecca is passionate about helping students relate to one another and creating meaningful spaces and relationships.  She is excited to be involved with the Resetting the Table Fellowship to gain concrete skills to facilitate respectful and productive dialogue on Israel and to create an environment of healthy Israel conversation at Harvard Hillel.  

Hannah Hess/ Harvard

HannahHessHannah Hess is a freshman at Harvard College pursuing a concentration in Statistics and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. She hails from the Philadelphia area and is a graduate of Kohelet Yeshiva High School. This past year, she studied in Israel at a religious seminary, developing her love for Torah study in all its forms. She sees the existence of the State of Israel as bringing complex political, religious, and national questions to the forefront of the American Jewish conscience, and is excited to rethink the way that the Jewish community, approaches these questions. In partnership with Resetting the Table, she looks forward to fostering a productive and fulfilling forum in Harvard Hillel for conversations on Israel.  

Leah Fine/Syracuse

LeahFeinLeah Loeterman Fein is the Hillel Campus Rabbi and Jewish Chaplain at Syracuse University.  Originally from Los Angeles, Leah moved east to attend Brandeis University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a BA in International/Global Studies and Near Eastern/Judaic Studies.  Leah earned Rabbinic Ordination and an MA in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2015 where she was awarded the Kay and Rabbi Moshe Pomerantz Prize in Congregational Education. Leah has interned at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York, Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, Hunter College Hillel, and completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education as a hospice chaplain in the Bronx.  She spent time living and learning in Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Schechter Institute.  She is a Clal Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, has taught in various Hillels and synagogues in New York City, and spent many summers as a camper and counselor at Camp Ramah in California.  Leah lives in Syracuse with her husband, Alex Fein.

David Kimelman/ Syracuse

DaveKimmelmanDavid Kimelman is a senior Policy Studies and Political Science major at Syracuse University. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, David became involved with Hillel on campus as a freshman, joining the executive board as Religion Vice President for two years. David has a deep commitment to Israel and  has spent three years on the leadership team of a student dialogue group called LIME, which promotes open and safe dialogue and education about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. David is thrilled to be participating in Resetting the Table and looks forward to continuing productive dialogue.


Jordan Braunig/Tufts

Jordan Braunig is a rabbi and the director of the Initiative for Innovative Community Building at Tufts Hillel.  Through this program, he works with a group of eighteen fellows to make entryways for deep engagement, meaningful dialogue, and creative Jewish experiences around campus.  Ordained by Hebrew College in Boston, Jordan continues to be intrigued and inspired by the impact of residing in pluralistic spaces.  Jordan is excited about Tufts Hillel’s participation in the Resetting the Table fellowship, and feels hopeful that it will create an environment on campus where students can approach one another with curiosity, bringing their full Jewish selves into conversation.

Aviva Herr-Welber/Tufts

Aviva Herr-Welber headshotAviva Herr-Welber is a Junior at Tufts University, where she is majoring in Middle Eastern Studies and minoring in Education. Her deep and complex relationship with Israel began with yearly visits to her extended family there, continued with a gap-year in the Israeli social leadership program ‘Mechinat Nachshon,’ has led her to a campus leadership position in Tufts J Street U. This past summer, Aviva’s passion for Jewish communal conversation across political boundaries was ignited when she served as the Middle East Program Intern in the Jerusalem office of Encounter, helping to introduce Palestinian civil society narratives into American Jewish discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Aviva is invested in the practice of deep listening as a transformative act in moments of pain. She is participating in the Resetting the Table fellowship in the hopes of bringing healing to the polarized Israel conversation on her campus in the form of new, constructive paradigms for meaningful conversation.

Klielle Glanzberg-Krainin/Tufts

KlielleKlielle is a sophomore at Tufts University interested in studying Education. She grew up outside of Philadelphia and attended Jewish day school her whole life. She was a camper and counselor at Camp Ramah Poconos for many summers. Klielle spent a lot of time learning about Israel both at school and at camp. When she got to college, she started to have some questions about her education. Resetting the Table has been helpful for Klielle as a space to engage in open conversation about Israel,  and she is excited to continue to learn with this program!


Rebekah Steinfeld/UMass Amherst

RebekahSteinfeldRebekah is in her 2nd year as Director of Student Life at Hillel at UMass Amherst. Some of her recent work experiences include teaching at a Jewish Day School, Jewish environmental education at Teva, and 4 summers as Arts Director at Seeds of Peace International Camp. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Rebekah holds an MA in Performance Studies from NYU and a BA in Theatre from Willamette University. She has a wide range of passions, some of which include inspiring young people to live embodied Jewish lives, using theater to build understanding across difference, and the role of religion in peace-making. In her free time she likes to hike, read, cook, travel, and develop her ukulele skills.

Lia Almekies/UMass Amherst

LiaAlmekiesLia Almekies is an undergraduate student majoring in Public Health at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Some of her hobbies include hiking and being involved with Israel life on campus. Coming from an Israeli background, Lia is part of the Mishelanu group on campus, which is a club for Israeli/American students living in the U.S.A. With Israel becoming such a difficult topic to speak about, Lia is excited to be working with Resetting the Table to help bring better understanding among students in their conversations about Israel on campus.


Lisa Stella/ University of Michigan

LisaStellaRabbi Lisa Stella, known to her students as Rav Lisa, is the Senior Jewish Educator at the University of Michigan Hillel. She is a passionate educator, deeply committed to helping others cultivate personal and long-lasting relationships with Jewish life, learning, and community. She received her rabbinic ordination from the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College, a trans-denominational institution in Newton, Massachusetts. Lisa has spent most of her adult life building, learning in, and teaching in vibrant, pluralistic Jewish community in Hillels, synagogues, and learning institutions across the US and in Israel. Lisa is excited about Michigan Hillel’s opportunity to work with Resetting the Table to build dialogue about Israel that fosters compassion and curiosity among students with diverse practice, beliefs, and political views.

Kyla Klein/ University of Michigan

Kyla KleinA first-year student at the University of Michigan, Kyla spent the year after high school on the gap-year program, Kivunim, in Jerusalem, Israel. Kyla is involved with many organizations on campus, including Israel advocacy and dialogue, Jewish Women’s Forum, Students for Choice, and Planned Parenthood. Kyla spends her summers at Camp Tamarack and this summer she will be leading a Western Trip, combining a Jewish, spiritual camping experience with travel to several National Parks. Kyla is a proud member of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority and part of Junior Panhellenic. She is excited to see where the next four years take her as she continues to discover her passions and interests. 

Eli Zucker/University of Michigan

EliZuckerEli is a senior studying English, Political Science, and Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan. During his time in Ann Arbor, he has participated in numerous social justice initiatives, including facilitating Arab/Jewish dialogue during the Fall of 2014. His learning and advocacy for social justice led him to spend the past summer in Israel, working with Arab and Jewish kids at the Hand-in-Hand school in Jerusalem. Through his participation with Resetting the Table on Michigan’s campus, Eli hopes to provide a space where students can collaborate on ideas, share their passions, and plan acts of allyship while engaging with the Israel conversation. Eli values his hiking boots above all his other possessions and is an active Crossfitter!

Matt Vogel/UVM

MattVogelMatt Vogel is the Executive Director of the University of Vermont Hillel. Matt began his career in Hillel as a proud Spartan at Michigan State University and also served as Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellow at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He then played with play-doh and Excel spreadsheets with the Boulder JCC Preschool and moved to New York to pursue an MPA in Nonprofit Management at New York University. While in New York he led the Collegiate Leadership Internship Program (CLIP) for Hillel and helped inspire many participants to pursue careers in the Jewish world. During his time in New York he served as a board member and Treasurer of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. He was an inaugural member of ACCELERATE: Hillel’s Executive Training Program and completed a term of service on the Director’s Cabinet of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Matt is a recipient of the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence Award and an Eagle Scout. Matt lives with his wife — fine arts photographer Raïssa Venables — daughter Elianna Gilda, dog Zoe, cats Willow and Gandalf and 14 chickens in Ferrisburgh, Vermont.

Jacob Holzman/UVM

JJacobHolzmanacob Holzman is a junior at the University of Vermont originally from Rockville, MD. He was active in his local NCSY chapter in high school and spent a month to Israel on their TJJ (The Jerusalem Journey) program, which profoundly impacted him. Jacob is the Managing Editor of the Vermont Cynic, the weekly award-winning student-run newspaper at the University of Vermont. He has won multiple national awards for his reporting and has had his work shared on the state-wide and national levels. He has written for multiple online arts and culture blogs and interned for private investigators working in criminal defense. Jacob hopes eventually to move to Jerusalem and report on Israeli politics and defense.

Sophie Leff/UVM           

SophieLeffSophie Leff, originally from Chicago, is a sophomore at the University of Vermont where she studies Political Science with a minor in Religion. She works as a writing tutor and sits on the Honors College Student Advisory Board. Sophie is in the process of starting a chapter of J Street U at UVM and is a member of a co-ed a cappella group. Sophie has always been drawn to Jewish advocacy work and has had her worldview shaped by her work with a variety of social justice organizations, including the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. Sophie values the deep and nuanced conversation she has come to expect from Jewish spaces and hopes to use the amazing training and resources provided by Resetting the Table to shape her campus’s Israel conversation.

Laura Rumpf/LMU

LauraRumpfLaura Rumpf is a Rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. She was first inspired to become a rabbi while serving as a student leader at Hillel at Stanford. She then worked for the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council, where she encountered mentors in the field who are passionate about the intersection of Judaism and social justice. Laura is thrilled to be working as the Rabbinic Student Intern at Loyola Marymount University this year, and exploring rich, narrative-changing dialogue with students and staff.


Maya Ben Yair/ LMU

MayaBenYairMaya Ben Yair is a Junior Film Major and Jewish Studies Minor at Loyola Marymount University. She was born and raised in Israel, served in the IDF and came to LA to pursue a career in filmmaking.




Jake Weitz/LMU

Arthur Gross- Schaefer/ LMU

Omer Zohar/ SFSU

OmerZoharBorn and raised in Israel, Omer is extremely excited to share her roots with the San Francisco Hillel community.  Omer recently graduated from IDC Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, where she earned her degree in Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, specializing in Counter-terrorism and Diplomacy. During her time here at San Francisco Hillel she has worked extensively with students to build a welcoming Jewish community around Israel. She has led some incredible Israel focused programs at SF State, including Resetting the Table, Food for Thought, The David Project, beginner and advanced Hebrew lessons, I-Team and Mishelanu. Her focus is on building coalitions and bringing together the many diverse communities on campus. When not in office, Omer enjoys traveling, learning about new cultures and talking about Israel!

Rachel Cunningham/ SFSU

RachelCunninghamRachael Cunningham is a sophomore at SFSU studying International Relations. She is so excited to be a Resetting the Table fellow! Rachael believes that encouraging an open dialogue on college campuses enables students to make educated and informed decisions as they create a community. She hopes to show students that dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not only possible but essential to creating peace.



Julianna Jayes/ SFSU

juliannajayesThough Julianna is originally from the small mountainous town of Monrovia in Los Angeles county, she spends most of her time as a first year at San Francisco State University.  Juliana loves social justice and is a huge enthusiast of all kinds of art. Her two biggest beliefs are in random acts of kindness and world peace.  Julianna is incredibly excited to be a part of Resetting the Table, and with it hopes to bring a more refreshing and open dialogue about Israel to her campus. 


Emma Geyer/ University of Washington

EmmaGeyerEmma Geyer is the Director of Jewish Student Life at the University of Washington. She earned her BA in Sociology and Minor in Jewish Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. Emma was a coordinator for the Challah for Hunger chapter at UCSC, organized the monthly Women’s Circle, and was a contributing author for the Leviathan Jewish Journal. Attending the Brandeis Collegiate Institute for Jewish Learning in 2014 – whose program connects Judaism, spirituality, and the creative arts — affirmed her desire to work in the Jewish community. Through studying Sociology, she learned the importance of viewing a situation from multiple perspectives while taking into account social context. She is excited to participate in the Resetting the Table Fellowship because she believes that open dialogue is crucial in creating a more inclusive environment for Israel conversation on campus. 

Peri Zangwill/University of Washington

PeriZangwillPeri is a second year student at the University of Washington where she studies Political Science, Human Rights, and Jewish Studies. She grew up in Oakland, CA in a traditional Jewish family where questioning was always encouraged.  Since 2004, she has been fortunate to attend Camp Ramah in California and has been a counselor there for the past three summers. When Peri is not studying, you can find her at Hillel hanging in the cafe, hiking, or baking! She was lucky to participate in Abrahams Vision program in 2012, where she started to develop dialogue skills. Participating in the program opened her eyes to the vast range of narratives people possess. Dialogue has been an important part of how she interacts with the world. Through the Resetting the Table fellowship, Peri is excited to continue having difficult conversations and hopefully change the climate around Israel conversation on her campus.

Sarah Rosemont/ University of Washington

Rachel Lipman/UCLA

Rachel Lipman is a first-year Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics major at UCLA.  And if that is not a mouthful already, she is also pursuing a minor in Public Health.  Rachel is from Santa Clarita, California, more commonly known by its tourist attraction, Six Flags Magic Mountain.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends, collecting postcards from around the country, playing soccer, learning and laughing with her campers at Camp Ramah, and spending too many hours exploring the hidden treasures of thrift stores.  Rachel is also a professional bus rider.  Enthusiastic about promoting Jewish life and Israel on campus, Rachel serves as a Freshman Engagement Fellow at Hillel and plays an active leadership role in Bruins for Israel.  In addition, Rachel is proud to be a Hillel International Resetting the Table Fellow, from which she has gained the necessary skills and knowledge to facilitate and positively change the conversations about Israel that exist on her campus.

Danielle Natelson/ UCLA