Introducing the URJ College Leadership Team: Expanding Reform Jewish Engagement on Campus

Inside Leadership

Introducing the URJ College Leadership Team: Expanding Reform Jewish Engagement on Campus

These 12 students will serve as the primary college leaders for the Reform Movement

Collage of the 12 student leaders named to the URJ College Leadership Team

We at the Union for Reform Judaism are thrilled to announce the first URJ College Leadership Team and to introduce the Reform Jewish college students who will serve as leaders throughout the 2019-2020 school year.

These 12 students, located at universities throughout North America, will serve as the primary college leaders for the Reform Movement, partnering with staff and other lay leaders to strengthen Reform Jewish life on campuses across the continent. Selected from a pool of more than 70 well-qualified applicants, they represent a broad variety of Jewish backgrounds and leadership experiences, as well as university and geographic diversity.

Beginning with a team retreat in September 2019, team members will coordinate new projects and initiatives for Reform Jewish college students, ultimately growing the Reform Movement’s overall impact and presence on campuses throughout North America. In the coming school year, team members will work on and coordinate a variety of projects, including:

  • Leadership development opportunities
  • Online resources for ReformJudaism.org
  • Programs for college students at the 2019 URJ Biennial
  • Connecting college students to URJ Youth staffing opportunities
  • Providing resources and support for first-year college students
  • Connecting college students to URJ congregations for High Holidays services and programming

We can’t wait to see how the creativity and passion of each of these student leaders will foster new and exciting ways for college students to connect to one another and to Reform Judaism – in the coming year and beyond. Their work across campuses will connect Jewish college students to one another, expanding college student engagement throughout North America and empowering the current and future generation of Reform Jewish leaders.

Meet the 2019-2020 URJ College Leadership Team:

  • Alex Anesetti is a senior at Rutgers University-New Brunswick studying accounting, management, and real estate. His home congregation is Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, N.J., and he is an alum of NFTY-GER and URJ Eisner Camp.
  • Ben Novorr is a junior at the University of Kansas studying elementary education and Jewish studies. His home congregation is The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Overland Park, KS.
  • Dalilah Bernier is a senior at Florida Atlantic University studying Jewish studies and communications. Her home congregation is Temple Israel in Tallahassee, FL, and she is an alumna of URJ Camp Coleman, NFTY-SAR, and URJ Heller High.
  • Deni Budman is a senior at Boston University studying film and TV and Jewish studies. Her home congregation is Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk, VA, and she is an alumna of NFTY-MAR and URJ Kutz Camp.
  • Eva Turner is a senior at the University of Arizona studying politics, philosophy, economics, law, and Judaic studies. Her home congregation is Temple Emanu-El in Tucson, AZ, and she is an alumna of NFTY-SW and URJ Kutz Camp.
  • Hannah Daniel is a junior at Carnegie Mellon University studying biology and creative writing. Her home congregation is Temple Beth El in Harrisonburg, VA, and she is an alumna of NFTY-MAR.
  • Jacob Gurvis is a senior at Boston University studying journalism, Jewish studies, and political science. His home congregation is Temple Shalom in Newton, MA, and he is an alum of URJ Eisner Camp, NFTY-NE, URJ Heller High, Urban Mitzvah Corps, and the Religious Action Center’s Machon Kaplan work/study program.
  • Lauren Stock is a junior at Wesleyan University in Connecticut studying theater and sociology. Her home congregation is Temple Shalom in Dallas, TX, and she is an alumna of NFTY-TOR and URJ Kutz Camp.
  • Lucy Brown is a senior at Oberlin College studying religion and math. Their home congregation is Temple Sinai in Washington D.C., and they are an alum of NFTY-MAR and URJ Kutz Camp.
  • Matthew Ghan is a senior at Chapman University studying communications and leadership studies. His home congregation is Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, CA, and he is an alum of URJ Camp Newman and NFTY-CWR.
  • Shoshana Williams is a senior at Barnard College, Columbia University studying chemistry and religion. Her home congregation is Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, MO.
  • Stephanie Blumenthal is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying political science, environmental studies, and Chicanx/Latinx studies. Her home congregation is Congregation Micah in Brentwood, TN, and she is an alumna of NFTY-OV, URJ GUCI, and NFTY in Israel.
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Evan Traylor, originally from Oklahoma City, serves as the associate director for college engagement at the Union for Reform Judaism, after spending two years as the inaugural URJ presidential fellow for millennial engagement. Evan graduated from the University of Kansas studying political science, Jewish studies, and leadership studies. He is a past NFTY president, Kansas Hillel intern, student member of the Hillel International Board of Directors, and co-founder of the Hillel International Student Cabinet.

Evan Traylor

Published: 6/12/2019

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