JSO members meet Hillel director candidates

Two potential candidates visited to talk with students and tour the campus.

The Jewish Student Organization met with potential new Mizzou Hillel directors Monday and Thursday to get to know each candidate and hear their ideas for Hillel.

Current Hillel Director Kerry Hollander is retiring after this academic year, and JSO is hoping to have a new director by this fall.

JSO Vice President Emily Shyken said they have known Hillel would need a new director for over a year, but the official recruiting process has been held recently now that the transition period is drawing closer.

“Everyone’s looking for something different,” Shyken said. “I think one of the big things is people are looking for somebody that can relate to them and can be a friend, someone that’s there in a supportive role for students.”

Brian Mitchell, Senior Assistant Director at Crane Lake Camp in New York, came to campus Monday to begin the candidate visits.

JSO members talked with Mitchell over breakfast before giving him a tour of campus and then hosting a Shakespeare’s Pizza lunch at Hillel for members to get more familiar with him.

Rabbi Moti Rieber, of Kansas City, had a similar visit with students Thursday. Rieber, who studied at Reconstructionist Rabbanical College, has a rabbinical background with communal experience.

During his lunch Thursday, he discussed Judaism, academic representation of the religion at MU and potential improvements for JSO and Hillel on campus.

The new Hillel director will be another incentive for students to come to Hillel, JSO Treasurer David Feldman said.

“He’s just one more person that’s going to be there that’s going to be a friendly face,” Feldman said. “I think that’s always important.”

JSO Religious Coordinator Asher Kantor said JSO wanted a leader that could support the students but allow JSO to remain mainly student-led.

“We’re looking for someone who relates to the students in a positive way, not just someone who says, ‘This is what we’re going to do,’ but someone who is involved with the students and is going to get the students to help out and make the organization a student organization,” Kantor said.

Feldman said meeting the candidates was an important investment for the future of JSO and Hillel.

“Basically this is a process of students trying to get to know these candidates to try and think about how we can improve the Jewish community,” Feldman said. “I think we all want to buy into Hillel and JSO and all want to get more involved.”

Feldman also said JSO wants the new Hillel director to have a solid impact on MU’s entire Jewish community.

“We want somebody who is going to reach out to everyone else so that everyone can feel included, somebody that’s going to be a real leader in the Mizzou student Jewish community, someone that can bring us all together,” he said. “I think that’s what we’re really looking for with these lunches.”

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