For Immediate Release

May 15, 2019

Media Contact: Jessica Lemons, COO; 315.443.4831

Syracuse Hillel Welcomes Expanded Team

SYRACUSE, NY – Syracuse Hillel is pleased to announce the appointment of an expanded professional staff team for the organization. The new team includes Jillian Juni as Executive Director, Rabbi Joel Goldstein as Campus Rabbi, and Ronen Tzadok as the Jewish Agency and Syracuse Hillel Israel Fellow. Jessica Lemons, current Interim Executive Director, will be moving into a new role as Chief Operations Officer. Plans are underway to hire an Engagement Associate in the coming months. This team will lead a campus-wide organization that inspires and enriches the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students in Syracuse so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.


Mrs. Juni and Rabbi Goldstein will begin their tenures in early July, and Mr. Tzadok will arrive to Syracuse in August. All staff will be on campus in time to welcome the incoming first year students and get acquainted with the student population as it returns to campus.


Jillian Juni currently serves as the Associate Director of Santa Barbara Hillel. Born and raised in New York, Jillian received a BA in sociology from Rutgers and a MA in human rights from Columbia. Growing up she spent her summers at URJ Eisner Camp, and following college she worked for Eisner Camp year round. Jillian is passionate about Judaism, women, singing songs for fun, and making the world a better place. Jillian met her husband, Mordechai, at Hillel and together they moved to Santa Barbara in 2012. They have two children, Lev and Aviva, both of whom are regulars at Hillel Shabbat dinner. Jillian is looking forward to moving back to the East Coast to enjoy all the beauty central New York has to offer.


"I believe that energy is contagious, and I am excited to bring my enthusiasm and passion for Jewish life to Syracuse." Mrs. Juni said. "I look forward to working with staff, students, university officials, and lay leaders to ensure that we are able to nurture this thriving community.”


Rabbi Joel Goldstein will receive his rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College in June. He is currently serving as the Rabbi for a small synagogue on the Massachusetts shore and was the religious advisor for the Egalitarian/Conservative minyan at Yale University during the 2017-2018 academic year. Previously, he taught Talmud and Rabbinics at Charles E. Smith Jewish High School and Rochelle Zell Jewish High School. With his wife, Rachel Jacobson, he served as a Yeshivat Hadar Campus Scholar at the University of Michigan. Joel has studied at Yeshivat Hadar and the Kollel at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He received an AB in Physics from the University of California Berkeley and an MS in Physics from the University of Washington. He has worked as both a Systems and Software Engineer and spent time working on a submarine for the US Navy. When not studying Torah, Rabbi Joel spends time enjoying the brilliant statements of his almost 3 year-old, Yahra, and looks forward to the birth of his second child this fall (both of whom will make some guest appearances at Hillel).


“As a campus Rabbi I have three goals,” said Rabbi Joel. “For any interested student to find Torah that speaks to and challenges them, to view every student as someone who is created in the image of God, and to listen attentively to everyone.”


Ronen Tzadok is a recent graduate of Tel Aviv University with a BA in Film and Television, majoring in Screenwriting. During his last year at university he was part of "Masa Acher" program at TAU Hillel, promoting open dialogue about Jewish identity and the place of Israel in the Jewish world. He is a former HR officer in the Manpower Directorate and the GOC Army headquarters of the IDF. In his free time he likes to write short stories and scripts, enjoy cinema classics and to travel. He is from Holon, Israel.


Mrs. Juni’s appointment was the result of a five-month national search process conducted by a committee of eight community leaders representing Syracuse students, faculty, alumni, and community members working in close partnership with Hillel International and the office of the Chancellor at Syracuse University. The committee, chaired by Hillel Board of Governors members Prof. Lynn Greenky and Mara Silver-Smith (‘02),  prioritized criteria for the new director, identified and screened more than 100 candidates, narrowing a diverse field to two finalists, who each visited campus and met with a broad constituency of stakeholders.


“We are fortunate to have attracted such leaders whose deep commitments to Jewish life, learning, and values are evident and inspiring. Jillian’s credentials as a community builder and deep Hillel experience will be strategic assets as she focuses on expanding student engagement and building support across Syracuse’s community. Rabbi Goldstein’s commitment to pluralism and engagement for every student will resonate across campus. Ronen’s personal stories about Israel and commitment to dialogue and conversation will be a tremendous asset.” said Barbara Kurman (‘79, ‘02, P07, P11, P16), President of the Board of Governors for Syracuse Hillel.


"Hillel International is committed to hiring and promoting the most dynamic Jewish professionals to inspire and engage students,” said Hillel International President and CEO Eric D. Fingerhut. “We are thrilled to see Jillian Juni grow in her experience and scope to take on the Executive Director role at Syracuse Hillel. This is an exciting time and we are pleased to welcome this entire team to the next phase of Syracuse’s success.”


Mrs. Juni and Rabbi Goldstein will succeed Interim Executive Directors Jessica Lemons and Rabbi Leah Fein, who took on interim positions in 2017 and have been tremendous change agents on behalf of Hillel. Ms. Lemons will continue to play a critical role with resource development, community relations, and operations as COO. Rabbi Fein will be leaving the community in late May to become Columbia/Barnard Hillel’s Senior Jewish Educator. Mr. Tzadok will succeed Shany Ben Tzvi, Syracuse Hillel’s first JAFI Israel Fellow, who will be returning to Israel in June.


“Syracuse Hillel is undergoing unprecedented transformation and growth and we are eager to welcome dynamic, passionate and innovative members to our team,” said Lemons. “Their impressive depth of experience in relationship building, Jewish education, and organizational leadership will lead to an even more vibrant chapter for Syracuse Hillel.”


This team expansion is only one point in a multifaceted growth plan for Syracuse Hillel. In the past two years under direction of Ms. Lemons and Rabbi Fein, Syracuse Hillel has more than doubled their staff team, increased their budget, shifted operating systems and procedures to better impact students, expanded their Board of Governors, and strengthened many partnerships with the university, alumni and local communities. Over 50% of Jewish students participate in Hillel offerings at least once a year, with 22% attending more than 6 times in an academic year.




About Syracuse Hillel

The mission of Syracuse Hillel is to inspire and enrich the lives of Jewish undergraduate and graduate students in Syracuse so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. By doing so, Hillel is integrated into various arms of the university, and advances a shared goal of providing rich spiritual and ethical nourishment for Syracuse students alongside their academic and social experiences in college. Syracuse Hillel also enjoys a close partnership with Hillel International, including a broad network of talent, leadership retreats for students and lay leaders, and support for innovation, excellence and results.

Jillian Juni

Rabbi Joel Goldstein

Jessica Lemons

Ronen Tzadok

(315) 422-5082

©2019 by Syracuse Hillel.