Who Are You?
Name: Seth Goren
Position: Vice President, Education and Engagement
Hometown: Oreland, Pennsylvania, USA (just outside of Philadelphia)
Where did you go to college/university? I went to the University of Pennsylvania for what seemed like forever (undergrad, graduate, and law school), and then attended Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion for rabbinical school.
Joining the Family
What is your role at Hillel? I’m going to be overseeing an educational and engagement vision setting for the organization and supporting staff and student learning.
What are you *most* excited for this year? Learning about how each of the campuses, especially staff and students, is different and special.
What’s one thing nobody at Hillel knows about you? I love to cook, but I’m not so great at it (aside from soups, which I seem to be able to pull off). I’ve baked cakes with the quantities of salt and sugar accidentally reversed. I’ve made tomato sauce where the “secret ingredient” was Crystal Lite sugar-free lemonade. (People said they liked it until I told them what was in it.) And ask me about the unfortunate spinach quiche incident. Shudder.
What do you think you bring to the team? I love listening to people and their stories, asking questions about who they are and why they’ve made certain choices, and learning more about what led them to where they are now. I’m also a fan of convening and strengthening communities, connecting people to each other, and fostering a sense of together-ness.
Favourite Movie: “The Royal Tennenbaums.” Or maybe “Moonrise Kingdom.” The first is a fantastic pre-Yom Kippur movie about atonement and forgiveness, and the second is a beautiful coming-of-age film in which the children often act like adults (or try to) and the adults act like children. Either way, my answer is definitely something by Wes Anderson.
Best Toppings on a Pizza: Ricotta cheese, tomato, and red onion, preferably on very thin crust.
Favourite Jewish Holiday: Lag Ba’Omer. In addition to liking the bonfires and running around outside, I always think of it as the real beginning of summer.
Dream “Getaway” Destination: Somewhere mellow and warm with low humidity. With lots of people I love all around.
Song Title that Best Describes you: I have to go with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want (But If You Try Sometimes, You Just Might Find You Get What You Need).” That probably needs a little unpacking. When I was a kid, I would sometimes tell my grandmother (may her memory be a blessing) that I wanted something that was, perhaps, a bit unreasonable (like, at one point, a horse). My grandmother would say, “You know what Mick Jagger says?”, referencing this particular song title. It wasn’t until years later that I found out that the following line in the song offers a bit of comfort and highlights the difference between what you want and what you need. The upshot: I like this song because (a) it’s a good reminder for me to ask myself if what I’m asking for is what I want or what I need, and (b) it reminds me of my grandmother, who was awesome.
The Animal that best describes me is: I had a hard time narrowing this down, so I asked my six-year-old daughter. She said I’d be a macaw because I’m pretty calm, good to talk to, and a vegetarian. So, yeah, I’m a macaw.
Challah – Raisin or Plain? For regular eating, plain. For french toast, raisin, extra eggy.
Favourite Hamentashen Filling: If we’re going with the classics, I’d have to say cherry, but I love some of the more experimental kinds (peanut butter and nutella comes to mind) even more. Please, never give me the raspberry jam ones. Blech.