The Future of Hillel Ontario

Jennifer Chestnut, Vice President of Campus Partnerships, Hillel International

After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from Syracuse University with a minor in Jewish Studies and a Masters in Nonprofit Organizations from Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School for Nonprofit Organizations, Jennifer Chestnut was named Executive Director of Hillel at Kent State in 1999. Under her 16 years of leadership the organizational budget increased 600% and fundraising to support KSU Hillel increased from $20,000 annually to over $350,000. She led the effort to become a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.

The successful $4.2 million capital campaign that opened the Cohn Jewish Student Center in 2009 was not only a tremendous success, but historic, as Hillel at Kent State became the first and only Hillel building in the nation to be built on state land and receive state funds for construction.

During her tenure, Hillel at Kent State received awards including The Kent State University Student Organization of the Year, Community Partner of the Year, and Hillel International’s Indispensable Partner of the Year. Student engagement increased in every category and Chestnut brought a Rabbi back to Kent State for the first time in over twenty years. As a result, Jewish life and spirituality holds a more prominent and accessible position not only at KSU but the city of Kent and Portage County.

Not only was she a leader locally and in our state, she served as: Hillel International’s Chair of the Directors Cabinet, member of its Board of Directors, Presidential Search Committee and Executive Committee. She has been as a coach for Executive Directors around the nation and was frequently brought in to support local and national Hillel initiatives including the 2005 and 2012 Strategic Plans for Hillel International.

Chestnut was a member of the inaugural class of the Hillel Campus Fellows of The Shalom Hartman Institute and currently serves on the board of the Shaw JCC and the Nesiya Institute. She also sat on the KSU President’s Commission for Inclusion.

In 2015 Chestnut was among the inaugural class of Difference Makers as named by the Cleveland Jewish News.

In September of 2016 Jennifer was named the Vice President for Campus Partnerships for Hillel International.

She is a lifelong northeast Ohioan, born and raised in University Heights, Jennifer and her family have lived in Akron since 1998.

Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of Hillel International

Eric D. Fingerhut is the President and CEO of Hillel International, the largest Jewish student organization in the world. Hillel serves over 600 campuses and communities in eighteen countries. Fingerhut was appointed president on July 14, 2013 as the organization began its 90th year.

Fingerhut has devoted his professional life to public service and higher education. Now he is devoting his energies to helping ensure the future of the Jewish people.

As President and CEO of Hillel International, Fingerhut is leading “The Drive to Excellence,” a campaign to ensure that Hillel is fulfilling its vision to help every Jewish student build an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. He has introduced a system of data gathering and measurement, and committed Hillel to continuous improvement in student engagement and talent development.

Fingerhut came to Hillel after a distinguished career in higher education and politics. As Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents from 2007 to 2011, Fingerhut led Ohio’s large system of public universities and colleges. In that role, Chancellor Fingerhut earned a reputation as an innovative leader and ardent advocate for transforming higher education in his native state. Working in close collaboration with the Ohio business community and elected officials of both major political parties, Fingerhut developed and led an ambitious plan to prepare students for 21st century jobs.

From 1997 to 2006, Fingerhut served as an Ohio state senator, where he worked on initiatives ranging from higher education to human services and economic development. He served in the U.S. Congress in the early 1990s representing Ohio’s 19th Congressional District. In 2004, he was the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. Fingerhut received a juris doctorate from the Stanford University Law School, and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. He has served as president of his synagogue and on the boards of federations and day school, and is an active member of the pro-Israel community, Fingerhut lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Amy, their two sons, Sam and Charlie, and two beagles, Pedro and Lulu.

Shimon Fogel, CEO of CIJA

Shimon Fogel serves as the CEO for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. He is a graduate of the Clark School of Government and International Relations in Massachusetts and pursued graduate and doctoral studies at McGill University. He also holds rabbinic ordination.

Shimon joined the Canada-Israel Committee as Director of Government Relations in 1988 and was appointed as CEO in 2001. Prior to joining the CIC, he served as the National Director of Community Services at Canadian Jewish Congress.

Shimon Fogel has served as a consultant to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and as a member of the prestigious Round Table on Global Security under the Department of National Defense.

In 2002 he introduced the concept of the Shared Values strategy as a basis for securing support for Israel that has now been adopted by much of the international pro-Israel advocacy community, including Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2005 he developed a model for moving to sustainable peace in the Middle East that focuses on conflict management rather than conflict resolution – an approach that has won broad support internationally.

He has written and lectured extensively in Canada and internationally on matters of public policy and has been engaged by numerous groups, including the Assembly of First Nations, the World Sikh Organization and the Canadian Tibet Committee, to advise on strategic planning and advocacy.

The Hill Times recognized Fogel as one of the 100 most influential actors within the political sector, and Embassy Magazine ranked him among the 50 most important people influencing Canadian foreign policy.

Shimon Fogel is married to Esti Gourarie, the founder of the philanthropic organization Ten Yad. The couple has two children.

Adam Minsky, President and CEO of UJA Federation

Adam Minsky is the President and CEO of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. He is a 46-year-old leader who is a product of the Canadian Jewish Federation movement.

Adam’s leadership extends well past Toronto’s borders, as he played an integral role in the founding of many important national initiatives including the creation of the Canada Israel Experience and its Birthright Israel programs.

For more than a decade, Adam has dedicated himself to strengthening the strategic impact of UJA Federation through its network of local, national and international agencies. Most recently, Adam led the development of UJA Federation’s Strategic Plan, which outlines an exciting vision for the future of UJA Federation.

In 2013, Adam was honoured to receive the Gordon Wolfe Award for Professional Leadership in recognition of his ability to lead with vision, integrity, Jewish values and humility.

Adam is married to Heidi Brown, a Toronto lawyer, and they have three children.

Marc Newburgh, CEO of Hillel Ontario

In 2013, following a successful career as a business owner and entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience, Marc began what was an unexpected transition, leaving the private sector to became a Jewish community professional.

Marc was inspired by the Jewish journeys of his children, and the impact their Jewish life and leadership experiences had on them. First becoming an active volunteer engaged as a lay leader in a number of Jewish community institutions and organizations, serving as a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Steering Committee Chair for URJ Camp George, as well as a member of the Boards of Directors of the Leo Baeck Day School and Shaarei Beth El Congregation.

Recognizing that 95% of young Jewish Adults between the ages of 18 – 24 can be found on a University or College Campus somewhere across North America, and the impact that organizations like Hillel can have on this demographic, Marc joined Hillel of Greater Toronto in June 2013, as its Executive Director, devoting his efforts to the challenge of inspiring students to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and to Israel.

In October 2015, with the support of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and the Jewish Federations of Canada UIA (JFC-UIA), all stakeholders agreed that the time was right to reposition Hillel Ontario from its national home at JFC-UIA to Hillel Toronto. Hillel Toronto was seen as having the capacity to be directly engaged in creating the strong integrated model that would be able to leverage the resources and capacities of the entire system. The synergy and development opportunities were significant and the organization was ready to grow.

With Marc as the organizations CEO and a member of Hillel Internationals Board of Directors, Hillel Ontario is now the largest regional Hillel system in North America, serving 9 Universities, with more than 21,000 Jewish students on campuses across the province. Marc was born and raised in New York City, is married to Cheryl, the love of his life, and is the proud father of two amazing young men, Zach and Jonathan.