Excitement is in the air as Erez Cohen begins his role as the new executive director of Illini Hillel at the Cohen Center for Jewish Life at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Cohen, who worked as an Illini Hillel Israel Fellow from 2009-2012, now returns to Champaign with his wife Dana, a UIUC alumna, ready to empower Jewish student life.
After moving to Israel in 2012, Cohen worked full time as a fundraiser at the Jaffa Institute and took evening classes for his MA in diplomacy. He returns to us less than a year later with not only tremendous organizational experience and a degree from Tel Aviv University, but "as an Executive Director, I am now able to empower students to take an active role in designing their Jewish life on campus."
Cohen aims to ensure that Hillel is achieving a level of excellence allowing students access to resources on a variety of planes: social support, professional development, spiritual needs, and more. He is confident that Illini Hillel will harness the collective strength and creativity to even better serve the Jewish community on and off campus.
"We are only limited by our imagination," Cohen said, "Our students will be steering the ship; the staff will be the wind in their sails."
Illini fans will be happy to know that Cohen is excited to attend one of his favorite college sports events. While not the main attraction in town, the Illinois Fighting Illini men's ice hockey team can expect to see Cohen cheering them on during their home games.
To get in touch with Cohen or learn more about Illini Hillel, visit www.IlliniHillel.org or email Erez@illinihillel.org.
Illini Hillel at the Cohen Center for Jewish Life is a department of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and a partner of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
Lisette Zaid is program director and development associate for The Hillels of Illinois.