Rabbi Seth Winberg named Executive Director of Hillel at Brandeis

Winberg comes to Brandeis from Metro Chicago Hillel, one of Chicago’s fastest-growing Jewish organizations

Seth WinbergPhoto/Heratch Ekmekjian

Brandeis University is pleased to announce the selection of Rabbi Seth Winberg as the executive director of Hillel at Brandeis, effective August 21.  Winberg is a recognized leader who will bring extraordinary experience and guidance to Brandeis’ vibrant Jewish community.

Winberg comes to Brandeis from Metro Chicago Hillel, one of Chicago’s fastest-growing Jewish organizations, where he has served as executive director since 2014.  At Chicago Hillel, Winberg implemented a strong vision for urban Jewish life to serve the changing needs of young adults.  

“Seth is an exceptional combination of Jewish educator and community builder,” said Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz. “He is brimming with ideas for dynamic programming across our campus to provide students with an enriching experience, to celebrate Jewish identity, and to reinforce the values upon which Brandeis was founded. I am delighted to welcome Seth to Brandeis.”

“Hillel at Brandeis is uniquely positioned to have an outsized impact on the Jewish people around the world,” said Winberg. “I am honored and excited to work closely with students, alumni, faculty, staff and lay leaders to build the Hillel that an exceptional university like Brandeis deserves.”

Winberg and his wife, Shoshanna Lockshin, whose parents met at Brandeis as students in the 1970s, and their three children will move to the Boston area this summer.  “We can’t wait to become part of the Brandeis community,” he said.

In addition to leading Brandeis’ Hillel, Winberg will serve as a senior Jewish chaplain and will be a member of the senior leadership for the Division of Students and Enrollment. Winberg holds degrees from York and Yeshiva universities and received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York in 2011.

Prior to joining Metro Chicago Hillel, he was assistant director and rabbi of the University of Michigan Hillel, where he served under Michael Brooks ’68, P’06, the recipient of the Bronfman Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hillel International Gala in 2015. Winberg also served on the board of the Ann Arbor Hebrew Day School, the rabbinic advisory board of Jewish Women International and the executive committee of the Chicago Board of Rabbis.Brandeis Hillel is affiliated with Hillel International.

“Rabbi Seth Winberg is one of the most engaging teachers and thinkers in the Hillel movement, and a rising star in American Jewish leadership,” said Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of Hillel International. “We look forward to working with him and supporting him in this critically important role for the Jewish people.”

“Brandeis is truly fortunate to have Rabbi Winberg join our campus,” said David Ellenson, Director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis, and Chancellor Emeritus and Former President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. “I have known Seth for many years, and he possesses a unique combination of intellectual and personal talents and qualities that make him an ideal person for this position. He is marked by a broad intellect, rich Jewish knowledge, significant administrative and organizational skills, creativity, energy, warmth, and unbounded love for Jews and all people. Rabbi Winberg is a mensch. I am certain he will be respected and beloved by all segments of the Brandeis community."

Liebowitz thanked two Brandeis trustees for their generous support of Brandeis Hillel. Meyer Koplow ’72, P’02, P’05, co-chair of the Brandeis Hillel Board of Directors, and the Pittsburgh-based Shapira Foundation, with the support of Trustee Cynthia Shapira, each made significant challenge grants to Brandeis Hillel. “Cindy and Meyer’s generosity in offering to match gifts to Brandeis Hillel has strengthened and re-energized our Jewish campus community, and placed Brandeis on the leading edge of the Shapira Foundation’s Comprehensive Excellence initiative with Hillel International,” he said.

Liebowitz also thanked Sam Mendales, director of Hillel Council of New England, for serving as Brandeis Hillel interim director, through the generous support of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

Hillel at Brandeis was established in 1948, concurrent with the founding of the university. A nonsectarian university, Brandeis is animated by a set of values that are rooted in Jewish history and experience: a reverence for learning; an emphasis on critical thinking, including self-criticism; and the ideal of making the world a better place through one’s actions and talents.

Hillel provides a rich and vibrant Jewish life on campus. Through multiple venues for participation and involvement, students develop a sense of commitment and responsibility to others through experiences that foster leadership, social action, and artistic and cultural expression. Hillel promotes individual student growth and enriches campus life through vibrant and pluralistic Shabbat and holiday celebrations, social events, and student- and staff-led programming. Hillel also acts as the umbrella organization for more than 20 student-run clubs, performing arts groups and special project committees.  

Categories: Student Life

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