Daniel MarcusExecutive Director
Dan is originally from London and has spent the past six years as Chief Executive of UJS Hillel in the UK. UJS Hillel is the UK’s national Jewish student organization supporting and representing over 8,000 Jewish students across the country. Prior to taking on this role, Dan was Executive Director of Johns Hopkins Hillel and Assistant Director of our very own Hillel JUC, where he worked from 2001-2006. Dan is a passionate advocate for Jewish students and is hugely excited to be returning to the JUC and getting to know as many students as possible. His door is always open to every student and coffee (or tea) is always on him. Dan is a big fan of classic British and American comedy and believes himself to be an aficionado in all things soccer related. Dan and his wife Debbie have three children, Benji, Natan and Eliora, who are sure to be seen at the Hillel JUC, especially around the ping pong and pool tables!
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 102
Robyn Markowitz LawlerAssistant Director
Robyn Markowitz Lawler
Robyn traded in her Philly cheesesteaks for Primanti Bros. sandwiches (gluten free, please!) and is thrilled to be living in the City of Champions. She received her B.A. in Sociology from IUP and her MSW from Pitt; she has worked in higher education ever since. In Robyn’s free time, you may see her kayaking down the Yough river, eating at Thai Cuisine in Bloomfield, hiking somewhere in Ohiopyle State Park, or possibly finding a love match for someone. Robyn is very excited to meet with students and can’t wait to take you for coffee or Razzy Fresh!!
Office phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 111
Jennifer PollerDirector of Operations
Jennifer grew up in Pittsburgh, earned her B.A. in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis and J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. A “recovering attorney”, Jennifer has worked in higher education for most of her career after practicing law. She is excited to be working in Oakland and surrounded by students. When not at work, Jennifer lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband Jon, and can be found driving their sons Jordan and Julius to various soccer and baseball fields, and playing the violin with the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra in her spare time. The favorite family member is Ginger, a certified pet therapy apricot standard poodle, who sometimes visits the Hillel JUC.
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 100
Julia KatzDirector of Development
Born in California and raised in Baltimore, Julia has lived in St. Louis, Atlanta, and now Pittsburgh. Julia earned her B.A. in Women and Gender Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Previously, she worked at Hillels of Georgia where she was first the Director of Jewish Student Life at Georgia Tech and then the Director of Development. When Julia is not working, she enjoys traveling, being an advisor for the Phi Beta chapter of Chi Omega at Pitt, attending Pitt sporting events, and exploring the Steel City.
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 112
Lori FergusonDevelopment Coordinator
Lori graduated from Pitt (2015) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, and she spent her senior year at Hillel as the Programming and Development intern. After graduation and a few months spent working at Hillel’s front desk, she participated in a yearlong fellowship for Repair the World: Pittsburgh. During this time, she helped to advocate for food and education justice in Pittsburgh and became deeply connected to the world of nonprofits. A Pittsburgher through and through, Lori is always happy to offer her opinions about the best places to watch Steelers games or catch a happy hour!
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 107
Danielle KranjecSenior Jewish Educator
Danielle has served as the Senior Jewish Educator at Hillel JUC since 2013. Prior to her work at Hillel, she served as the Adult Education Coordinator at the Agency for Jewish Learning. Danielle holds an MA in Medieval Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she also completed her doctoral coursework. A medievalist by training, Danielle received her BA from Oberlin College, was a Graduate Research Fellow at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and also completed studies at the Universidad Castilla-La Mancha and the Universidad de Cordoba in Spain, as well as at NYU, The CUNY Graduate Center, and Columbia University. Danielle works with student leaders and individuals to enrich Jewish life on campus through fostering a deep connection to the Jewish tradition, as well as directing several learning fellowship opportunities throughout the year. Danielle lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband Alex, a professor at Duquesne, and their children Eli and Margalit.
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 118
Samantha SaltzmanOperations Assistant
Samantha is a native Pittsburgher who is proud to be a Hillel JUC alumna. She previously interned at Hillel JUC doing the newsletter and social media, and she’s so excited to be back! She graduated from Pitt in 2014 with her B.A. in English Writing, a minor in Religious Studies, and certificates in Gender/Sexuality Studies and Jewish Studies. She’s currently working on her M.S. in Library Science, and she’s always willing to talk books! When she’s not at the Hillel JUC front desk, you can find her working her way through her 10-page reading list and exploring the city’s cultural arts scene. Stop by the front desk and say hello!
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 104
Jodi TandetDirector of Jewish Student Life for the University of Pittsburgh
Jodi grew up in South Florida but felt equally at home at URJ camps and NFTY events. She graduated from Emory University in 2010, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in Jewish Studies, then swapped the East Coast for the Western Wall to live in Israel for five months. In 2014, she earned her master’s degree in College Student Affairs and prior to relocating to the ‘Burgh, spent two years as the Program Director of Cornell University’s Hillel. Jodi invites Pitt students to meet her in her office (or their favorite campus spot) to learn about leadership opportunities, pitch creative program ideas, or hear about her latest Netflix obsession.
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 101
Alex ZissmanJewish Student Life Coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University
Alex comes to Hillel JUC after graduating from the University of Delaware with a B.S. in Organizational and Community Leadership. Originally from the Washington D.C. area, Alex has worked with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Jewish Federation of Delaware. After his involvement with UD Hillel, including serving as the student president, Alex is very excited to be working with the JUC staff and students. Most likely, Alex can be found on CMU campus, eagerly meeting as many students as possible. He welcomes all Jewish CMU students to join him for a cup of tea, or coffee if you prefer. While not working, Alex can be found on the tennis court, traveling, or exploring Pittsburgh.
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 119
Matthew CallmanIsrael Engagement Coordinator
Matthew is a born and raised Long Islander who is thrilled to be apart of the Hillel JUC and bring students to Israel. During the summer of 2012, Matthew participated on his Birthright Israel trip and fell in love with the country. He graduated from Molloy College in 2014 with a degree in Biology with a certification in Adolescent and Special Education. Upon graduation, Matthew spent a year in Israel as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow during the 2014-2015 school year, and then spent the 2015-2016 school year teaching High School Biology. Matthew is a Birthright Israel Fellow from Cohort 6, and currently earning a Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education. When not recruiting for the next life-changing Birthright or Onward Israel trip, you can find him swimming, biking, running, or hiking around the Pittsburgh area.
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 115
Elina LipovJewish Agency Israel Fellow to Hillel, The Herman and Helen Lipsitz Israel Fellowship
Elina is originally from Netanya, Israel (but born in Ukraine). She is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with a B.A. in Business Management and Media Communication & Journalism. After graduation Elina worked as the Distributor Coordinator for an innovative baby product company. After her time marketing baby products, Elina moved on to market her amazing country, and is excited to be involved in bringing Israel to campus. If you are interested in hearing more about Elina or just talking about the weather, she would love to meet you for coffee, cake or anything else involving food 🙂
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 110
Ariel WalovitchSpringboard Fellow
Ariel is a recent graduate from the University of Vermont who grew up in the Boston area. During her time at UVM she was a member of the cheerleading squad and a founding sister of Kappa Delta sorority. Ariel graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education. Her love for education and passion for Judaism are what drew her to Hillel. She is excited to be the Springboard Innovation Fellow with the Hillel JUC. Ariel looks forward to contributing innovative ideas that will enrich the lives of Jewish students on campus.
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 120