Kari ExlerAssistant DirectorBio
Kari begins her full time role with Hillel JUC after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with her Masters in Social Work, during which she worked with Hillel as the MSW intern. Kari received her BA in Sociology from DePaul University before moving to Louisville, KY to work as the Jewish Youth Director at the Jewish Community of Louisville. During her time in Louisville, Kari oversaw the day camp experience, BBYO, JCC Maccabi Games, International March of the Living and other programs which helped shape her understanding of youth engagement. Kari is eager to continue her work with Hillel JUC and can most likely be found catching up with students over coffee! While not working, Kari enjoys spending time with her fiancée and dogs Lucy and Frankie, baking, reading, and cheering on her Cleveland Cavaliers!
Zach BerkowitzJanet L. Swanson Director of Jewish Student Life at PittBio
Zach is thrilled to start this new journey as the Janet L. Swanson Director of Jewish Student Life at the University of Pittsburgh. He received his B.S. in Cognitive Studies and Mathematics and M.Ed. in Secondary Education, along with a teaching certificate from Vanderbilt University. He then taught in Nashville and Memphis before moving to Pittsburgh and teaching high school math for the last three years. His love for students and building authentic connections, along with his background in Jewish youth development and camp experiences, brought him to Hillel JUC. He is excited for this new adventure, and particularly getting to create the most welcoming environment for the wide array of Jewish students at the University of Pittsburgh, and in the surrounding Pittsburgh area.
Zach lives in Shaler with his wife, Kristen, their daughter, Margot, and their dog, Murray. Collectively, they love to explore the unique nature, culture, and food that Pittsburgh has to offer.
Brian BurkeIACT Israel CoordinatorBio
Brian is thrilled to be joining the Hillel JUC team! A Pittsburgh native, Brian graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019, with a B.A in political science, minor history, and certificate in Jewish studies. During his time at Pitt he held several leadership roles on the Hillel student board and within the campus Israel club. Brian has been fortunate to travel to Israel multiple times. He has participated in and staffed several immersive Israel experiences, including most recently working as a madrich with BBYO Passport. Before coming to Hillel JUC, Brian worked as a program associate for a Birthright Israel trip organizer. Brian is excited to bring his passion for Israel engagement and advocacy to Hillel and help students develop and strengthen their own connections to Israel. In his free time, Brian enjoys watching sports and old movies, talking about Israel and politics, exploring Pittsburgh’s parks, and playing Jewish geography.
Efrat MishaniJewish Agency Israel Fellow to Hillel JUCBio
Efrat arrived in Pittsburgh in August and is happy to be part of the Hillel JUC team. She was born in Yehud, a small city near Tel Aviv. Growing up, she was part of Tzofim, the Israeli Scouts Movement. In high school she was a Tzofim group counselor and traveled to the U.S. as part of a Tzofim delegation. During her time in the IDF, Efrat served as an officer in the military police. After her service, Efrat studied at Tel Aviv University and earned a B.A. in Political Science and Communications and an M.A. in Political Science. Efrat and her husband Itamar are excited to live in Pittsburgh and be part of the local Jewish community.
Sarah ChalminSpringboard Innovation Fellow at the University of PittsburghBio
Originally from Bel Air, Maryland, Sarah recently graduated from the University of Delaware with a B.S. in Human Services and is so excited to join the Hillel JUC team. She spent much of her time getting involved in different clubs and working to be hands-on with the community in Newark. She spent her time at UD Hillel involved in leading and facilitating programs for other students. She is so excited to continue engaging students and watching them grow and make new connections on campus. As she is new to the area, she is so excited to explore the city and know what everyone’s favorite thing to do in Pittsburgh is. She loves a good walk, stopping to pet all the dogs, and can’t wait to meet new people! She cannot wait to join the Hillel JUC team, so feel free to email her at [email protected] and introduce yourself, she would love to meet you all!