Kari ExlerAssistant Director
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!
Cantor Stefanie GreeneSenior Jewish Educator
Cantor Stefanie Greene
Cantor Stefanie Greene is thrilled to join the vibrant staff of Hillel JUC! She is excited to work with all of the incredible Pitt and CMU students in creating meaningful Jewish learning, engagement, and prayer experiences. With an extensive background in musical theater and opera as well as Jewish studies, she received her Masters in Sacred Music and was ordained as Cantor from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (New York).
Cantor Greene has worked at several congregations as a cantorial intern in Evanston, IL; Jersey City, NJ; the Upper West Side of Manhattan in NYC; and most recently at Temple Ohav Shalom nearby in Allison Park, PA. Stefanie is passionate about teaching about Jewish traditions, Israel, and Torah l’dor vador (from generation to generation) in ways that are accessible, relatable, welcoming, and inclusive of all Jews. She is also a resource for students seeking spiritual or pastoral support, mentorship, and guidance as they navigate college life and beyond. In her free time, Stefanie loves spending time with her husband Barry, hiking in Frick Park, and doing yoga.
This position is made possible in part by a grant from Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community Foundation.
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 118
Follow Cantor Stefanie on Instagram @itscantorstefanie!
Zach BerkowitzJanet L. Swanson Director of Jewish Student Life at Pitt
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.
Vicky DavideJack G. Buncher Director of Jewish Student Life at CMU
Vicky graduated from Florida International University with a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.A. in Religious Studies. She also received a minor in Religious Studies and International Relations, as well as certificates in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. During her time in university she loved to be involved in campus, being an active member in her own Hillel board as well as the president of the Religious Studies honors society: Theta Alpha Kappa. Vicky is excited to bring her love for college life, Judaism, and Pittsburgh to help students find their place within CMU and the Pittsburgh community. In her free time Vicky enjoys playing and listening to music around town, finding the best places for coffee, and exploring Pittsburgh.
Brian BurkeIACT Israel Coordinator
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.
Sarah ChalminSpringboard Innovation Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh
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!