Danielle KranjecSenior Jewish Educator
Danielle has served as the Senior Jewish Educator at Hillel JUC since 2013. 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. A nationally-recognized relational educator, Danielle was invited to the inaugural Relational Engagement Circle convened by M2: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education. In 2018 Hillel JUC received the prestigious Meyerhoff Award for Jewish Educational Vision from Hillel International, recognizing the impact of educational programming under Danielle’s direction. Inspired by her work to elevate the voices of Jewish women and others marginalized by the tradition, her colleagues at Hillel International coined the eponymous “Kranjec Test” to determine whether the sources from which we teach are inclusive. Danielle works with student leaders and individuals to enrich Jewish life on campus, 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
Kari SemelJanet L. Swanson Director of Jewish Student Life at the University of Pittsburgh
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 the students at the University of Pittsburgh, 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!
Alex ZissmanJack G. Buncher Director of Jewish Student Life 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 continues to be excited about 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 (Press 1 during the voicemail to be forwarded to his cell phone)
Zoe HertzSpringboard Innovation Fellow
Zoe comes to Hillel JUC after graduating from Brandeis University with a bachelor’s in Psychology and Anthropology, and a minor in Education Studies. Originally from Israel, and then Bucks County, PA, Zoe has always been involved in Jewish life, including multiple academic fellowships, teen learning communities, and personal and group studies with Rabbis. She is so excited to be working for Hillel and can’t wait to meet all the students! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to her for a meetup of coffee, tea, or just to chat. While not working, Zoe can be found outdoors, doing art, reading, traveling, or trying something new.
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 120
Isaac MinkoffIACT Coordinator for Israel Engagement
As a graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, Isaac is excited to return to the Steel City to serve at Hillel JUC. As an undergrad, Isaac was a double major in Philosophy and Communication Rhetoric, with a minor in Religious Studies. Isaac is was born and raised in North Jersey, right outside of New York City. In 2018, Isaac won 1st Prize in the University of Pittsburgh’s Annual Oratory Competition with his original speech on the Holocaust. When Isaac isn’t meeting with students on Pittsburgh’s various college campuses or planning the next Birthright Israel or Onward Israel trip, Isaac enjoys quality food, good company, film, martial arts, cycling, and gaming.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Isaac about trip opportunities to Israel or if you just want to grab a drink at Starbucks!
Office Phone: (412) 621-8875, ext. 115