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Rabbi Schiller stepping down as head of Tulane Hillel

After 11 years of transforming Tulane Hillel into one of the most innovative Hillels nationally, Rabbi Yonah Schiller will be stepping dow...

After 11 years of transforming Tulane Hillel into one of the most innovative Hillels nationally, Rabbi Yonah Schiller will be stepping down as executive director this summer.

Schiller will become the chief research and development officer for the Jim Joseph Foundation, a San Francisco-based group that supports Jewish education for youth and young adults.

New York Assemblyman Steve Stern, who chairs the Hillel board, said that through Schiller’s “hard work and ambitious vision, we have experienced and witnessed spectacular change, transformation and impact as an organization and community,” during which Tulane Hillel “has clearly become the gold standard for Hillels nationwide.”

A Boston native, before coming to Tulane, Schiller served as a rabbi and as the assistant director of the University of Florida Hillel from, 2005 to 2008. Schiller created and serves as senior project advisor to the Organizational Design Lab, an initiative that addresses institutional stagnation by questioning organizational assumptions, applying design thinking and other strategies to deliver transformational change for Hillels on more than 20 university campuses across the United States and Canada.

Schiller also serves as Special Projects Consultant at the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane, and lectures as an adjunct in ecumenical spirituality, Jewish civilization and mysticism.

Schiller was awarded the 2013 Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching Award for the most outstanding non-tenured professor at Tulane University and the Helen A. Mervis Jewish Community Professional Award from the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. Schiller is also a professional abstract mixed-media artist working out of his studio in New Orleans.

In 2017, Schiller was named one of the 50 most influential, accomplished and interesting American Jews by the Forward magazine. He serves as a national consultant to many organizations focused on building scalable systems, models and initiatives for designing inclusive and high-impact Jewish community.

In November, it was announced that Hillel International will honor him in May with the Edgar M. Bronfman Award, which is presented annually to a current or former Hillel professional who has served the movement with distinction and honor, and whose impact is outstanding and lasting, like the award’s namesake.

During his time at Tulane Hillel, student participation has quintupled, with participation rates over 90 percent of Jewish students and over 60 percent of the entire Tulane student body. He also expanded partnerships with the university and community organizations.

Schiller and his team created Tulane Jewish Leaders, which has expanded from 20 students to 413, with over 100 projects and initiatives annually.

In 2011, the new Mintz Center opened as Hillel’s facility, following a $4.5 million campaign.

Former board chairman Kevin Wilkins will lead the search for a new executive director. “We anticipate that this will be a position of great interest to many, as Tulane Hillel has never been stronger or more vibrant,” Stern said.
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Southern Jewish Life: Rabbi Schiller stepping down as head of Tulane Hillel
Rabbi Schiller stepping down as head of Tulane Hillel
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