UF Hillel's approach guides each student to amplify their voice and find their place in the Jewish community. University of Florida Hillel offers Jewish Gators a diverse range of opportunities to engage in vibrant Jewish life. At a university as large as UF, Hillel provides Jewish students with the community and connection. Each year UF Hillel takes over 300 students to Israel; empowers hundreds of students through fellowships and internships in Jewish learning, community organizing, social justice, Israel, and more; serves thousands of Shabbat and holiday meals; and supports the work of hundreds of student leaders who oversee a full calendar of programming. Through this wide range of offerings, UF Hillel works to ensure every Jewish Gator is inspired to find their own voice and relationship with Judaism. UF Hillel helps students gain the skills and experience to be leaders on campus, build successful careers, and help enrich society.
Hillel’s mission is to inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel
Rabbi Jonah Zinn
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Rabbi Jonah Zinn is the proud Executive Director of University of Florida Hillel. Prior to assuming this role in 2019, Rabbi Jonah was the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Shaare Emeth, the largest reform synagogue in St. Louis. During his tenure he served the diverse needs of members of all ages, with a particular focus on youth, young adult, and early childhood engagement. He came to Shaare Emeth from New York City where he received his rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in 2014. Before entering rabbinical school, Jonah served as Assistant Director of Hillel at the University of Virginia from 2005-2009, during which time he was honored as a Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence. Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, Jonah has a B.A. from The George Washington University. He is married to UF alumna, Jamie Silverstein Zinn, who took him to his first game in the Swamp shortly after they met. Jonah and Jamie are the proud parents of Jacob and Talia.
Jewish Agency Israel Fellow
Originally from the small village of Kfar Vradim in Northern Israel, Nofar Abutbul is the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to UF Hillel. She comes to UF after serving in the Israeli Navy intelligence unit and graduating with a degree in special education from Oranim College. Nofar brings experience leading Israeli youth delegations to the UK and having spent a gap year volunteering in the Jordan River Village, a year-round camp for kids with chronic illnesses. She enjoys the outdoors, cooking and baking, yoga, and exploring new places. At Hillel, she focuses on connecting UF students with Israel, including working closely with pro-Israel students groups, such as Gators for Israel and Kulanu.
IACT Israel Engagement Associate
Ashley Jones is excited to be UF Hillel's IACT Israel Engagement Associate! Ashley was born and raised just outside of Chicago in Northbrook, Illinois. She has spent 9 summers at URJ Olin-Sang Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) as both a camper and a staff member. Ashley recently graduated with her Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University where she double majored in Political Science and Jewish Studies. On campus, Ashley was an active member of Phi Mu Fraternity and Rutgers Hillel. Ashley studied abroad at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem her junior year, serving as a fellow of the Nachshon Project.
Ashley is looking forward to moving to Gainesville and leaving her winter coat behind! Israel is her favorite place in the world and she cannot wait to share her love for the land with students by traveling with them on Birthright.
Campus Marketing & Development Manager
Ali grew up on Long Island and moved to Columbus, OH to become a Buckeye! She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2017 with a B.S.B.A in Marketing and minor in Nonprofit Management. She loved her experience as a Jewish Buckeye so much that she then joined the Ohio State Hillel team, first as an Engagement Associate and then as the Program and Marketing Director. After three years at OSU Hillel, she recently relocated to Washington D.C. and is excited to start her next chapter with Hillel International where she will support UF, Arizona State, and Vermont Hillels with their grassroots fundraising efforts. Ali is excited to be a part of and learn more about the UF Hillel community and help tell our Hillel story to our incredible supporters, families, and alumni. Outside of work, Ali has a Bernedoodle puppy, Bernie, who keeps her busy! She has enjoyed taking time this summer to safely explore her new home city through many walks, runs, and bike rides.
Director of Jewish Student Life
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Marya Slade is a native Midwesterner from Athens, Ohio. She spent 11 summers as a camper and a staff member at URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI), which she considers the inspiration for her work as a Jewish professional. After receiving her B.A. in Political Science from Knox College in Galesburg, IL, Marya served for five years as the Teen Educator at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA, the largest Reform congregation in Virginia.
Marya is thrilled to serve UF Hillel as the Director of Jewish Student Life, and is always eager to meet with students. After many cold falls and winters, Marya is excited to be able to spend so much time outdoors in sunny Gainesville. Call, text, or email Marya to meet for a walk and talk or coffee and conversation, or to learn more about the many opportunities to engage in Jewish life at UF.
Nicole Vitt is passionate about building an inclusive and supportive Jewish community and looks forward to doing so at UF Hillel as the Springboard Innovation Fellow.
Nicole is a graduate of Rollins College where she received a Bachelor’s degree in music and psychology. As a student, she was an active member of the varsity crew team and served on the Hillel student board. She is from the Greater Philadelphia area. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys finding new restaurants, CrossFit, and enjoying the beautiful Florida weather.
Director of Development
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Jamie (Silverstein) Zinn is thrilled to help advance UF Hillel's mission as Director of Development. A 2008 UF alumna, Jamie credits UF Hillel as the spark that ignited her passion for creating joyful Jewish community and pursuing a career in the non-profit sector. Following graduation, Jamie served as the Bronfman Fellow at Hillel International in Washington, DC working alongside then president Wayne L. Firestone. She went on to serve as Director of Engagement for Hillel at The George Washington University before moving to NYC where she spent over five years at Repair the World. Prior to returning to UF in 2019, Jamie served as the Associate Director of Development at Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University in St. Louis, where she partnered with physician scientists and grateful patients to advance cancer research through philanthropy.
An alumna of Florida Blue Key, Jamie held leadership roles in student government, Dance Marathon, and Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, where she served as chapter president and currently volunteers as their chapter advisor. She has been involved for over a decade with Sharsheret, specifically working to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, and has held numerous leadership roles in local Jewish organizations. Jamie is married to Rabbi Jonah Zinn with whom she shares their most important role of all--proud parents to Jacob and Talia.