Position Overview

The Director of Jewish Student Life owns and implements the engagement strategy for engaging students in Jewish life at UC Santa Cruz (primary focus), CSU Monterey Bay, and Cabrillo College. In this position, you will support the work of the Jewish student leaders, engage students in meaningful Jewish conversations and experiences, expand the leadership pipeline and cadre of leadership students, and serve as a connector between Santa Cruz Hillel and partner organizations, including Hillel International, for national leadership opportunities for students.

As the Director of Jewish Student Life, you will be responsible for strategically planning on how we can best engage students. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for how we can reach all Jewish students, and you will have the opportunity to think outside the box for how to best bring in new students and keep current students engaged in Jewish life. As the Director of Jewish Student Life on a small team, you will need to think big while also managing all the small tasks that go into creating vibrant Jewish life on campus. You’ll have the tremendous opportunity to help students create a connection to Judaism that will last beyond their four years of college and help put in place and craft a vision for what Judaism looks like at the colleges we support.

The anticipated start date for this position is July/August 2024. For the right candidate, an earlier start date may be possible. 


Position Details

What You’ll Do

As Director of Jewish Student Life, you will

  • Develop one-on-one relationships with Jewish students by meeting them where they live, work, and/or study, utilizing creative methods to reach and connect them to Jewish life.
  • Mentor student leaders in their Jewish growth through individual meetings and group trainings in order to cultivate a Jewish community that is caring, diverse, welcoming, and actively inclusive.
  • Think of creative ways to engage students and student leadership, meeting students where they are at and bringing them into the Hillel community.
  • Work with students to implement a wide range of programs, including Shabbat and holiday celebrations, social opportunities, social justice projects, and Jewish learning opportunities (includes some evenings, weekends, Shabbat, and Jewish Holidays).
  • Possess knowledge and familiarity with Jewish Torah and text, Jewish ritual, and the Jewish calendar. Creatively approach our programs to provide nuance and sophisticated Jewish learning to students from a wide range of backgrounds.
  • Plan for, recruit, staff, and follow up with Taglit-Birthright Israel trips and other immersive experiences as needed.
  • Empower students to take ownership over their Jewish communities, cultivating dynamic leaders.
  • Evaluate success of events and programs and innovate ways to improve them to reach more students and have a deeper impact.
  • Maintain participant tracking database, and support with program marketing, social media, and content for the Hillel website.


As the Director of Jewish Student Life, a typical day may include:

  • Developing content and coordinating logistics for a student board leadership training.
  • Having a coffee meeting with a first-year student who has expressed interest in becoming more involved in Jewish life on campus.
  • Running a weekly event on campus, such as Schmooze and Schmear, to engage students in an organic way.
  • Collaborating with students to create a meaningful Passover seder that is welcoming to students who have never celebrated Passover before as well as students who have long-held Passover traditions.
  • Reaching out to students via email and DM to recruit for an upcoming Jewish Learning Fellowship cohort.
  • Working on a plan for what social media will look like for an upcoming speaker at Hillel.


What You’ve Accomplished

  • 3-7 years work experience. Previous experience with Hillel or organizations focused on Jewish youth and young adult engagement is highly preferred.
  • Degree and/or certificate in Jewish education, Jewish studies, or nonprofit management is a plus.


What You'll Bring To The Job

  • Proven success in community building and outreach, and previous experience in program visioning and implementation.
  • Experience in leading complex conversations about Judaism and Israel in a way that is approachable and meets students at various points in their personal Jewish journeys.
  • Experience managing and developing student leadership.
  • Significant knowledge about Judaism and education and a desire to continue to learn.
  • Ability to prioritize and balance multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Confidence initiating and running programs, and comfort asking questions.
  • A track record of building relationships with colleagues and students.
  • A team-oriented approach to work while still being a self-starter and an ability to take risks and learn from situations.
  • Strong written and verbal skills, effective at communicating with a variety of stakeholders.
  • A willingness to work atypical hours (evenings and some weekends) and travel.


What You'll Receive:

  • Salary ranging from $70,000-$80,000.
  • Comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance, a 403(b) retirement plan, life insurance, long-term disability (LTD), ample vacation days, sick time, and parental leave.
  • Opportunities to attend global conferences and immersive travel experiences for personal and professional development.


About Santa Cruz Hillel

Located between the beach and the redwoods, Santa Cruz Hillel supports Jewish students in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. Serving 400 students annually, with potential to serve hundreds more, Santa Cruz Hillel is a unique Hillel built off the relaxed Santa Cruz culture while serving an activist student population. As a small Hillel team of two, each staff member has the opportunity to create a lasting impact on the future of Santa Cruz Hillel and all of the students who engage with us.

Santa Cruz Hillel is located in the beach town of Santa Cruz, California, and serves as one of a handful of Jewish organizations in the county.  As a Hillel without a permanent building, programs and meetings take place on campus, in coffee shops, in parks, on patios, and in nature.

About Hillel International

In 1923, Rabbi Benjamin Frankel started Hillel with humble means, a noble mission and a breathtaking vision: to convey Jewish civilization to a new generation. Today, Hillel International continues to enrich the lives of Jewish students and is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world at more than 550 colleges and universities across North America and around the world. As Hillel evolves as an organization, the mission remains steadfast: to create lasting connections with every Jewish student that foster an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel and train them to become the next Jewish leaders.

Hillel is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to creating an accepting and inclusive environment for all.

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