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Our Team

We believe in a pluralism that begins with the diversity of our staff


Meet the Team

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Emily Block 
Assistant Executive Director

Emily comes to Cornell Hillel after previously working as the Assistant Director of Jewish Student Life at Rollins College Hillel where she served as the inaugural solo director for almost 4 years. Emily is a Connecticut native- having attended the University of Connecticut for her undergraduate degree, which she received in Political Science and Human Rights, as well as her Masters in Public Administration with a focus in nonprofit management. She was also active in her Hillel in college, serving as president of the student board, as a member of the Board of Directors and finally as the Assistant Director. It was through her experience with Hillel that her passion for enhancing and empowering Jewish life on college campuses grew.

Rabbi Ari Weiss
Executive Director

Rabbi Ari Weiss is a Jewish educator, thought leader and social entrepreneur. He has led multiple initiatives in the Jewish educational, social justice, and innovation ecosystems that engage young adults and connect them to Jewish values, ideas, and community.

Ari is married to Dr. Sara Kranzler. They are the proud parents of Adir, Batya, and Tal.

Rabbi Ari Weiss
Executive Director

Susanna (Susu) is a proud Mid-Westerner and Cornell graduate ’12. As a student, she was a passionate Hillel leader, best remembered for co-founding the Big Red Bar Mitzvah. With a decade of experience in development, she is thrilled to work for an organization that is so close to her heart. She loves connecting with parents and alumni and working with stakeholders to enrich Hillel’s programs and ensure the continuity of Jewish life at Cornell.


Susu enjoys visiting Ithaca while working remotely in New York City where she lives with her husband David and their son Remy.

Susanna Cohen
Deputy Executive Director, Alumni Affairs & Development
Nicole Hakimi 
Assistant Director of Development

Born and raised in New York City, Nicole is excited to be back on the East Coast after eight years in Silicon Valley. Hillel was a huge part of her life as an undergrad at Brooklyn College, where Nicole served as president of the executive board. She comes to Cornell Hillel with vast experience curating meaningful Jewish experiences for a range of different communities, most recently directing programming for graduate students and young professionals at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto.
Nicole works remotely from New Jersey, where she plays Mah Jongg, prays that the Mets make the playoffs, and delights in her teenagers, Charles and Rose.

Michelle Pasternak
Director of Operations

Michelle grew up in Brooklyn, New York having always been immersed in Jewish life and culture. She began her journey as an entrepreneur with a focus on operational management while simultaneously raising a family.  Following a career in the private sector honing her expertise in administration, finance and personnel, she was inspired to join Hillel. Michelle with her partner, Chaim, moved from Miami and settled in as empty nesters here in Ithaca.  Together, they have three children, all emerging adults who are finding their own way in the world.  Michelle enjoys running, gardening, baking and most of all checking items off her to-do lists in her extremely, organized planner. As a member of the team at Cornell Hillel, Michelle looks forward to an enriching experience. She hopes to meet and get to know each and every individual that passes through the Hillel office.  

(607) 255-9712
Yehoshua Hooper
Director of Experiential Israel Education & IACT Coordinator

Yehoshua (Yosh) Hooper grew up being a third-culture kid, constantly exploring new places and creating art along the way. He received his MA in Jewish Education, Nonprofit Development and Art Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York City. During his time at JTS, he did a joint MA program with the iCenter in Israel education and is also a Birthright Fellow. Yosh is part of the artist residency program at JTS and worked at the Jewish Art Museum which fueled his passions for uniting Torah studies with the fine arts. Yosh loves to travel and there is no place like Israel.  He has lead various Birthright trips, studied abroad for a year at Tel Aviv University, and after his MA he spent two years studying at Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Here in Ithaca, you’ll find Yosh either hiking on trails, slacklining, or in his art studio. He can’t wait to be leading our Cornell Hillel Birthright trips. Join him for some Yerba mate or a fresh cup of coffee.


Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Joanna graduated from Northwestern University in 2021 and majored in Learning and Organizational Change with a minor in Spanish. While at Northwestern, she was a senator for Student Government, served as Vice President for the Northwestern Hillel Exec Board, and studied abroad in Barcelona her junior year.⁠
Joanna loves coffee chats (but actually only drinks tea), Peloton, and baking desserts and challah. Her life goal is to travel to all of Buzzfeed’s top 27 ice cream shops in the world - she is currently at 13!

Joanna Sherman
Springboard Innovation Fellow

Itay Sarig is so excited to be Cornell Hillel's new Israel Fellow. Itay is coming to Cornell after having worked with children and adults on the autism spectrum. He has volunteered at an LGBTQ youth movement, leading a group of teenagers. He also served in the army as a combat medic and loves to tell all about it. Itay enjoys almost any kind of sports and is always up to explore new places, food, music styles, camping and hiking. He can't wait to meet you on campus!

Itay Saring
 Morris J. Escoll '16 Israel Fellow

Jacob Kaplan-Lipkin
Slifka Rabbinic Fellow

Jacob is a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where he also plans to earn a Masters in Bible. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jacob graduated from Stanford University in 2019. At Stanford, he served as the President of the Jewish Student Association and was involved in Hillel. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, watching and playing basketball, reading short stories, and trying to podcast through Central Park. Jacob would be happy to take you out for coffee at your favorite spot to help him make up his mind about the best coffee on campus!

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Rav Benjy Koslowe
OU-JLIC Educator

Rav Benjy Koslowe is originally from Bergenfield, New Jersey. After graduating from Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC), he learned at Yeshivat Har Etzion (Gush) for two years. He then attended Yeshiva University where he learned in the Mazer Yeshiva Program, majored in Mathematics and Philosophy, and served as editor-in-chief of the independent student newspaper, The Commentator. Benjy continued his studies at Columbia Law School where he received his J.D. this past spring. He is slated to begin working in intellectual property transactional law at Ropes & Gray LLP this fall. Benjy has worked in informal Torah education and delivered chaburot at TABC, Gush, Camp Stone, and Yavneh at the Columbia/Barnard Hillel.

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Tamar Yastrab
OU-JLIC Educator

Tamar Yastrab grew up in Woodmere, New York. She learned in Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim (MMY) for one year and graduated from Stern College with a B.A. in Computer Science. She has learned in Moshava's Beit Midrash Program, Rabbi Aryeh Klapper's Summer Beit Midrash, taught at Drisha's High School Summer Program, and even spent one summer coding for Sefaria. This past year, Tamar worked as a software engineer on a risk management team at J.P. Morgan. She was fortunate to take GPATS classes as an undergraduate and looks forward to continuing her studies in Yeshiva University's Graduate Program for Advanced Talmudic Study full-time this year, working toward her master's degree in Biblical and Talmudic Interpretation.

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