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Born and raised in a small Connecticut town, and married to the amazing Alayna, Matt has spent the past decade building Jewish community in Los Angeles. Matt is so excited to be the new Executive Director of Hillel 818, and looks forward to helping grow Jewish community in the Valley, guiding students from CSUN, Pierce College, and Valley College on their Jewish journeys. He is a Jewish day school, youth group, summer camp, Hillel and Birthright veteran, and spent eight years at Sinai Temple as the Atid and Teen Director. Matt earned a Masters of Arts in Education from the American Jewish University, and a B.S. in Advertising from Boston University, where he was active at Hillel as President of the Conservative Minyan, a member of the Religious Life Council, and guitar player and songwriter for Jewish rock band "The Rif." Matt is a TV & movie fanatic, die-hard NBA buff, and Johnny Cash impersonator, who is always on the lookout for the next great lunch spot.
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A San Fernando Valley native, Evan is thrilled to be joining the team at Hillel 818! Prior to starting with Hillel, she worked as an Assistant Director at Camp Alonim. Evan received a dual-Master’s Degree in Jewish Professional Leadership and Near Eastern & Judaic Studies from the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. A graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder (Go Buffs!), Evan was heavily involved in Hillel at CU-Boulder, serving as Vice President of its student board. She knows firsthand how impactful being involved with Hillel can be, and is excited to help students find personal, relevant and meaningful connections to Judaism. Evan loves to spend time hanging out with friends, buying too many cookbooks, hiking with her dog Molly, and scouring Los Angeles top to bottom for the perfect taco.
Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to Hillel
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Ariella is the new Jewish Agency Israel fellow at Hillel 818. She just moved to Los Angeles from Tel Aviv, where she served two years in the Israeli Defense Force as a Sergeant of Operations in the West Bank. After her service, she spent 8 months traveling India, Nepal and Sri-Lanka. After her travels, she received a BA in Psychology with a minor in communications from the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) of Herziliya. She speaks English, Russian and Hebrew. During her free time, she likes to play guitar, hike, camp, and workout.
Come by her office anytime!
Innovation Springboard Fellow
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Paulette Gindi is Hillel 818’s Innovation Specialist. After graduating Brooklyn College with a BA in journalism, she moved across the country to serve as a Springboard Fellow for Hillel 818’s students of the San Fernando Valley. She is excited to work with students to explore the relationship between Judaism and art, and continue Hillel 818’s legacy of engaging the Israeli, Persian, and Russian Jewish communities.
When she's not schmoozin’ with students in her office, she can be found wandering Los Angeles like a New Yorker, and in search of the best hummus in the valley.
Rabbi Bryan and Sondra Borenstein,
OU-JLIC, Alevy Family Foundation Rabbinic Couple
Rabbi Bryan was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. As a teenager, he took summer school classes at all 3 campuses where he now works; California State University, Northridge, Los Angeles Valley College, and Pierce College. After YULA, he spent a year and a half in Israel studying at Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim. Returning to the United States, he continued his learning at Yeshivat Torah M’Tzion while attending Touro College and received a degree in Business Management. When not in the office, Rabbi Bryan can often be found working out or hiking in the local mountains. Rabbi Bryan and Sondra are honored to work with students and young professionals through the partnerships established with OU-JLIC, Hillel 818 and the Alevy Family Foundation.
If you haven’t already, feel free to stop by and introduce yourself, they are always looking for an excuse to go to Coffee Bean!
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Sondra has lived majority of her life in Ventura County, and after graduating high school decided that San Diego would be her new home. In San Diego, Sondra pursued a Political Science degree while dancing for her university’s dance team. She was active member of her sorority, Alpha Phi, and over a decade later, her sorority sisters were in full attendance at her wedding! During Sondra’s junior year of college, she had the life-changing opportunity to study abroad at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A genuine mover and shaker, Sondra has launched many programs and opportunities for Jewish students and young professionals to gather and to create community. Sondra learned at Manhattan Jewish Experience (NYC), Aish HaTorah (Los Angeles), Bais Chana (Minnesota) and Midreshet Rachel v’Chaya (Jerusalem). She was a madricha for Mayanot Birthright Israel.
Always open to new experiences, Sondra has lived in British Columbia, San Francisco and New York City until her return to Southern California. Sondra’s previous employment spanned a variety of arenas: real estate development, elementary education and health care management. You can find Sondra giving Torah-based classes, practicing yoga (she is a certified yoga instructor), snowboarding and skiing or discussing sustainability and green living.
Julia Martini is the Programming Associate at Hillel 818. She spends half her time at Los Angeles Valley College and Pierce, and is excited to grow Hillel 818's presence on those campuses! She grew up in the Valley, left to study international affairs at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and then came right back. She is excited to stay in the San Fernando Valley and work at Hillel 818!
When she's not at Hillel, she loves to listen to music and go to concerts. So feel free to stop by or meet for coffee to talk all things Hillel 818 (or Drake's music!).
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A San Francisco Bay Area native (go Giants - sorry!) Rebecca's involvement with Hillel goes back to her undergraduate days at Brandeis University, and later as Assistant Director of Student Activities at Harvard Hillel. After many intervening years, she's thrilled to be back as the Operations Manager for an organization she really believes in.
Call or stop by on weekdays to say hello and for general assistance, and if you speak Israeli folk dance, cooking, or Torah reading, even better!
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