Rutgers Hillel in New Brunswick has added a new senior Jewish educator and an IACT Birthright coordinator for Israel engagement. The flagship New Jersey Hillel has the largest undergraduate Jewish population in the country.
Rabbi Jason Cook, a Jewish community leader from Lake Oswego, Ore., will be Rutgers Hillel’s Reform rabbi and senior Jewish educator. He has 10 years of experience in Jewish communal and educational work and have focused on developing pluralistic Jewish communities of learning. For the last five years, he served the Cincinnati Jewish community in a variety of capacities while earning rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Previously, he worked in teen engagement at the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. At Rutgers, he hopes to use creative education opportunities to bolster the already vibrant Jewish community at Rutgers. Rabbi Cook lives with in Metuchen with his wife and their son.
Samantha Schnurman, a young Jewish professional from Rockaway, has joined Rutgers Hillel as the IACT coordinator. She brings four years of experience in leadership roles from her time as an undergraduate at Penn State University, with an emphasis on Israel engagement and education. As IACT coordinator, she will work to increase recruitment for Rutgers Birthright Israel trips while promoting Israel on campus.
“Rabbi Cook and Sam Schnurman make great additions to our team,” Rabbi Esther Reed, Rutgers Hillel’s interim executive director, said. “Now that Rutgers is bringing students back in person for the fall, we are excited to have the right people in place to ensure that Rutgers continues to be a great place to be Jewish.”