The Wexner Foundation will host an important conference call exclusively for our constituents.

Thursday, January 30th at 12 noon, EST

Conference Call with President and CEO of Hillel International, Eric Fingerhut: Challenges of Leadership

The call will feature a candid conversation with Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of Hillel International, and Rabbi Daniel Smokler, a current Wexner Graduate Fellow (Class 24), and Dr. Susan Berman, a Wexner Heritage Alumna (Pittsburgh 07). Eric will discuss his career path and what led him to his current position; briefly describe what took place at Swarthmore Hillel and the action(s) taken; and share the leadership lessons he learned from the process. Then Daniel and Sue will each offer insights they have gained through their extensive service to Hillel and through their own pro and lay leadership lenses. We will be using what happened at Swarthmore Hillel ( and who sets policy on who can speak at Hillels) merely as a backdrop for a deeper conversation about leadership styles, when to make bold moves, and other lessons learned in the trenches. The call will then open up for a Q and A session.

To RSVP and receive dial-in information, please email Erika Stiel.

Eric Fingerhut is the President and CEO of Hillel International. He has devoted his entire professional life to public service and higher education. Fingerhut was appointed president on July 14, 2013 as the organization began its 90th year. Previously Eric was Corporate Vice President of Education and STEM Learning at Battelle, the world’s largest independent research and development organization, generating more than 6 billion dollars for R and D, annually.  His distinguished career also includes serving as: Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, Ohio’s system of public universities and colleges; an Ohio State Senator, and a US Congressman. Fingerhut received his juris doctorate from Stanford, is married to Amy and has two sons, Sam and Charlie.

Rabbi Daniel Smokler is Director of Education and Engagement at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU, and the founder of Hillel’s Senior Jewish Educator Initiative.  Funded by a major grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Senior Jewish Educator Initiative supports and charges master educators to explore moral questions with Jewish college students. Dan is also completing a doctorate in education and Jewish Studies at NYU as a Wexner Graduate Fellow, Class 24.   In 2011, the Jewish Week named Dan one of the 36 under 36 change makers in Jewish life.  He lives in New York with his wife Erin their two sons, Shalev and Nadiv (who is about 40 days old.

Dr. Susan Berman is a Wexner Heritage Alum (WHA) from Pittsburgh 07. She also represents Pittsburgh on the WHA Delegates Council. Sue has a long history of volunteer and philanthropic work in the Jewish community.  She recently completed a term on the international board of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.  Two years ago she finished 18 years of service on the board of Pittsburgh’s local Hillel, including serving as president.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, currently chairing the Planning and Funding Committee.  She and her husband are also this year’s co-chairs of the JCC’s annual fundraiser and Sue has served on numerous committees at her synagogue as well. Sue is a child psychologist and parent coach.  She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Doug and their two children, Leah and Jake, who both began high school this fall.


Please also note other upcoming virtual learning options, available to our members, fellows, and alumni:

Conference Calls:

Feb 18th, 12 pm EST, “Israel’s Internal Challenges – 2014: What Lies Beyond the Iranian Threat?”
with Barak Loozon, WIFA (Class 21), Director of the Israel & Global Network for the Jewish Federation of San Francisco in Israel, and Adv. Itzik Sabato, WIFA (Class 21), Director of Social Funds, Bituach Leumi, and moderated by Deb Housen-Couriel, Director, Wexner Israel Fellowship Program, and WIFA (Class 12)


Feb 6th, 2pm EST, “What Do We Think About Jewish Men?”
with Rabbi Dan Brenner, click here to register.
(publicity to follow in next week’s WexnerLEADS)

Lunch & Learns

Feb 6th, 12:30pm – 1:45 EST, “What Do We Think About Jewish Men?”
a Lunch & Learn in the New York City Office with Rabbi Dan Brenner
(publicity to follow in next week’s WexnerLEADS).

Mar 24th, 12:30pm – 1:45 EST “Re-Dreaming Eretz Israel – A Window into Contemporary Zionism” a Lunch & Learn in the New York City Office with Rabbi Tamar Elad Appelbaum (publicity to follow).

For more information on these events and to RSVP, please contact Erika Stiel.