Uri was appointed Executive Director of the Slifka Center in July 2018. Since then he has overseen a significant increase in student engagement with Jewish life on campus, a major renovation of its 19,000 square foot building, the modernization and expansion of organizational systems, a strengthening of organizational and community culture, a branding and communications renewal project, and more. He is also a resource to the Yale administration and the community more broadly in its efforts to educate about antisemitism and to proactively increase Jewish belonging at Yale.
Prior to coming to Yale, Uri served as the Executive Director of Queens College Hillel in the City University of New York. Highlights of that work include supporting the campus’ historic Bukharian and Orthodox communities while making Hillel a welcoming place for all students; completing a major renovation of the Hillel space, tripling the operating budget and quadrupling the size of the staff, and helping to restart the Hillel at City College. During his tenure, Queens College Hillel won Hillel International’s Outstanding Campus Award.
Prior to coming to Hillel, Uri held leadership positions with major fundraising responsibility at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan and Hillel International, among others.
Uri has been been studying, practicing, and teaching leadership for the last 30 years, and has spent two decades working for the Jewish community. He comes to Slifka with strong experience in fundraising, administration, management, community relations, and financial management.
Outside his time at Slifka Center, Uri is involved in his local synagogue, is an Eagle Scout and active Cub Scout leader, loves camping and the outdoors, and is a big Mets fan.
Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale
Rabbi Jason Rubenstein
Jason Rubenstein comes to Slifka Center from a background as diverse as Yale’s Jewish community: a childhood at Temple Micah in Washington DC, formative years studying at Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa in northern Israel, and rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary. For the past eight years Jason has taught on the faculty of the Hadar Institute, where he’s created classrooms, conversations, and communities that bring Torah to life by drawing on the fullness of students’ lives.
From his own formative undergraduate years at Harvard Hillel, Jason personally knows the value of Slifka Center’s work. Creating a community of meaning where students forge identities as Jewish leaders and relationships with one another that will continue to grow and deepen even after graduation not only enriches the lives of individual alumni – it has the potential to reshape and enliven the American Jewish landscape through those alumni’s talents and contributions.
In addition to rabbinic ordination, Jason holds an AB in Social Studies from Harvard College and a Masters in Talmud from JTS. He is also the recipient of numerous awards including the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and the Covenant Foundation’s 2015 Pomegranate Prize for Emerging Educators.
Jason and his wife, Arielle, are grateful to be raising their two sons in beautiful East Rock, as members of the gracious and brilliant Yale Jewish community.
Co-Director and Educator, OU-Jewish Learning Initiative
Rabbi Alex Ozar
Rabbi Alex Ozar and Lauren Steinberg joined as the JLIC couple at Yale beginning in Summer 2018! Together they’re excited to learn and cultivate a positive, flourishing spiritual community together with students and the broader Slifka Center family.
Rabbi Alex Ozar grew up in St. Louis, MO. A fourth generation Missourian on both sides, he left home to spend two blissful years studying in Israel at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh and then returned stateside to attend Yeshiva University, where he received his BA, MA and Semikha. A proud Bulldog himself, Alex is now pursuing his PhD at Yale in Philosophy and Religion, with a focus on prophetic witness and the how-to’s of pursuing justice in an often-indifferent world. He is especially excited that I-95 will no longer feature in his daily commute. Alex has worked for First Things magazine, as a Tikvah Fellow, and as a gemara teacher at Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford, CT. In his spare time, he enjoys rocking out with the acclaimed band Three Rabbis and a Cik, exploring the outdoors, and solving the cosmos’ problems with friends and family.
Co-Director and Educator, OU-Jewish Learning Initiative
Lauren Steinberg and Rabbi Alex Ozar joined as the JLIC couple at Yale in Summer 2018! Together they’re excited to learn and cultivate a positive, flourishing spiritual community together with students and the broader Slifka Center family.
Lauren Steinberg grew up in New City, NY and received her BA and MA in political science from Columbia University. After graduation, she worked as an assistant regional director for the Anti-Defamation League’s New York Regional Office, coordinating intergroup and interfaith affairs, and then as terrorism analyst at the ADL’s national Center on Extremism. Lauren traveled around the country briefing law enforcement and government officials on domestic recruitment and radicalization and was recognized for her expertise on the subject. For the past year, Lauren has directed the Jewish Community Relations Council in Stamford, Connecticut. She is excited to dive into this next chapter of her coalition and community building work, for the opportunity to learn Torah on the job, and just to be a part of the wonderful Yale and Slifka communities! In her spare time, she reads the news and as many books as possible from the library’s non-fiction new releases section and tries to get outside as much as possible.
Social Justice and Arts Springboard Fellow and Engagement Coordinator
Aviva recently graduated from Smith College with a degree in history and Spanish. They were involved in Smith’s student-run Jewish community and are excited to continue facilitating Jewish student engagement at Slifka. Through her studies at Smith, Aviva found a passion for public history and the power of history in activism and community engagement. Outside of school, Aviva pursued work in museum spaces and worked in the education department of the New Haven Museum. While not in the classroom or working in museums, Aviva can be found playing any type of music. While at Smith, Aviva played in the orchestra and wind ensemble as well as other student music groups, playing the clarinet, guitar, and ukulele.
Associate Jewish Chaplain
Rachel Leiken is excited to begin working at Slifka as the Associate Jewish Chaplain. She comes to Slifka from Harvard University, where she has served for the past year as the Multifaith Engagement Fellow at Harvard’s Memorial Church. There, she worked to build connections between Harvard’s numerous faith communities and campus centers and support students while they were away from campus. Prior to that role, Rachel received her Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. At HDS, she focused on the intersections of religion and justice work; embodied theology; and college and university chaplaincy.
Rachel holds a BA from Brown University in Religion and Ethnic Studies, and has also worked in Brown’s Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life as the Multifaith Coordinator and Chaplain Intern. She is trained as a community organizer through JOIN for Justice and has facilitated JOIN’s online course in community organizing through a Jewish lens. Prior to pursuing her call to college/university chaplaincy, Rachel organized with members of Boston area labor unions to build worker power. She has also worked for a number of Jewish organizations including OneTable and the Inside Out Wisdom and Action Project.
Rachel is originally from Southern California. She loves coffee and word games and lives with her partner, Ana, and their puppy Addie.
Jewish Agency Israel Fellow
Keren Almaz Marsha
Before I became an Israel Fellow I worked at a hi-tech company as a Human Resources Coordinator. After I finished my M.A, I decided to do something more meaningful for myself and other people. Since I’m coming from the beta Israel community and a Zionist family, one of my goals is to share my story and my point of view about Israel. As an optimistic person, I’m hopeful that I can share my enthusiasm for how great Israel is.
Over my tenure at Hillel at Kent State, I gained vast insight into American culture at Kent and spread Israel knowledge to hundreds of ambitious students. Through multiple programs, I was able to successfully share insights into Israeli culture, politics, and ideas – not only Israel but also the beta Israel nation and movement.
I helped re-found a program at Kent Hillel called Golden Flashes for Israel filled with multiple passionate students. Together, we inspired students to appreciate and understand Israel more. I’m very proud of the projects we did and its successes especially since students and staff still bring it up months later how it impacted them to research more about it and my story.
I am excited to join the Slifka Center community at Yale this Fall!
Student Life Operations Associate
Nick joined the Slifka Team Spring 2022. He is excited to make an impact and is looking forward to his future here at Slifka.
Nicholas graduated from American International College with a degree in Communications and minored in Visual and Digital Arts. Working in Residence Life his second half of college, Nicholas looks to bring that same upbeat energy to both students and Staff at Slifka. With a passion for making sure things are done right and effectively, Nicholas hopes to make any experience run smoothly for everyone.
In his free time, he is an avid gamer and enjoys playing rugby for his local teams.
Philanthropic Engagement Officer
Melinda has long been affiliated with the Slifka Center, most recently spending afternoons waiting outside the Library while inspiring Yale students tutored her son for his bar mitzvah. Personally grateful for the magic that happens at Slifka, Melinda jumped at the opportunity to work with devoted volunteers and supporters to further Slifka’s mission.
Prior to joining Slifka, Melinda enjoyed a successful career in alumni relations and development at Harvard and Yale. She has also supported numerous smaller non-profits, especially those that help New Haven flourish. Melinda graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison and was honored with a Wolfson Fellowship for Judaic Studies at Harvard Divinity School. She studied in the History of Religions doctoral program at University of Chicago before discovering a knack for business and earning an MBA at night at the University of New Haven. Melinda also studied for a year at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. She has lived many years abroad and appreciates exploring diverse Jewish neighborhoods across the globe.
In her free time, Melinda enjoys reading widely, hiking Connecticut’s trails, adding native plants to her garden, and recently has been taking classes in the Peabody Museum’s Natural Science Illustration program. She enjoys spending time with her husband and teenage son, and their mischievous Australian Shepherd.
Lynn Jackson Quinn
Lynn first came to Slifka Center in 2011 and is excited to be back to promote efforts which will benefit our students and mission. Her recent projects include consulting with an organization bringing Jewish and Arab youth together through classical music in Israel, and helping lead the successful resettlement of a large Syrian refugee family in conjunction with IRIS, the New Haven-based immigration services organization. After graduating from Harvard Lynn worked in banking and real estate finance in New York, with families which include some of Slifka Center’s earliest supporters. Later as Executive Director of the NYC Commission on the Status of Women she worked to strengthen diverse communities and has since served in professional and volunteer leadership roles for several non-profits. Lynn has considerable experience in developing alumni and parent programming for Ivy-plus institutions, and currently serves as secretary of the committee of trustees at the Hopkins School here in New Haven and is the immediate past chair of the Horizons student enrichment program at Norwalk (CT) Community College.
Hillel started working for Slikfa in the Fall of ‘22 and is excited to be part of the team here working behind the scenes.
Hillel took a gap-year after high school at Mayanot Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, really diving deep into Judaism and his connection with G-d. After returning to the US, he attended Towson University, receiving a bachelors and masters degree in Geography and Environmental Planning. After graduation during the pandemic, Hillel took another gap-year (that turned into two), learning more about Judaism at Hadar Hatorah Rabbinical Seminary in Brooklyn.
Hillel is married with a son and lives in New Haven. Outside of work he can be found spending time with family and friends, engaging in community activities, and enjoying the beautiful nature Connecticut has to offer.
Chef David S Williams
David joined the slifka staff in the fall of 2021. With 15 yeas experience in the culinary field, Chef David brings a creative and energetic passion for food and customer service to the slifka team.
In his free time David is an outdoor enthufsiast, enjoying kayaking, fishing, camping, mountain biking, downhill skiing, and snowboarding.
Margarita joined the Slifka Center staff as Office Manager in 2019, and promoted to Operations Manager in 2022. Before Slifka, she worked as an administrator and project coordinator in a multitude of industries, bringing with her wisdom from each. Margarita is passionate about sustainability through conscientious business practices. She finds joy in making the lives of those around her easier every day. Her motto is “I can find out!”
Margarita lives in Seymour with her partner, Dan, and their dog “LEGS!” who visits Slifka regularly.
Alan Brown joined Slifka Center as the Building Superintendent in 2022.
Alan began his journey in the US Army before moving on to facilities management, from there had his own fence company, Time and Pride, and then spent the last 10 years at the New Haven Police Department as the Lead Facilities Technician. He brings to Slifka 40 years of experience, proactive management skills, and positive attitude.
Alan lives in West Haven with his wife and 3 dogs; empty nesters after raising 4 children. He enjoys watching NFL games, winter ice fishing, binge watching True Crime, and spending time with his grandson.
Director of Finance
Elizabeth joined the Slifka center in 2022, building upon a career of over 30 years working with non-profits. Most recently, Elizabeth worked for the Boy Scouts of America, and prior to that in a higher education environment. Elizabeth believes that non-profits are a force for good in the world, and she is excited to experience the great work done every day here at the Slifka center.
Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Providence College and an MBA from CCSU. Outside her time in Slifka, Elizabeth enjoys time with her children and grandchildren, singing, swimming, movies, outdoor concerts and music in its many forms. Elizabeth lives by the beach in East Haven, with her husband, Michael Carey, and son, Jacob.
Mashgiach - Kosher Supervisor
I am Ronnie Berman, the Slifka Kikar Schusterman Mashgiach. I have been at Slifka since September, 2021. Prior to then, I was mashgiach at Penn State University, from 2017-2021. Before that, I was mashgiach at Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster, Pa., from 2007-2017.
I am originally from Baltimore, Maryland. I am married with 2 children. My wife Esther & I, live in downtown New Haven. My son, Shlomo, is married with 3 children. My daughter, Chana, is a nursery teacher at the JCC, in Baltimore.
I am looking forward to the new semester & meeting the incoming class of ’26.