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Our Staff

  • Dan Marcus

    Executive Director and CEO

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: (412) 621-8875 ext. 102

     

    Dan is originally from London and has spent the past six years as Chief Executive of UJS Hillel in the UK. UJS Hillel is the UK's national Jewish student organization supporting and representing over 8,000 Jewish students across the country. Prior to taking on this role, Dan was Executive Director of Johns Hopkins Hillel and Assistant Director of our very own Hillel JUC, where he worked from 2001-2006. Dan is a passionate advocate for Jewish students and is hugely excited to be returning to the JUC and getting to know as many students as possible. His door is always open to every student and coffee (or tea) is always on him. Dan is a big fan of classic British and American comedy and believes himself to be an aficionado in all things soccer related. Dan and his wife Debbie have three children, Benji, Natan and Eliora who are sure to be seen at the JUC especially around the ping pong and pool tables!

  • Matthew Callman

    Israel Engagement Coordinator

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: (412) 621-8875 ext. 115

     

    Matthew is a born and raised Long Islander who is thrilled to join the Hillel JUC and bring students to Israel.  During the summer of 2012, Matthew participated on his Birthright Israel trip and fell in love with the country.  He graduated from Molloy College in 2014 with a degree in Biology with a certification in Adolescent and Special Education.  Upon graduation, Matthew spent a year in Israel as a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow during the 2014-2015 school year, and then spent the 2015-2016 school year teaching High School Biology.  When not recruiting for the next life-changing Birthright Israel trip, you can find him swimming, biking, running, or hiking around the Pittsburgh area. 

    If you or someone you know is eligible for Birthright, Matthew is ready to talk to you about this amazing journey!!
  • Lori Ferguson

    Development Coordinator

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: (412) 621-8875 ext. 107

     

    Lori graduated from Pitt (2015) with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work, and she spent her senior year at Hillel as the Programming and Development intern. After graduation and a few months spent working at Hillel's front desk, she participated in a yearlong fellowship for Repair the World: Pittsburgh. During this time, she helped to advocate for food and education justice in Pittsburgh and became deeply connected to the world of nonprofits. A Pittsburgher through and through, Lori is always happy to offer her opinions about the best places to watch Steelers games, catch happy hour, or dine on the cheap!

  • Julia Katz

    Director of Development

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: (412) 621-8875 ext. 112

     

    Born in California and raised in Baltimore, Julia has lived in St. Louis, Atlanta, and now Pittsburgh. Julia earned her B.A. in Women and Gender Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Previously, she worked at Hillels of Georgia where she was first the Director of Jewish Student Life at Georgia Tech and then the Director of Development. When Julia is not working, she enjoys traveling, being an advisor for the Phi Beta chapter of Chi Omega at Pitt, attending Pitt sporting events, and exploring the Steel City.

  • Danielle Kranjec

    Senior Jewish Educator

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: (412) 621-8875 ext. 118

     

    Danielle has been working as a Jewish educator in various capacities throughout Pittsburgh since she moved here in 2011. Most recently she served as the Adult Education Coordinator at the Agency for Jewish Learning. Danielle holds an MA in Medieval Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she also completed her doctoral coursework. A medievalist by training, Danielle received her BA from Oberlin College, was a Graduate Research Fellow at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and also completed studies at the Universidad Castilla-La Mancha and the Universidad de Cordoba in Spain, as well as at NYU, The CUNY Graduate Center, and Columbia University. Danielle is excited to be a resource for students, and will be happy to buy (or make!) you a smoothie any time. Danielle lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband Alex, a professor at Duquesne, and their son Eli.

  • Robyn Markowitz Lawler

    Assistant Director

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: (412) 621-8875 ext. 111

     

    Robyn is trading in her Philly cheesesteaks for Primanti Bros. sandwiches (gluten free, please!) and is thrilled to be living in the City of Champions. She received her BA in Sociology from IUP and her MSW from Pitt; she has worked in higher education ever since. In Robyn's free time, you may see her kayaking down the Yough river, eating at Thai Cuisine, hiking somewhere in Ohiopyle State Park, or possibly finding a love match for someone. Robyn is very excited to meet with students and can't wait to take you for coffee or Razzy Fresh!!

  • Elina Lipov

    The Helen and Herman Lipsitz Jewish Agency for Israel Fellow

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: (412) 621-8875 ext. 110

     

    Elina is originally from Netanya, Israel (but born in Ukraine). She is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with a B.A. in Business Management and Media Communication & Journalism. After graduation Elina worked as the Distributor Coordinator for an innovative baby product company. After her time marketing baby products, Elina moved on to market her amazing country, and is excited to be involved in bringing Israel to campus. If you are interested in hearing more about Elina or just talking about the weather, she would love to meet you for coffee, cake or anything else involving food :)

  • Ronna Peacock Pratt

    Director of J'Burgh and Strategic Engagement

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: (412) 621-8875 ext. 108

     

    Ronna is a life-long “Pittsburgher.” She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Anthropology in 2007, and from Duquesne University with a Masters of Business Administration in 2015. Ronna has always been an active member of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community through J’Burgh, Jewish youth groups, the Hillel Jewish University Center, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. She currently lives in Highland Park, and loves being a part of such a dynamic and fun organization!

  • Samantha Saltzman

    Operations Assistant

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: 412-621-8875 ext. 104

     

    Samantha is a native Pittsburgher who is proud to be a Hillel JUC alumna. She previously interned at Hillel JUC doing the newsletter and social media, and she's so excited to be back! She graduated from Pitt in 2014 with her B.A. in English Writing, a minor in Religious Studies, and certificates in Gender/Sexuality Studies and Jewish Studies. She's currently working on her M.S. in Library Science, and she's always willing to talk books! When she's not at the Hillel JUC front desk, you can find her working her way through her 10-page reading list and exploring the city's cultural arts scene. Stop by the front desk and say hello! Samantha can be reached at

  • Jodi Tandet

    Director of Jewish Student Life for the University of Pittsburgh

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: 412-621-8875 ext. 101

     

    Jodi grew up in South Florida but felt equally at home at URJ camps and NFTY events. She graduated from Emory University in 2010, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in Jewish Studies, then swapped the East Coast for the Western Wall to live in Israel for five months. In 2014, she earned her master's degree in College Student Affairs and prior to relocating to the 'Burgh, spent two years as the Program Director of Cornell University's Hillel. Jodi invites Pitt students to meet her in her office (or their favorite campus spot) to learn about leadership opportunities, pitch creative program ideas, or hear about her latest Netflix obsession.

  • Alex Zissman

    Jewish Life Coordinator at CMU

    Email: [email protected]

    Office phone: (412) 621-8875 ext. 119

     

    Alex comes to Hillel JUC after graduating from the University of Delaware with a BS in Organizational and Community Leadership. Originally from the Washington D.C. area, Alex has worked with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Jewish Federation of Delaware. After his involvement with UD Hillel, including serving as the student president, Alex is very excited to be working with the JUC staff and students. Most likely, Alex can be found on CMU campus, eagerly meeting as many students as possible. He welcomes all Jewish CMU students to join him for a cup of tea, or coffee if you prefer. While not working, Alex can be found on the tennis court, traveling, or exploring Pittsburgh.