North Carolina Hillel is thrilled to announce that we have hired Rabbi Melissa B. Simon as our new Senior Jewish Educator, starting in July in a full-time role.
“I am excited to join the North Carolina Hillel team as the Senior Jewish Educator at UNC-Chapel Hill,” said Rabbi Simon. “I am inspired by the work already done by my future colleagues and my predecessors. I am thrilled to be a part of the #1 most impactful Hillel and to further the mission of Hillel: inspiring every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Each Carolina student has their own Jewish journey and I can't wait to be a part of their story as we build strong Jewish life for the Tar Heels together.”
As the Senior Jewish Educator, Rabbi Simon will mentor students as they take critical steps in their development as adults and as Jews. She will also help to craft and implement a Jewish educational vision, engaging students in growing intellectually and spiritually. Rabbi Simon’s passions for Jewish education, social justice, inclusive Jewish communities and empowering young people will serve her well in her new role.
Rabbi Simon previously served as the Jewish Chaplain and Hillel Director at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. Prior to joining the Muhlenberg Hillel team in 2014, she was the Director of Lifelong Learning at Shir Tikvah, a Reform synagogue in Minneapolis, MN.
Rabbi Simon received Master's Degrees in Jewish Education and Hebrew Letters and was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. While a student at HUC-JIR, Rabbi Simon was named a Mandel Fellow, studying visionary leadership and Jewish education. She also served as the Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinic Intern and Director of Children's Education at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York.
Executive Director Ari Gauss added, "We're thrilled to welcome Rabbi Melissa Simon to NC Hillel. She is a skilled educator, as she has shown throughout her career. She connects effortlessly with students from a range of Jewish backgrounds and immediately puts them at ease; students consistently reported how comfortable they felt speaking with her and learning from her during her visit to UNC."
"Moreover, Rabbi Simon's experience as a Hillel director is invaluable. She understands college students and she's passionate about supporting them during this exciting and sometimes challenging period in their lives. And those of us who already knew her as a Hillel colleague had no doubt that she'd fit in perfectly and be a tremendous asset to Carolina's Jewish community."
“We also want to thank Rabbi Dr. Jenny Solomon, who served our community wonderfully in a part-time, interim role this year. We’re grateful for her service and all that she has taught our students and staff.”
We are excited to welcome Rabbi Simon and her family to North Carolina as she joins the team at NC Hillel this July.