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The CJN goes one-on-one with: Leah Oppenheimer | Education

Case Western Reserve University Hillel’s president for the 2022-23 academic year will be Leah Oppenheimer, a 21-year-old senior from Evanston, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.

She is a member of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago and graduated from Evanston Township High School. Throughout her three years as part of CWRU Hillel, she has served one year as secretary on the Hillel undergraduate leadership committee prior to her presidency.

Aside from her commitment to Hillel, she has been involved with the Jewish community as a camper and counselor at Habonim Dror Camp Tavor in Detroit.

2022-23 CWRU Hillel student board

Surname

position

Graduation Year

hometown

major

Leah Oppenheimer

President

2023

Evanston, Ill.

Polymer science and civil/environmental engineering

David Goldman

VP

2024

Bethesda, Md.

Psychology

Shira Schadick

Treasurer

2023

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Chemical engineering

Jordyn Kelly

Hillel Volunteer collaborative representative

2025

Cherry Hill, NJ

biology

Ari Ostrow

Keshet and Kol Cle representative

2024

Queens, NY

computer science

Elizabeth Miller

Russian-speaking Jews representative

2025

NYC

International studies and English, Russian minor

Liza Tack

General board member

2025

Highland Park, Ill.

neuroscience

CJN: When did you decide to first get involved with Hillel and what inspired you to take on a leadership position?

Oppenheimer: I started going to Hillel my freshman year to connect with Jewish students, and to find a space on campus where I could practice Judaism, which has always been an important part of my life. Taking on a leadership position was one key way to further my involvement in Hillel and to make my voice more visible.

CJN: How do you plan to lead the student board?

Oppenheimer: I like to base my leadership style on the voices of the other board members and giving everyone a space to share their ideas. I also want to encourage all of the members to be open to other experiences when planning activities for Hillel, and not to be afraid of trying out new ideas or making mistakes.

CJN: What excites you the most about this new role?

Oppenheimer: Being president has given me a way to connect with more students at Hillel, both others on HULC and general Hillel members. Everyone comes from different Judaic backgrounds, and I love being able to incorporate everyone’s traditions and ideas into the programming we plan.

CJN: How has Hillel shaped your college experience or had an impact on you?

Oppenheimer: Hillel has been a great way for me to make new friends and build strong communities. Furthermore, being on HULC has given me leadership skills, such as the ability to communicate, listen carefully, and be strong in my decisions.

CJN: How has Judaism impacted you and the decisions you make to get involved?

Oppenheimer: My Jewish upbringing taught me that Judaism takes many different forms, and made it a priority for me to foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable and their beliefs and ideas are respected. It also taught me the power of community, which has led me to put collaboration and the blending of ideas in the spotlight.

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