2015-09-16 / Voice at the Shore

Federation hires new director for Stockton Hillel, YLD

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER
Voice shore correspondent


Andrea Heymann the Federation’s new Hillel/YLD director. Andrea Heymann the Federation’s new Hillel/YLD director. Andrea Heymann, a 25-yearold Cherry Hill native and graduate student in Stockton University’s Holocaust Studies program, is the Federation’s new Hillel and Young Leadership Division (YLD) director. Heymann started in her new position on September 8.

Heymann is a perfect fit for the job, said Federation Executive Director Kirk Wisemayer.

“She’s very personable, bright, very familiar with the Stockton campus, and very interested in the Young Leadership Division—and the fact she’s in their age group is perfect,” he stressed. “Our community needs to do much more to engage this demographic; they are our future.”

As Hillel and YLD director, Heymann is tasked with creating programs for both Stockton students and young professionals that “will resonate with people and make them feel connected,” said Wisemayer.

Even before starting her new position last week, Heymann said that many Stockton students and faculty had reached out to her to offer their support. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and passion for improving Hillel here,” she noted.

“I really want to put Stockton’s Hillel on the map and make it a great chapter,” she said.

Heymann has been in the Holocaust studies Master’s program since 2013 and will finish this spring. Although there are no survivors in her family, she became interested in the Holocaust after first studying it as an 8th grader at Kellman Brown Academy, a Hebrew Day School now in Voorhees. “I was interested in the psychology…how people could do such terrible things,” she explained.

While studying at Stockton, she has gotten to know many local Holocaust survivors as well as students and faculty. One of the most surprising things about the program, said Heymann, is the fact that there is only one other Jewish student among the 15-20 graduate students in her program.

Indeed, after growing up in the is Cherry Hill area, which she described as “a Jewish bubble,” and then attending Goucher College in Maryland, which is about 30 percent Jewish and has an extremely active Hillel, Heymann was surprised by the small number of Jewish people and lack of Jewish life at Stockton. “Here, Hillel is very quiet. I’ve never seen a Hillel flyer on campus.”

In addition to setting up tables around campus to talk to Jewish students and putting out flyers about Hillel activities, Heyman is planning to reach out to students through social media, including Facebook and other platforms.

She plans to do the same with YLD. “Social media is really the way that younger people relate and communicate,” she stressed, noting that even email isn’t really the way to go when it comes to reaching her demographic. “Everyone gets way too many emails,” she said.

Heymann is also excited by the opportunity to work with YLD. Although her family has a summer home in Brigantine (where she has been staying while studying at Stockton), she was thrilled to discover that so many people her own age live here year round. “I was really excited to learn that this commu- nity existed here and was thriving to the extent that they needed someone to plan programming!” she said.

According to Wisemayer, Heymann’s newly created Hillel/YLD director position has been in the works for several years. “We identified the need for a staff person,” said Wisemayer, noting that up until now staffing has been “piecemeal,” with different agencies providing staffing by different people—meaning there has been no consistency. “This position was the vision of past Federation Leo Schoffer, the YLD’s Michael Burns, and Sheila Friedman. Current Federation Steven Scherzer made it happen.” .

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