Middlebury Hillel Board Members
Jeffrey Bolnick, ’24
Jeffrey (he/him) is a junior Molecular Biology & Biochemistry major from Long Island, NY. Outside of Hillel, he is an SGA junior committee liaison, works in a biology/environmental health research lab, and volunteers as an EMT. He may be the only Midd kid who has yet to ski but that will hopefully change this year! He has the palate of a six-year old, and as such you can almost always find him in Proc eating mac and cheese, chicken tenders, pasta with butter, or a finely-crafted ice cream sundae. He is super pumped for another awesome semester on board, and his first as co-president!
Likes: chocolate, his dog Hank, Rangers hockey, taking joy rides, spontaneity, ping pong, long dinners with friends/family
Dislikes: Ross Dining Hall, waking up early, dessert that has fruit in it, non-NY bagels
Sammy Conrad-Rooney, ’25
Sammy (he/him) is a sophomore from Massachusetts, and although you might be tempted to ask, “Are you from just outside of Boston,” keep in mind that “just” means two hours. That was a long way of saying that he is a proud lifelong resident of Amherst, MA (make sure to keep the h silent). Sammy has not decided on a major yet, but with each passing day is moving closer to the Department of Sociology, just like how the hands on his watch tick closer to the start of class as he rushes to eat a meal in Proc right before running to Axinn. When not trudging to the FIC from across campus, Sammy enjoys playing Scottish smallpipes (a respectfully quiet type of bagpipe) and the Irish whistle. If that isn’t niche enough, you can tune in to “Trad in Vogue” on the college radio station while he plays a selection Scottish and Irish traditional music. He is excited to continue his journey on Hillel board and achieve his goal of meeting all the Jews on campus.
Community Engagement/Academic Chair
Sylvi Teich, ’25.5
Sylvi (she/her) is not really sure where she calls home – she grew up outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but has been living about 20 miles south of the Canadian border in Potsdam, New York, for the past 3-ish years. She’s convinced that in another life she would’ve been a world-class ski jumper (let her know if you hear of any learn-to-ski-jump camps for college students). Sylvi is majoring in German with a likely double minor in Linguistics and Political Science with the hope of going into translation and interpretation after college. Outside of Hillel, Sylvi is the president of German Club, is a peer tutor, and is attempting to learn Finnish. She loves all things winter and on any given day you can find her counting down the days until she can wear sweaters and snow boots again. When not daydreaming about her plans to open a bagel shop in the Austrian Alps, she can be found journaling with her collection of fountain pens, listening to Giant Rooks and AnnenMayKantereit, or going on long walks no matter the weather. Sylvi is very much looking forward to working more with the Jewish community both on and off campus this year!
Israel Dialogue and Education Chair
Noah Miller, ‘25.5
Noah (he/him), dubbed “baby feb Noah,” is a sophomore feb from the San Francisco Bay Area – about as far away from midd as you can get in the country (… intentionally). Like your average feb, Noah loves skiing, solo traveling, exploring Vermont’s cute towns on weekends, and has no idea what he wants to do with his life. He is a prospective International Global Studies major, but check back at the end of the semester to see if that sticks. He has unhealthy(?) obsessions with cheese, his dog, and Jewish summer camp (Ramah Rockies represent!). Outside of Hillel, he is a mental health peer educator (with the incredible Katie), a campus tour guide, and enjoys hanging out with the Hebrew and Badminton clubs. He can’t wait to be a part of Hillel board this year and continue the good work of his Noah predecessors.
Jonathan Mount, ‘25.5
Jonathan (he/him) is a sophomore Feb from Park City, UT. Although currently undeclared, Jonathan is planning on pursuing a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology while also dabbling in some theatre. Jonathan’s favorite building on campus is Bi Hall, and his least favorite building is Ross Dining Hall (sorry not sorry). Jonathan’s favorite activities include all of the standard Feb tropes such as hiking, skiing, and singing. Jonathan is extremely excited to be joining Hillel this year to simultaneously become a better Jew and improve the social media.
Aaron Cohen, ‘25.5
Aaron (he/him) is a sophomore feb from Glastonbury, CT (and that charming fellow to his right is Elvis, also from Glastonbury). The thought of choosing a major is slightly terrifying to Aaron, but he finds Environmental Policy to be pretty cool. He can most often be found hiking/running/walking outdoors, prepping a WOMP performance on the Forest East piano, or beating you in bananagrams (but only because he makes up words). Aaron loves nothing more than some good Jewish rituals (so much so he’s chair of them!) and is looking forward to another lovely semester with Hillel.
FIC Manager, Secretary
Hannah Hayes, ’23
Hannah (she/her) is a senior from Oakland(not San Francisco), CA. She is an avid BTS fan and will always be happy to update you on their activities. Being from Oakland she takes the Warriors very seriously (along with, let’s be honest, about six other sports) and has recently gotten into Formula 1 because, well, the drama is exquisite. Aside from these worthy pursuits, she is a History and Education double major. This has led to her having many strong opinions about historical tv shows that don’t know what they are doing. You can find her around campus working as a coordinator for Language in Motion, dancing with Midd Masti, and playing with her mentees through DREAM. Most importantly, if there are toffee bars in any of the dining halls please alert her immediately.
Katie Domar Ostrow, ’23
Katie Domar Ostrow (she/her) is just another classic NJG/JOB… or is she? (Don’t worry, she knows that New York bagels and lox are far superior.) She is a senior psychology major/religion minor, and while this is her second semester on the Hillel board as co-meals chair (and unofficial team mom), she has been an active member since day one of her Middlebury career. Food — especially baking — is one of her passions and she loves bringing the community together over home-cooked meals, especially those inspired by her own/others’ Jewish heritage. She is also co-chair of the Mental Health Peer Educators (of which the fantastic Noah is a member as well) and a frequenter of yoga club. If you’re looking for her, there is a 1000% chance that she’s in BiHall (is psych STEM? …) if she’s not in the Jewish Center kitchen. She’s looking forward to continuing cherishing and contributing to the community (more like family!) that first made Midd feel like home to her.
Rachel Peck ‘25
Rachel (they/them) is a sophomore from Cambridge (Old England). Rachel is (joint) majoring in History and Film and when they’re not doing that, playing quidditch, or watching bake-off, or designing meticulously well thought-out posters, they’re pulling strings to make sure that, when you’re chilling with Hillel, you are conclusively not not unhungry. Have no fear; Rachel cooks well for a British person. They say they’re “bare chuffed” to be on board and will do anything short of going vegan to make your time with Hillel the best part of your day.
Melanie Leider, ’23
Mel Leider is a senior from JONYC (just outside NYC)… but on the Jersey side (they don’t like to talk about it). They are a proud relative (5th cousin once removed) of THE Shelley Winters who Mel, up until recently, thought was in Titanic. She is in fact not. Mel is an anthropology major with minors in environmental studies and Spanish because apparently one minor is not enough (it’s the Middlebury in me). They enjoy rock climbing, skiing, hummus, dancing, collecting tchatchkes, hugging, and calling their friends bubelah. Mel loves meeting new people and encouraging Jews and non-Jews alike to come join us for a lovely Friday evening with the Hillel mishpachah.
Julia Roth, ‘25
Julia (she/her) is a sophomore from Newton, MA (true JOB, a.k.a. Jew Outside of Boston), potentially majoring in International & Global Studies with a minor in Education Studies. She can usually be found dancing, skiing, or playing guitar/pretending to be Taylor Swift. Her favorite food is bagels, of course, and her favorite games are Bananagrams and Jewish geography. She is excited to be on board this semester and to organize meals for the Jews of Midd!
Interim Associate Chaplain/Rabbi
Rabbi Yitzhak Nates
Yitzhak, or Yitz, became a rabbi, which means teacher, in 2000. He is a Reconstructionist rabbi, meaning he works on being open to just about everything, as long as people aren’t getting hurt. His life as a college chaplain began at the end of July, 2022, and he is excited about meeting students, listening to them, taking walks, cheering them on, supporting their inner lives. Alongside his foundation in Judaism, Yitz is a student of A Course in Miracles, which posits how we are all children of a single holiness, all people are our brothers and sisters, and how viewing this so challenging world as a classroom often proves helpful. Turning often to the question, ‘what is the lesson, for me, here and now?’ He looks forward to bringing his universal kind of Judaism to our Shabbat practices in particular and Jewish learning in general. At the same time Yitz is eager to work with all students and staff alike; learning from all — all the different forms of Judaism, religion, non-religion, and spiritualities he encounters. With an attention currently to the growing number of human beings in our area dealing with food insecurity.
Rabbi Danielle Stillman
*On leave for the 2022-23 academic year
Rabbi Danielle (she/her) is excited to be the Jewish Chaplain at Middlebury. She has previously worked as Jewish Chaplain at Lehigh University, Ursinus College, and as a program director at Harvard Hillel. She holds rabbinic ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, a Master in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a BA in Religion from Oberlin College. Danielle has traveled and lived in Israel, India, Nepal, Tibet and a few other fabulous countries. Her Jewish practice is infused with mindfulness and an emphasis on the Jewish traditions which connect us to the Earth. She would love to have tea with you to discuss all this and more, so please be in touch!
Ira Schiffer was the Associate Chaplain/Rabbi at Middlebury College for many years. He and his family arrived in Middlebury in June 2001 after a five-year adventure living in the north of Israel, where Ira was involved with community building and Arab-Jewish coexistence programs. Prior to that, he served congregations in Newark, Delaware and Baltimore, Maryland for a period of nineteen years.
Ira’s rabbinic training was at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; he holds a Master’s degree in the History of Religions from Brown University.
In addition to his work as Hillel Rabbi, Ira worked with the students, faculty and staff of the College in supporting religious life on campus and building bridges of understanding among the diverse groups that make up the Middlebury community.