This semester, Elon’s Hillel chapter experienced a leadership transition when the director stepped down.
Ginny Vellani has been named the new director of Elon University’s Hillel chapter. Before accepting the position, Vellani had previously been involved with the Jewish community on Elon’s campus.
Rebecca Joseph, former Hillel director, assumed her position summer 2014 to replace Nancy Luberoff. Luberoff had been director of Hillel since 2008 and was influential in building Hillel’s presence on campus.
Junior Rachel Garrity, the current president of Hillel, said one of the primary reasons Luberoff resigned was because she felt her strength was in establishing organizations.
“Once Hillel was flourishing, she decided to hand the reins over to someone else,” Garrity said.
Joseph, an ordained rabbi, took over after Luberoff left. But, the position was not an ideal match.
“It was not a good fit either way — both for Becky and for students,” Garrity said. “She went on personal leave over Winter Term, and it was announced that she was stepping down at the end of Winter Term or beginning of spring semester.”
“She has worked very closely with the Jewish students and the Truitt Center and religious life,” Garrity said. “She has been very involved in Jewish life, and I think she was kind of the obvious choice when Becky stepped down.”
This transition of leadership extends beyond just those involved with Hillel. The Jewish community on Elon’s campus is very interconnected, and the few Jewish organizations often share many of the same members.
Sophomore Elena Goldman, one of Hillel’s engagement interns who helps integrate freshman Jewish students to Jewish life on campus, explained that Vellani will be working with the Jewish community as a whole, not just Hillel.
“The Jewish community on campus has always been extremely connected, and that will not change this semester,” Goldman said. “There are student leaders for each individual organization, but we all work together as a whole and with Ginny to support each other.”
These organizations include leaders of the Jewish fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau, Call for Hunger and the Israel Dialogue and Education Advocacy. The transition has impacted each of these organizations in some capacity.
“There’s just the baseline that we’re all Jewish-based organizations,” Garrity said. “We do a lot of co-sponsorship and programming and events together. It has really affected all the Jewish entities on campus.”
Students leaders in the Jewish community are looking forward to Vellani’s role in Hillel.
“I think Ginny will do an excellent job as the director of Hillel. She knows the majority of the students and is eager to get to know as many people as possible,” Goldman said. “She also had a lot of experience with our Hillel and really wants to do whatever she can to make her students happy.”