Our Team

  • Stephanie Bekerman

    Birthright Israel IACT Coordinator

    Stephanie Bekerman

    Stephanie Bekerman is a transplant to UMD, originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  She graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2015 where she studied marketing and management. As Maryland Hillel’s IACT Coordinator, Stephanie loves everything about Israel from exploring Tzfat to eating delicious rugelach in the Shuk! Stephanie is excited to share Birthright Israel experiences with Maryland Hillel. In her spare time, she is always ready to watch a romcom movie marathon, loves dancing, traveling, and makes latkes like your grandma!

  • Elan Burman

    Capital Campaign Director

    Elan Burman

    After moving back home to South Africa for a few years, Elan returned to the Washington DC area in 2014 where he was working as the Director of Planned and Major Giving for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. In 2016, he decided to “return home” and assumed the role of Capital Campaign Director for Maryland Hillel, steering financial resource development efforts for our new building. Elan completed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, majoring in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Cape Town. He holds a Masters Degree in Jewish Communal Service with an emphasis in fundraising from Brandeis University. In 2016, he completed his Masters in Information Systems degree through Northwestern University. He is married to Jackie and is the proud father of Dina and Ariel. In his spare time he enjoys cooking (well eating actually), swimming, reading biographies and current affairs, and volunteering.

  • Liz Donaldson

    Office Manager

    Liz Donaldson

    Liz Donaldson has served as the Office Manager since 2007. She handles the administrative and financial needs of the office. Liz has been working within the Jewish Community since 1999. Prior to working at Maryland Hillel, she was the Office Manager at the Bernice Rabovsky Religious School at Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, MD. Liz grew up in Maryland and went to UMUC. She looks forward to helping and interacting with parents, students and staff. Students enjoy her positive personality and friendly demeanor. In her free time, Liz enjoys quality time with her husband Jason, their two children and two adorable dogs.

  • Sapir Frieman

    Jewish Agency Israel Fellow

    Sapir Frieman

    Sapir Frieman is the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at the University of Maryland Hillel. Sapir was born and raised by the beaches of center-north of Israel. After being a part of Bney Hamoshavim youth movement for most of her life, she served for two years as commander in the Israeli education force. With a B.A. in education- learning disabilities combiner with art at Tel Hai College, Sapir worked for the students union as head of culture department from planning a concept party through meaningful lectures of all topics. In her free time Sapir enjoys knitting, musicals, everything Disney, music, traveling and of course would love to share her passion and love for Israel with all of the students and UMD.

  • Maddie Friedman

    Operations and Communications Associate

    Maddie Friedman

    Maddie is a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘Em), where she received her B.S. in Public Relations with a Business Minor. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, she spent her time involved in the local Jewish community, as well as her summers at URJ OSRUI. Maddie is excited to be joining the team at Maryland Hillel as the Special Events and Catering Coordinator. Maddie previously served as a Public Relations Intern at Beck Media & Marketing, working with technology clients on media outreach and awards nominations. In her free time you can find Maddie in the aisles of Trader Joe’s, front row at a country concert, or looking up plane fares for her next big adventure. Maddie looks forward to becoming a part of the Maryland Hillel community, and cannot wait to see what being a Terp is all about!

  • Ari Israel

    Executive Director

    Ari Israel

    Rabbi Ari Israel is in his twenty second year as a Hillel Executive Director in College Park.  In addition to Rabbinic ordination, Ari has Masters Degrees in Medieval Jewish History as well as Secondary Education.  Ari is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, teaching Jewish Leadership, and also teaches for the Acharai Jewish Leadership Institute in Baltimore.  He is married to Suzy and their six children reside in Silver Spring, MD.  He is also an amateur photographer trying to pick up golf to avert a mid-life crisis.

  • MJ Kurs-Lasky

    Assistant Director (Student Life)

    MJ Kurs-Lasky

    Born and raised in Pittsburgh, MJ knows the true value of excellent ketchup, a great football team, and a strong Jewish community. After graduating from the University of Maryland in 2010, MJ worked at the non-profit KaBOOM! prior to joining the Maryland Hillel team in August 2015. In his spare time, he enjoys running, traveling, and cheering for the Terps!