Meet Our Staff

About UConn Hillel

Edina Oestreicher

Executive Director

Edina comes to UConn Hillel with over 20 years of experience serving in a variety of student affairs capacities, most recently as Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the University of Bridgeport.

 

Passionate about engaging the Jewish community, she serves as a contracted trainer for the Anti-Defamation League where she facilitates workshops on antisemitism, bias and discrimination to youth and adults throughout Connecticut. She has also served on the board of Congregation Or Shalom in Orange for over 10 years and is currently Chair of the Adult Education Committee.

 

Edina met her husband, David, at UConn when she was an undergraduate and he was a graduate student. They now live in Orange, CT and have two daughters, one who lives in Stamford and the other who is a college student at Drexel University.

Edina loves working with students to help them succeed and reach their potential. She is very excited about her new role and looks forward to working collaboratively with students, families, faculty, staff and the greater Storrs community to create a vibrant, welcoming, and inclusive Hillel. She can’t wait to meet you as soon as campus re-opens!

Jacqui Schulefand

Director of Engagement & Programs

Although Jacqui has experience in the business world, she comes to us after 16 years of teaching experience at Ezra Academy, a Jewish Day School in the New Haven area. She has held a number of roles in the school such as a Hebrew and Judaic Studies teacher, leader of the Girl's Rosh Chodesh Group and Track coach. She has also been a Bar and Bat Mitzvah tutor for many years. Jacqui and her husband Dean have two daughters, one who lives in Connecticut with her husband and the other in Tel Aviv. Jacqui likes to spend every chance she gets in Israel and has volunteered in the IDF for the past 5 summers.

Jacqui is grateful to work with university aged students as they take on leadership roles in the campus Jewish Community hopefully strengthening their ties to the larger Jewish communities once they graduate.

Mark Block

Director of Development

Mark has accumulated more than thirty years of professional and volunteer experience in Jewish communal affairs; in executive leadership positions, marketing communications and development.

Before joining UConn Hillel, he served over a decade with distinction and professional skill as the executive director of Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Bridgeport, CT, where he was honored with the congregation’s highest accolade, the Shem Tov (Good Name) Award and the synagogue’s Distinguished Alumnus Award among others. Additionally, Mark serves on the Board of Governors of the North American Association of Synagogue Executives (NAASE), is a Fellow in Synagogue Administration and a certified fundraising professional through the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

Prior to his synagogue career, Mark worked for nearly twenty years in Marketing Communications for Union Carbide Corporation and was recognized with numerous Community Service Awards, Corporate Chairman’s Awards and Marketing Communications recognition. He is most proud of his work spearheading the company’s National Environmental Achievement Award entry where UCC was recognized for presenting the first eco-friendly, recyclable binder for corporate, campus and personal use.

Working with an extremely dedicated group of volunteers, professionals and students to advance the Hillel mission, Mark is confident we’ll grow UConn Hillel together financially in ways that will ensure students for years to come will have a safe space to gather and socialize, explore their Judaism and create lasting memories and friendships'

Mark lives in Trumbull, CT with his wife, Ann. Their daughter, Emily is the Associate Director of Jewish Student Life of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She is a former assistant director of UConn Hillel and UConn graduate.

Sagi Gabay

Sagi joins our team directly after completing his degree in political science, sociology and political communication.

 

He served in the IDF in the Galatz unit which is one of the most popular and respected media outlets in Israel. He was editor of the news department, and was also a head editor of a weekly sports show at the station. After he was released from army service, he began working at a regional radio station as an editor of the morning show. Afterward, he got a job in 'Yedioth Ahronoth', which is the largest media body in Israel, he was also a reporter for 'Maariv' newspaper.

 

For the past two years, Sagi worked as a spokesperson for the student union at MTA College and he also participated in the StandWithUs Fellowship program.

 

Sagi believes that all Jews around the world are part of the same story and we all share the same collective memory and he wants to connect Jewish and non-Jewish students at UConn to Israel and show them how amazing and diverse the country is!

 

If he is not in the Hillel building, you might find him at the gym or the tennis court which he is very passionate about.

 

Sagi is very excited to join UConn Hillel and is already looking forward to starting work.

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