Susan Kurtz – Executive Director
Susan graduated from Parsons School of Design, NYC with a BFA in illustration, drawing and design. She went on for a Masters in Education at Adelphi University in LI, NY. She traveled throughout Europe, then lived and studied in Israel.
She worked doing many creative jobs while living in NY. She worked as a Staff Development Trainer and began a program to train new employees at Selby Fifth Avenue. She developed programs, started customer mailing lists and provided a service oriented workforce to build record sales for the company. She worked doing artwork for NY Times newspaper, Readers Digest, and Sport Magazine. She developed an interest in drawing figures in action and became a sports illustrator and artist showing in galleries throughout the world.
After having her first child, she turned this creative energy and networking into a way to organize and develop programs at the JCC that her son attended.
Susan initiated and developed many new creative programs at the preschool and took the students from a small group of 18 to 100+ in a few short years. She developed after school programs for kindergartners and continued to help grow the Jewish Community. The JCC now resides in a multi-million dollar facility whose first concept and initial fundraising was started with the creative vision of Susan and the board 20 years ago.
She truly listens to people and develops cooperative development towards a win/win situation for all.
After moving to Blacksburg, she used many of these skills to develop programs for the town. As Director of The New River United Soccer Association, she worked with board, parents and players of varying levels of play and interests to build the infrastructure of the organization with strong communication, clerical and development skills. She was responsible to manage/support multiple tasks, projects and special events.
Susan has worked full time as the Executive Director of Hillel at Virginia Tech since December 2003. Susan’s goal is to build sustaining, vibrant and meaningful interdisciplinary campus communities through strategic vision and leadership.
Isabel Shocket- Coordinator of Engagement and Initiatives
Isabel graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2013 with a B.A. in International Studies and minors in Spanish and Judaic Studies. After being involved with Hillel at Virginia Tech throughout her undergraduate career, she began as Coordinator of Engagement and Initiatives for Hillel at Virginia Tech Fall 2013. Isabel’s interests in exploring the world and understanding contemporary global issues and their challenges will be a great match in helping Virginia Tech students get the most from Hillel’s exciting trips to Israel other national and international tzedek projects. Isabel is proud to work for the largest Jewish campus organization in the world and hopes to create connections that inspire students to become strong leaders in Hillel and in other communities.
Ivan Goncharenko – Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to Hillel at Virginia Tech
Ivan was born in Ukraine and moved to Israel at the age of 10. He finished high school and served in the Israeli military for three years in the Israeli K-9 Unit. (with dogs). After his tour of duty he enrolled at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and studied International Relations, Islam and The Middle East. As our Israel Fellow he hopes to make Israel part of Hillel and Virginia Tech’s everyday life. He looks forward to meeting students and building relationships between Israel and Virginia Tech.
Anya Morgulis – Associate Coordinator of Engagement and Initiatives
Anya is working as the Associate Coordinator of Engagement and Initiatives for both Virginia Tech and Radford University. Anya graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Psychology. Having been an avid Hillel member herself, she is looking forward to “paying it forward” and having a meaningful impact on the Jewish journey of the students in the New River Valley.
Gregory Selz – Kosher Chef
Chef Gregory “Shmuel” Selz has worked in food services for over 7 years in every level of food from bar food to Garnegier at one of the region’s best restaurants. He was classically trained at the Jerusalem Culinary Institute in Israel, the world’s first Glat/Mehadrin culinary school (under the supervision of Agudath Israel). Chef Shmuel’s schooling brought him a new connection to our unique and diverse cultural identity as expressed through food as well as the tools and knowledge to adapt the cuisines of the world to the stipulations of kashrut. Chef Shmuel is passionate about learning about the wide world of food and looks forward to working with students to both teach and learn everything he can about what food means to them.
Rabbi Bruce D. Aft – Hillel at Virginia Tech’s Rabbinical Advisor
Rabbi Bruce D. Aft of Congregation Adat Reyim in Springfield, Virginia has signed on as Hillel at Virginia Tech’s Rabbinical Advisor. Rabbi Aft is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia and received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity in June of 2006. He has been the Rabbi at Congregation Adat Reyim since 1991. On a side note he also Bar Mitzvahed Chef Shmuel in 2002.