The first mention of a Hillel at the University of Miami is in December 1940 and the first B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation at UM was started in 1941. Originally located in a storefront on Ponce de Leon Blvd in downtown Coral Gables, the original Hillel Building was built in 1953.
Six decades later, in 2015 a brand new Braman Miller Center for Jewish Student Life opened its doors doubling the footprint of the original building.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have a great team that are committed to supporting UM’s Jewish students and strengthening Jewish engagement in Miami.”
The University of Miami Hillel strives to provide the best possible Jewish education to students and community members, in doing so, it engaged the most talented professionals and lay leaders to serve on the Board of Directors and in professional capacities.
Our commitment to the highest standards of quality did not go unnoticed, and we were honored to receive:
UM Hillel is committed to students at the University of Miami. Everything we do as an organization is aimed at providing meaningful Jewish life to students, and the larger Miami community.
Our vision is to inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel.
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We are fortunate to have assembled the best team of professionals to serve at UM Hillel. We represent a diverse, highly educated and experienced team, that brings together their expertise and vision to achieve the mission of the University of Miami Hillel.
Briana joined the UM Hillel team in July 2022 bringing over 15 years of experience in community outreach and development. A graduate of the University of Florida, Briana previously held positions at Sharsheret: The Jewish Breast and Ovarian Cancer Community, Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach, and Alpha Epsilon Phi. As a Miami native, Briana knows the University of Miami is a major part of local culture and Hillel is an important portal for Jewish experiences both on campus and within the greater community. Briana lives in Hollywood with her husband and three daughters and enjoys baking challah, SoulCycle, and spending time at the beach.
Rabbi Cook jokes that he is a wandering Jew, having grown up in western New York, northern California, and Lake Oswego, Oregon (just south of Portland). He attended American University in Washington, D.C, where he studied International Relations. After graduating, he moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, where he worked in the Jewish non-profit world doing teen engagement. In South Florida, Rabbi Cook also met his wife, Phylicia. After five years of rabbinical school (including a year studying in Jerusalem), Rabbi Cook received his rabbinic ordination at the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College in May 2021. Rabbi Cook and Phylicia are excited to be coming home to South Florida and to start a new adventure at the University of Miami Hillel with their son Micah. Rabbi Cook always has time to talk Jewish text and history, Torah, science fiction, and his beloved Portland Trail Blazers.
Gabi is a Washington, D.C. native and graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in Cognitive Science and minors in Entrepreneurial Studies and Jewish Studies. Formerly an Admissions Officer at a Jewish Montessori school in the D.C. Metro area, Gabi enjoys working out, trying new restaurants, and spending time with friends. She founded and lived in the first shomer Shabbat/shomer kashrut Moishe House in DC, and now she’s thrilled to be part of UM Hillel, aiming to make a significant impact on Miami’s young Jewish professional community.
Jordan is beginning his first year as the Engagement Manager at the University of Miami, and he could not be more excited! Jordan first got his feet wet in the Hillel movement as the IACT Coordinator at Central Florida Hillel before taking his talents to South Beach. However, South Florida is nothing new to Jordan as he was born and raised in Broward County, Florida, and attended high school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Jordan is a lifelong Hurricanes fan, with one of his earliest memories being attending UM Basketball games in the late 90s at the old Miami Arena. When Jordan isn’t grabbing coffee with students on campus, he loves spending time with friends and family, traveling, talking about Israel, and hearing about all the best spots in town to grab a bite.
Jonah is a Miami native who is returning to his home town after graduating from the University of Florida Honors College with Bachelor’s degrees in Sustainability Studies and Business Administration. Jonah found his passion for Israel after spending the summer in Tel Aviv where he participated in an internship and immersed himself in the local culture. At the University of Florida, Jonah was a trip leader and wilderness guide where he led students and teachers on multi-day backpacking, surfing, and canoeing trips. He is hoping to continue his passion for trip leading and student engagement as he coordinates and leads our Birthright program.
Shayna joins UM Hillel as the Social Justice Springboard Fellow, bringing her passion and energy to the U. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, she pursued a degree in Psychology with minors in Business and Spanish at The Ohio State University. Beyond her role, Shayna enjoys stargazing, singing, crafting for her Etsy shop, running, engaging as a camp counselor at Camp Wise, exploring new places, conversing in Spanish with locals, and spending time with her family’s two golden doodles.
Since 2016, Rachel has expanded the digital marketing space within Hillel International. Joining the Springboard Fellowship (Aleph/1st Cohort) as a Social Media Specialist at the University of Delaware Hillel, her accomplishments included launching a successful rebrand for the Birthright Israel program and the creation of tracking digital student engagement. Since then, Rachel has been involved with strategizing fun and innovative daily content for Hillel: Birthright Israel program and Hillel International. Rachel currently resides near the Jersey shore with her cockapoo, Drake. In her free time, Rachel enjoys taking pictures, eating ice cream, and staying up to date on all social media trends.