Suzy Sostrin, Executive Director
785-749-5397, ext. 226
Suzy is a California native and attended the University of Santa Cruz for her undergrad. Prior to coming to the University of Kansas, Suzy worked as the Executive Director at the University of Oklahoma Hillel and participated in Hillel International's Accelerate Executive Leadership Program. She also holds a certification in non-profit management from the Oklahoma Center for Non-Profits. Suzy lives in Overland Park with her husband and daughter.
Rabbi Neal Schuster, Rabbi/Senior Jewish Educator
Neal is a native of Seattle, who, after living in Los Angeles and Jerusalem was surprised to discover how much he and his family love living in Kansas. He moved here in 2003 to serve as one of the rabbis at Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Overland Park, and, in 2009, he joined the KU Hillel team as its Senior Jewish Educator, a position in which he gets to engage students in their exploration of life, Judaism and the meaning of it all. As he often tells people, “This is the kind of work I became a rabbi to do.” Neal lives in Overland Park with his wife and three kids.
Ira Kirschner, Assistant Director
Ira holds a BA in Communications and Journalism and an MA in Policy, Administration and Leadership in Education, both from the Hebrew University. He earned the rank of Lieutenant from his five year IDF service in an infantry unit, and most recently served in the IDF reserves as a Casualty Notification Officer. Ira also volunteered for 'Shoval', an Israeli organization educating for acceptance and tolerance for LGBTQ+ people within Orthodox communities. Ira has been in musical theater productions in Jerusalem, recently discovered a passion for 'paint-bar' classes, rides Harleys, attends rock concerts & works out with his father. He loves finding Jewish references in comic books and is proud of his hat collection – his newest acquisition being a navy blue top hat!
Michelle Cole, Director of Development
785-749-5397, ext. 223
Michelle is an alumni of KU. Prior to joining the staff at KU Hillel, she was the Director of Marketing for Panera Bread of Kansas. Michelle has lived in Overland Park for over 30 years and has always been an active volunteer in the Jewish Community. She and her husband have two children.
Melanie Edwards, Engagement and Innovation Associate
785-749-5397 ext. 225
Originally from Los Angeles, Melanie graduated from KU in May 2017 with a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Strategic Communication and a minor in Leadership Studies. During college, Melanie held in a wide array of KU Hillel internships and traveled with KU Hillel to Israel, Romania and Bulgaria. Melanie also spent a semester abroad in Sevilla, Spain where she found her love for travel and adventure. After college, she spent 10 months abroad working in Jerusalem as a JDC Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps Fellow with Tevet. Melanie is also a part of Hillel International’s Springboard Innovation Fellowship, a fellowship that trains early professionals in Design Thinking methodology to infuse creativity into Hillel’s work.
Photos by Dani Malakoff
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