By Jason Dobkin

Days before leaving Maryland Hillel, Rabbi Jessica Lott (center left) jokes with students during Slingshot;s $1,500 giveaway at Hillel on Oct. 21. Olin Akisgolu/ The Mitzpeh
Days before leaving Maryland Hillel, Rabbi Jessica Lott (center left) jokes with students during Slingshot’s $1,500 giveaway at Hillel on Oct. 21. Olin Akisoglu/ The Mitzpeh

Rabbi Jessica Lott, Maryland Hillel’s associate director for Jewish life and learning, left this university for a position at Hillel International.

“I didn’t start the year [at Maryland] intending to leave partway through, but when the opportunity came up, I took it,” Lott said.

Lott left Hillel on Oct. 24 when she received a job offer as the director of Jewish educational networks at Hillel International and found out the organization needed her to start as soon as possible.

“I’m working with rabbis and educators all over the country to help support their work,” Lott said.

She said that her time at Maryland Hillel prepared her well for her new job.

“I think that having been at such a great Hillel, I have a lot to offer to all the rabbis and educators all over the country,” she said. “I had such great experiences at Maryland.”

Lott said she will miss having one-on-one time with students and the overall vibe and excitement of being in College Park.

Miri Miller, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences, only knew Lott for a few months, but she said she will miss talking to Lott.

“She brought a lot of positive energy,” Miller said. “She was a really great influence and a really great person.”

Rabbi Ari Israel, executive director of Maryland Hillel, said it’s hard to see a great employee leave.

“We were very sad to see Jessica leave, but we are thrilled that she is still with the broader Hillel family,” Israel said. “She is really a perfect fit for her new position, and we are so happy for her to have that opportunity. It was a joy to work closely with her these past few years.”

To fill the void created by Lott’s departure, Director of Educational Engagement Maiya Chard-Yaron assumed Lott’s former responsibilities and became assistant director. Hillel also hired Rabbi Sarah Tasmanpart-time to help with some of Lott’s former responsibilities, such as teaching classes and working with some of Hillel’s student groups. Tasman is a University of Michigan alumna and former Hillel Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps fellow.

“Jessica left her mark on Maryland Hillel’s community and the students she impacted,” Israel said. “She is an extraordinary educator and her legacy will live on for years to come.”


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