Pittsburgh’s Danielle Kranjec accepts leadership role at Hillel International
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Pittsburgh’s Danielle Kranjec accepts leadership role at Hillel International

Following a short professional stay at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, Danielle Kranjec is returning to Hillel International

Danielle Kranjec. Photo provided by Danielle Kranjec
Danielle Kranjec. Photo provided by Danielle Kranjec

A familiar face is returning to the Hillel orbit. As of Sept. 1, Danielle Kranjec, who previously served as the senior Jewish educator at Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh, will become associate vice president of Hillel International’s Center for Jewish and Israel Education/Meyerhoff Center.

The remote position will allow Kranjec to remain in Pittsburgh while helping to “shape and guide the next evolution of what Jewish and Israel learning looks like across the Hillel movement,” she said.

Hillel is the world’s largest Jewish campus organization. Since its 1923 founding on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus, Hillel has expanded to 500 campuses in North America. The organization operates a host of programs and initiatives, including the Jewish Learning Fellowship, as well as provides curricula regarding Israel education and professional development opportunities for staffers.

“Part of what I'll be doing is figuring out what the next evolution is for all of these initiatives,” Kranjec said.

According to Hillel officials, the organization has provided Jewish educational and spiritual opportunities to 170,000 students since 2006 and employs 1,200 campus professionals worldwide.

When dealing with that many students and employees, “there’s a constant impulse to improve, to expand and to enrich the learning that’s happening,” Kranjec said.

The Jewish professional said she’ll rely on past successes as well as lessons learned from her time at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America as she returns to the Hillel sphere.

After eight years at Hillel JUC (and several months working for both Hillel JUC and Hartman), Kranjec left the Oakland group in May 2021 to focus on her role as director of Campus Initiatives for Shalom Hartman Institute of North America — a position she’ll hold until Aug. 25.

Kranjec said she remains grateful to Hartman for providing her with a “greater level of sophistication and language around how Israel, Jewish people and pluralism are fully intertwined.”

“I think so often in Jewish education, there's an impulse to silo our learning and say, ‘Oh, this is our Israel curriculum, and this is our Jewish religion curriculum, and this is our Jewish culture set of ideas,’” Kranjec said. “But really, we need to look more holistically at the Jewish people and our history, and how we share experiences as a global Jewish people.”

Rabbi Ben Berger, Hillel International vice president for Jewish Education, praised Kranjec and the skills she gained at Hartman, as she heads back to Hillel.

“We are so excited to welcome Danielle Kranjec back to the Hillel movement,” Berger said.

“Danielle is a uniquely gifted educator who for years inspired students at Hillel JUC Pittsburgh, and has continued to distinguish herself during her time at the Shalom Hartman Institute. We're thrilled that she'll be bringing her signature combination of brilliance, creativity and humility to this role in support of both Hillel students and campus professionals around the world.”

Kranjec said she’s excited to work with Berger and other members of Hillel, who facilitated her growth as a Jewish professional.

“During my years in the field, it was always this team that I felt was my support system, my inspiration and my collaborators, the people to whom I looked when I wanted to try new things or when I was looking to expand the reach of what I was doing on campus,” she said. “So it's very exciting and, in a certain sense, it's a way of coming home to rejoin this team in a leadership position.” PJC

Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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