Hillel, a campus community for Jewish students of Ohio University, has welcomed a new executive director.
Sarah Livingston is the organization’s new leader and began working on March 1. She called the position her “dream job” and one she is eager to serve students in.
“Hillel is paramount to a sense of identity for Jewish students,” she said. “It’s a wonderful way to engage with others on campus.”
Moving to back to the Midwest from Toronto felt like “coming home,” she said. Though she was born and raised in Las Vegas, Livingston is a graduate of Ohio State University. Her areas of study included Jewish philosophy, Jewish studies and Russian-Jewish history. Livingston later earned a master’s degree in Canadian-Jewish food history from the University of Toronto.
Livingston has a long history of work in Jewish education and community building and development. Though she said she grew up in a secular household, she said she found her religious identity through Jewish community in college.
Hillel is an international organization, with roots in various colleges and universities throughout the United States. Livingston said she has been involved with Hillel on three separate college campuses and is excited to add OU to the list.
“The students here are deeply passionate and engaged and interested in things,” she said. “It’s so much different than any other campus I’ve been on.”
Her husband and two children are still in Toronto until the end of summer until they can secure the proper immigration paperwork to join her in Ohio, but she said OU already feels like home.
“I want to be radically inclusive in this role,” she said. “Everyone is welcome. If you’re Jewish — or not Jewish and you just want to learn about us — come say hi.”
Hillel’s history at OU dates back to 1938, according to the organization’s website, when a group of Jewish students “joined together for friendship, Shabbat services and community.” Since 1966, the organization has been located at 21 Mill St. near uptown Athens.
For more details about the organization, visit www.ohiohillel.org.
Originally published on A1 of The Athens Messenger on March 22, 2019.