Jason Benkendorf became Executive Director of American University Hillel in August of 2011.
Jason comes to Hillel following five years with The Curriculum Initiative (TCI), an organization that supports inclusive Jewish programming at independent high schools. He previously served as Senior Officer of Public and Academic Affairs at the Embassy of Israel, during which time he worked closely with student activists at AU and other DC area campuses. Jason has also been involved with BBYO in a variety of capacities over the last fifteen years.
A passion for public service brought Jason to DC, and he received his BA in political science from the AU School of Public Affairs. He subsequently completed an MBA at Johns Hopkins University with a concentration in organization development.
Jason is a devoted Washington Nationals fan, an avid reader, and a summer camp enthusiast (17 years and counting). No matter the weather, you're likely to see him wearing flip flops.
Director of Engagement
Erin Jones-Avni, Director of Engagement, joined American University Hillel in July of 2012.
After graduating with a bachelors degree in Theatre and Film from the University of Kansas, Erin earned an MFA at the The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While in Chicago, Erin built a life, and a career, in the Jewish community. She has wrangled campers for the JCC, taught 7th grade Hebrew school, and processed payroll for the Jewish United Fund. She also met, and married, her wonderful husband, Dani. Most recently, Erin was a Program Director for Hillels Around Chicago where she advised four campus Hillels and coordinated a multi-campus fine arts initiative.
Erin spends much of her non-Hillel life tucked into her purple sea kayak or tripping over her flippers and SCUBA gear, enthusiastically trying not to drown herself.
Rabbi Hirsh Chinn, MSW