Rabbi de Koninck's passion for Jewish life starts with the belief that Judaism is a relevant and inspiring framework for engaging the daily opportunities and challenges of today's world. While her personal roots are in progressive Jewish community, her experiences with Jewish pluralism as an undergraduate and as a part of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship have affirmed for her that there is a mode of Jewish practice and identity for each person who seeks one, and that the diversity of Jewish expression is an asset to Jewish community and the Jewish future.
At Drexel, Rabbi de Koninck is most excited by the start-up energy embodied by the University's commitment to entrepreneurship, and by Drexel's passion for using the talents and skills of all of our University community members to solve today's biggest civic challenges. She is eager to meet each Jewish student, learn their story, and help them to discover their own pathway into Jewish living, learning and leadership.
At Drexel Hillel, Hannah supervises our Community and Shabbat/Holiday Engagement Interns and our Tikkun Olam Interns, manages our Student Board, oversees the First-Year Experience program (including Jewniversity and Welcome Week), co-staffs Birthright Israel trips with Leah, bakes challah every Friday (follow @challahatDrexel!), and infuses Jewish learning and values into everything we do.
In her free time, Hannah is a proud donut connoisseur (her favorites are Peace Love and Little Donuts in Pittsburgh, Daily Provisions in NYC, and obviously Federal Donuts in Philly!) and enjoys listening to podcasts while walking, cooking, or exploring new places. Coffee is her main food group, so she’s happy to get to know you better over a large iced latte!
Before returning to Philly to work at Drexel Hillel, Liz spent a great few years in New York City. In addition to working on her playwriting projects as a side passion, she was the Communications Associate at Congregation Beth Elohim, the largest reform temple in Brooklyn. She she helped launch the synagogue's new website, and continued to run the back end of the website, in addition to writing the synagogue's communications.
Originally from St. Louis, Liz often visits her family there, in Memphis, and in New York with her husband, Jonathan. Before starting her freshman year at Drexel, Liz took a gap year to live in Israel and study at Machon Maayan. She feels so fortunate to be back in Philly and to be a part of this fantastic community.
Leah oversees all educational programming related to Israel at Drexel Hillel, such as:
- Running the Jewish Learning Fellowship 2.0 - Big Questions about Israel
- Drexel Hillel's Israel Engagement Internship
- Drexel Hillel's Beyond Birthright Internship
- Creating and facilitating engagement trainings and lesson plans for Drexel Hillel's Bi-Annual Engagement Retreats
Additionally, Leah runs Drexel Hillel's #Birthright recruitment, orientations, staffing and post-trip outreach and programming. As well as overseeing Drexel Hillel's Israel Week Planning Committee and helping to execute Israel Week itself.
Leah is a self-proclaimed cat lady; who loves to travel, go on bike rides, read psychological thrillers and spend time with her partner in Rittenhouse Square (most likely having a Mr. Softee icecream or drinking a cortado from Nook). As a side hustle, Leah teaches CIVC 101 at Drexel University - so don't be surprised if you see her at Hillel AND in the classroom!
Leah is happy to grab coffee with any student that she meets on campus or who reaches out to her via email! Don't hesitate to reach out to Leah, to ask her a question about #Birthright with Drexel this winter (Registration is NOW open) OR just to say Hi!
Michelle grew up in Cheltenham and is a proud Panther. She played competitive junior tennis and 15 years ago became a PTR certified tennis professional and coached High School tennis and USTA elite tennis for over 10 years. Recently Michelle attended Gratz college and studied intensive Hebrew for 4 semesters and is now a Hebrew School teacher at Temple Beth Hillel- Beth El. She is thrilled to be back on Drexel’s campus and appreciates the opportunity to give back to Drexel and support their young Jewish population in any way possible.
Zack began his year at Drexel after a year living and studying in Jerusalem. Though he hails from Baltimore originally, Zack has worn out a few passports, having made homes in five countries and in seven different languages. He attended college locally, completing a bachelors degree at Swarthmore College in Educational Studies and Linguistics. Before starting rabbinical school, Zack studied Literacy and Language Education at the University of British Columbia. His other rabbinical work has focused on pastoral care, hospital chaplaincy, and Yiddish language education.
If not studying at RRC or working with students at Drexel, you can find Zack writing a d’var torah at one of South Philly’s late-night diners, walking around Center City speaking loud Yiddish to friends on the phone, or driving his Prius in circles to finish a chapter in some audiobook. His favorite part of the Bible is the Book of Jeremiah and his favorite Jewish thinker is Maimonides—feel free to ask him why.