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2014-09-26 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


September 26, 2014  RSS feed

Text: T T T

University of Tampa gets first ever Hillel director

Josh Dinner Josh Dinner TAMPA – Hillels of the Florida Suncoast has hired its first fulltime director of Hillel at the University of Tampa.

Josh Dinner is charged with breathing vibrancy into the Hillel program at UT, where programming was previously sporadic.

Dinner, who served as the cantorial soloist at Temple Beth-El in St. Petersburg last year, has extensive experience in Jewish communal service. Since 2007, he has worked at the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, MS, primarily as the head song leader and art department head.

The creation of the new position of Martha Escoll Director of Hillel at UT was made possible through the generosity of the Landmark Apartment Trust, Tampa Jewish Federation and an anonymous donor.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Hillel organization in a professional capacity,” said Dinner. “I was very involved with Hillel while I was a student at Indiana University, and I know firsthand the positive, lifelong impact that being a part of this organization can have on young adults. Now I can help bring that spirit of Jewish life to the UT campus…I cannot wait to make it happen.”

The role of the director at the UT Hillel will encompass a number of responsibilities, most importantly, finding, engaging and inspiring Jewish students.

In less than month, Dinner has already reported an uptick in the number of students participating in Hillel activities. including 46 students at the first UT Hillel Shabbat in mid-September.

Additional responsibilities include connecting with parents of Jewish students, as well as alumni and community members and creating a fund-raising program to ensure Hillel’s continued presence on campus,

“We have high aspirations for the development of a very strong Hillel organization at the University of Tampa. We know the potential is there,” said Rabbi Ed Rosenthal, executive director of Hillels of the Florida Suncoast.

Calling Dinner a “perfect fit,” Debbie Doliner, president of the Board of Directors for Suncoast Hillels, said, “We are thrilled that Josh is now a part of the Suncoast Hillels vision for the future of Judaism on campus,” said Doliner.

Hillels of the Florida Suncoast supports Jewish life on seven college campuses along the Suncoast of Florida, including University of South Florida (Tampa and St. Petersburg), University of Tampa, Eckerd College, Stetson University College of Law, New College of Florida and Ringling College of Art and Design.

For more information about the University of Tampa Hillel or the Hillels of the Florida Suncoast, go to, call (813) 899-2788 or email,

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