Meet the Staff

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Samuel Mendales, Executive Director

Since 1985, Sam has guided the transformation of Hillel Council from an umbrella organization providing support to the large, established Hillel foundations in the immediate Boston area to a focus on fostering Jewish campus life on many small campuses throughout New England.  He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, The Mandel School of Social Science at Case Western Reserve University, and the School of Jewish Communal Service at Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles. He has an honorary Doctor of Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College.  Sam is also a Board Member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston;  a member of Temple Isaiah, Lexington and Temple Eitz Chaim, Cambridge.

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Miriam Berkowitz Blue, Assistant DirectoR

Miriam is the Assistant Director for Hillel Council of New England as well as the Director at Simmons College Hillel. At Hillel Council, she works with our lay leadership, coordinates professional development opportunities, and assists with campus partnerships and resource development. Miriam has also been serving as the Hillel Director at Simmons College since September, 2012 and received the "Advisor of the Year" award from Simmons College in Spring, 2018. Miriam is a self-proclaimed “professional Jew”, having previously worked at New England Young Judaea, the Commission for Jewish Education (CJE) in West Palm Beach Florida, and the North Suburban Jewish Community Center (NSJCC) in Peabody, Massachusetts before joining Hillel Council. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College and a Master's of Jewish Education (MJEd) as a Legacy Heritage Fellow at Hebrew College. Miriam is also active in her local Jewish community, where she is a Board member for the Epstein Hillel School (formerly Cohen Hillel Academy) and is a member of the North Shore Advisory Committee for Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP). Miriam lives in Lynnfield, Massachusetts with her husband, Phil, and children, Talia and Shalev.

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Jacob Freedman, HCNE Regional Programs Coordinator

Jake joined Hillel Council in Fall, 2016 and manages regional student programs, including our Small Campus Birthright Israel Winter trip. He is also the Hillel Advisor at Emerson College, Wheaton College and Suffolk University. Jake previously worked at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology as the Communications Coordinator in Admissions, and has served as the Young Artist Program Manager at Maine Media Workshops + College. He received a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the University at Buffalo and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Quinnipiac University where he was proud to be the president of the campus Hillel. Jake also received a Certificate in Jewish Experiential Education from M2 and Hillel International. He is extremely excited to be part of a community that combines his love of Judaism and his passion for working with students. Jacob has had a lifelong interest in media. Feel free to ask him about his favorite films.


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Rachel Putterman, Rabbinic Advisor

Rachel has been a part of the Hillel Council team since Fall 2017 and serves as Rabbinic Advisor to the organization as well as Hillel Director at Boston College. She is entering her fourth year of rabbinical school at Hebrew College. Since starting rabbinic school, Rachel has held several positions at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, mostly recently as the Academic Advisor to the summer interns. In her prior career as a public interest attorney, Rachel started out representing tenants in NYC's housing court, and then devoted several years to representing domestic violence survivors in their family law cases. When not engaged in all things Jewish, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, yoga, reading and cooking.



Neill Silverman, Chief Operating Officer

Neill's portfolio includes a wide range of fiscal services to some of the largest Hillel Foundations in New England, such as Boston University, Brandeis, MIT, and Tufts University.  Additionally, Neill manages both Hillel Council's internal finances as well as the financial relationships with the small campuses we staff. Neill also provides budget oversight and management for the IACT Birthright program at Clark University. He is a licensed attorney, both in the corporate law firm and self-managed small and solo practice settings. Neill has also worked as a political consultant, including political campaign management. Neill is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Cornell Law School. Neill served as treasurer of Congregation Or Atid in Wayland, MA for years.

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