Ahead of the start of the 2021-2022 school year, Texas Hillel Foundation is excited to welcome Rabbi Will Hall in the position of rabbi/senior Jewish educator and Aviva Mangista in the position of Jewish Agency Israel fellow to its Jewish Student Life team. These staff positions are central to Texas Hillel’s mission of enriching the lives of Jewish students. Rabbi Will and Aviva will provide meaningful opportunities for students to engage with both Judaism and Israel in ways that feel authentic to each of their unique and individual Jewish journeys.
Rabbi Will, originally from Houston, was ordained in May by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. A UT graduate, Rabbi Will served on the Hillel Student Executive Cabinet and was an active member of the Forty Acres Jewish community. Prior to beginning his rabbinical studies, Rabbi Will spent a year in Jerusalem at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies and has also studied at the Shalom Hartman Institute and the iCenter for Israel Education. He also served as a Jewish educational consultant for BBYO and spent time working with congregations in Ohio and Texas.
Aviva Mangista grew up in Netanya, Israel, and just completed her studies in diplomacy and strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya. During her studies, she completed a two-month internship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In the course of her time at IDC, she participated in a number of clubs including the Language Club, the Ambassadors Club, Women’s Entrepreneurship, and the Forum for the Advancement of Political Students. She is a graduate of the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement and also worked for the organization as a young adult. Aviva credits many of her values, especially for Zionism and Judaism, to the movement. Aviva’s penchant for traveling and meeting new people will serve her well as she joins Texas Hillel and begins developing connections with students from very diverse backgrounds.
Asked what he is most excited about in regard to his upcoming return to Austin, Rabbi Will said, “Friday nights at Texas Hillel, Texas football, and to finally be back in a city that understands the importance of breakfast tacos.” When posed the same question, Aviva answered that she is “getting excited to meet the people and to be a part of the Austin family” and for the “start of something new and big.”