After nine years, Adam Hirsh will leave Hillel at Kent State University at the end of May as he takes on his new role as managing director, community planning and allocations at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.
Hirsh was hired as the assistant director of Hillel at KSU in 2014, which he served for three years before being named executive director in 2017. As he continues his career at the Federation, he looks forward to serving the community, he said.
“I’m looking forward to continuing my career strengthening my hometown Jewish community,” Hirsh told the Cleveland Jewish News May 18. “As a fourth-generation Clevelander, the Federation and its agencies have done so much for my family and I, and I’m excited to continue that journey of strengthening our community through my time and leadership.”
Hirsh is a Solon resident and member of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike. He is a past board member of the Federation’s Young Leadership Division, member of the community relations committee and a campaigner for the annual Campaign for Jewish Needs. As he begins his new role as a managing director on June 12, he will be responsible for the allocations process and working with the community planning team.
As he looks back on his time with Hillel at KSU, Hirsh said he is reflecting with a lot of gratitude as the organization – thanks to the students, colleagues on staff, community partners and board members – pushed him to learn and grow in ways he never anticipated.
He led the campus organization through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising antisemitism on college campuses, he said, yet was able to connect with more Jewish students than ever before over the last three years and take away a feeling of optimism for the Jewish future.
“The greatest thing I’m taking from this role is my optimism for Jewish future thanks to the opportunity I’ve had to work with the past couple generations of college students,” Hirsh said, adding that their passion and leadership has been inspiring and unlike any he’s seen before.
The pandemic presented unique challenges as everyone was sent home and spread around the country, but Hillel had an obligation to keep students connected, not only Jewishly but to each other, he said.
“Our mission was never more important than in that moment because they needed a community and they needed us,” Hirsh said. “And by focusing on our mission and reframing everything that Hillel was, just to be there for the students and do whatever we can to help them, that was a transformational moment for myself.”
As he prepares to leave, Hillel at Kent State’s board of trustees has appointed an executive director search committee to work with Hillel International to find the organization’s next executive director.