Meet the Staff
Rabbi Julie Roth
Marni Blitz, Associate Director, has been with the Center for Jewish Life - Hillel at Princeton University since 2007.. Marni was born and raised in Rockville, Maryland where she graduated from the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. Marni holds a B.A. in International Relations from Emory University and an M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from NYU. Before coming to Princeton, Marni was the Director of Education at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck. Marni currently lives in Robbinsville, NJ with her husband, Neil, and her two daughters, Daniella and Rebecca. Marni is the 2010 recipient of the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence award for her commitment to fulfilling Hillel’s mission of service to Jewish students around the globe. Marni joyfully adheres to an "open door" policy, so please feel free to stop in at any time and say hello!
Rabbi Ariel Fisher
Rabbi Ariel Fisher originally hails from New York City where he grew up and went to high school. After high school he spent a year studying at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, an Israeli hesder yeshiva in northern Israel, where he fell in love with learning Torah, as well as hiking in the Israeli countryside. He subsequently attended the University of Pennsylvania where he majored in Urban Studies and focused on the role that religious communities play in the lives of the urban poor. At Penn he was also very involved in the Jewish community helping to initiate, teach, run and organize many programs and classes. After graduating from college Rabbi Fisher moved to Israel where he had been for the past four years. Rabbi Fisher received his semicha from Rav Shlomo Riskin and Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg and has also been studying for the semicha from the Israeli Rabbinate. In his free time he enjoys mountain biking in the hills of Jerusalem, reading the New Yorker, listening to Jazz, and cooking. He is excited to be back in America and to be working at Princeton.
Bina Brody was born and raised in Jerusalem to American parents who made Aliyah ten years before she was born. She grew up speaking Hebrew and English but has always had a love of languages which eventually led her to studying linguistics for her BA at the Hebrew University. In addition to a year of sheirut leumi working in a poor community in Israel’s north, Bina also spent two years in the army as a basic-training commander for soldiers that came from disadvantaged homes. She has also spent many years studying at various midrashot in Jerusalem, including Midreshet Lindenbaum, where she spent three years, and Matan, where she is finishing up her second year in the Advanced Talmud program. In addition, Bina is currently completing her Master’s degree from Hebrew University in Linguistic Anthropology and has a passion for music and especially African music, a passion which developed when she spent almost a year traveling across the continent by herself. She is excited to have moved to America and is particularly excited about being able to teach Talmud and Midrash to the students at Princeton.
Rabbi Sara Rich
Rabbi Sara Rich, Director of Education, joined the CJL team in 2011. She was ordained from the New York campus of the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. As a student, Sara served as a student rabbi in Williamsport, PA (home of Little League!) and Brampton, Ontario. She also worked at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Greene Family Camp and as a chaplain intern at the Bellevue Hospital Center. Sara earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of MD, College Park and an M.A. in Hebrew Literature from HUC-JIJR. Today, Sara resides in Highland Park, NJ with her husband Ezra and their baby daughter (and Kesher mascot) Miriam. Rabbi Sara offers a number of classes and fellowships at the CJL and is always available to meet one-on-one for coffee at her second office, the Starbucks on Nassau St.
Lior Sharir was born and raised in Israel, served in the Israeli army as an infantry officer, he later worked in a Jewish summer camp in California and traveled around the world to as much as 25 countries. He has a B.A in communications and marketing from Sapir Academic College in Sderot Israel. While in college, Lior worked with youth groups from the area that were affected by rockets, volunteered in a peace movement, managed a Jewish- Muslim student dialogue group and guided tours in the city of Sderot. He joined the Jewish Agency Israel Fellows program last year and became the CJL’s Israel fellow. You can find him in his small- yet cozy and warm, office on the second floor, or cycling through Princeton for another coffee date, which he loves so much. Lior loves everything that has to do with sports, from gym, running, soccer and basketball, to hiking and extreme sports. If you are ever cold in the CJL, or just want to practice your Hebrew, go find him at his office.
Ya'arah Pinhas graduated from List College, a Joint Program between The Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University with two Bachelor degrees in Jewish History and Anthropology respectively. Since then she has worked and volunteered in multiple settings and countries educating youth, promoting inter-cultural exchange and researching Jewish liturgy and music. She has lived in Israel for ten years and has traveled to Senegal, Gambia, Peru, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. She loves learning about different cultures, traditions, and rituals and seeing how music can be a uniting force in creating dialogue. She is excited to join the Center for Jewish Life and Princeton University communities as the Social Justice Fellow, and she is looking forward to being asked: What is social justice through a Jewish lens? And, how can I make an impact in my community and the world?
Robin Rudofker joined the CJL staff as Development Director in February 2012. Robin was raised in Cheltenham, PA where she developed a deep love for sports and especially for her hometown teams - The Philadelphia Eagles, Flyers and Phillies. Robin earned a B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University and an M.B.A. in Marketing from Drexel University. Prior to her arrival at the CJL, she worked for 16 years at the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey as Chief Development Officer and Marketing Director. Robin lives in Vorhees, NJ with her husband, Jim, and their two sons, Matthew and Isaac. When she's not busy raising critically-needed funds to grow the programs of the CJL, Robin enjoys Pilates, tennis, dancing, and movies. She loves all types of music and is a die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan!
Susan Johanesen joined the CJL in 2009 after 25 years of owning and operating an office support business. In her role as Executive Assistant, she provides support to the Executive Director and Development Director, maintains development databases, does the bookkeeping and handles the many other functions that keep the office running. If you're not sure who to ask, she is happy to help you. She enjoys writing fiction and received a B.A. in English. In her free time she tutors writing and study skills, working with adult learners. Susan has three children and three grandchildren. She loves camping, hiking and riding her bike on the many trails in the area.
Tenise Fagan, Administrative Assistant, was born in New York City and moved to the Mercer County area as a young child. She earned a A.A. in Social Sciences from Mercer County Community College and a B.S. in Business Administration, with a concentration in International Marketing, from Rider University. Tenise has marketing and event planning experience from working various jobs including most recently at Quakerbridge Mall during its first major renovation. In her spare time, Tenise loves to learn new things, go on mini adventures and conduct what she calls her "mad scientist" experiments using fresh ingredients to make new dishes and juice concotions. Spending time with her family and friends, going to concerts, and generally having a good time are some of her favorite pastimes.
Ruth Palmer, CJL Administrator, is a member of Princeton University's Office of Religious Life (ORL). Ruth is delighted to be part of a staff committed to creating a community that is supportive of students and welcoming to all. Ruth began her Princeton career in 2007 as part of the first Whitman College staff. Ruth holds a B.A. in Telecommunications from Indiana University, Bloomington. Most of her career was spent at AT&T as a manager supporting business long distance customers. Before coming to Princeton, Ruth devoted a few years to the homefront, also serving as a school volunteer, freelance writer and substitute teacher. Ruth has two daughters in college. In her free time, Ruth enjoys travel and the great outdoors, especially biking and hiking. Ruth also likes to explore different cuisines and restaurants with friends, dabbles in gardening and home improvements, and does volunteer work for the Red Cross.