Jim Shane

Board of Governors
“We need to understand our differences as a means of accomplishing our common goal of Jewish continuity.”
Boston University, Brandeis University, Colby College, Hillel International, Hillel Russia, Hillel Latin America, Hillel Poland, Hillel International Emeritus Board

Q: Where were you born, and where do you live now?
A: I was born in Saint Louis, MO. I now live in Boston, MA.

Q: Who is your greatest inspiration?
A: My grandfather became my mentor after my father’s death. He taught me that everyone puts their pants leg on one at a time. Everyone dresses the same and therefor needs to be treated the same. 

Q: What are your personal passions and interests?
A: My passion is the Jewish world. I’m a born again Hebrew speaker and Tanach studier.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your work with Hillel?
A: Everyone from around the world has the same face with different names. In my work with Hillel I hope to help build bridges that connect the global Jewish family .

Q: Tell us about some of the highlights in your work with Hillel.
A: The nachas really comes from being part of some of the small things. I really enjoyed witnessing the first cohort of Israeli students to go to Russia, and helping to host Technion students at MIT Hillel. Never underestimate the value of one-off sponsorship opportunities.

Q: How have you seen Hillel change as an organization over the time of your involvement?
A: Hillel has really become an international organization, but there are too few people who think about it that way and are active about it on that level. We have to be Hillel all over the world, not just in the US. There just as many Jewish souls abroad. 

Q: What are the most important skills our leaders need to help guide Hillel through the 21st century?
A: Listen. Listen. Listen. The best sign of a leader is someone who gives their constituents what they need. You have to understand what they want, and give them the opportunity to execute through providing the necessary mentoring and financial support.

Q: How do you think Jewish life on campus has changed since you were a student?
A: There’s more assimilation now and it is increasingly hard to be stand-up and proudly say you’re Jewish. Students also have many more choices and opportunities now. These factors make Hillel more important than ever before. 

Q: How has your work will Hillel connected you to other local and national leaders?
A: The other leaders I’ve connected with and worked with in Hillel have become like family to me.