Ari Dubin began working as Executive Director of Vanderbilt Hillel in July 2005. Originally from Houston, TX Ari received his BA in Psychology from American Jewish University and M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from University of Texas. Before coming to Vanderbilt Hillel, Ari was the Assistant Director of Duke Hillel, the Youth and Camping Director at the JCC in San Antonio and Director of Teen Services at MetroWest JCC. Ari and his wife, Abbie, have two daughters Davi and Emmie.
Originally from Land ‘O Lakes, Florida, Veronica is thrilled to have been part of the Vanderbilt Hillel team since 2019. She graduated from Syracuse University where she earned a BA in Public Relations and minored in Jewish Studies. From her beginnings as a Springboard Innovations Fellow at Vanderbilt Hillel, Veronica has striven to create dynamic opportunities for students to explore their Jewish identity, and gives them the space and tools to discover a practice that will resonate with them long after their time as a student comes to a close. Outside of work, Veronica loves to hike, is a regular at Nashville’s many farmers markets and used book stores, and loves to spend a sunny afternoon hanging outside with her cat, Sharky.
Jewish Agency & Escoll Family Israel Fellow
Starting in the fall of 2020, Leetal Shoshan joined the Vanderbilt Hillel staff as the Jewish Agency for Israel Fellow. Leetal was born in Kfar Saba, Israel, and was raised in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She served in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit and was part of the International Press Desk, managing the IDF’s relations with US media outlets. Leetal has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Public Diplomacy. She has experience in public diplomacy and social media. Leetal was a social activism intern at Act.IL, using public diplomacy and nation branding for Israel through online campaigns and social platforms. Leetal has three younger siblings (a brother, and two sisters) and likes to read, cook, and travel.
Coming back down south after a cold stay in Massachusetts, Ari joined the Vanderbilt Hillel team in the Fall 2022 semester. Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ari grew up going to Jewish Summer Camp, NFTY, and then continued this passion for his Jewish community in college through Hillel. This included his own Hillel at Clark University and creating Zoom University Hillel while in quarantine. After graduating with a degree in Public Administration, he is excited to continue these experiences by engaging and inspiring other Jewish students to get involved with Hillel at Vanderbilt. While not working, Ari enjoys being creative through drawing, playing music, or cooking up something new to share with friends.
Valerie Landa is the Finance Director for Vanderbilt Hillel and is responsible for managing the financial operations of the organization. She has over 18 years of tax and accounting experience in both public accounting and private industry. Valerie graduated with a Bachelor in Professional Accounting from Mississippi State University and a Master of Accounting with a Tax Concentration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Valerie began her career at Arthur Andersen where she worked in the tax department. She has also worked at Kraft CPAs, Caterpillar Financial, and Kraft & Company, PLLC. Valerie is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Tennessee Society of CPAs.
Springboard Ezra Fellow
Hailing from Newton, MA, LilyFish Gomberg (she/they) graduated in December 2020 from Brandeis University, having majored in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies with minors in Sexuality & Queer Studies and History. At Brandeis, LilyFish was president of the Brandeis Reconstructionist Organization, a member group of Hillel at Brandeis, and also held several positions for her Jewish sorority, ΣAEΠ. They also were a peer counselor for the Student Sexuality Information Service on campus and worked as a religious school teacher at her home synagogue. LilyFish has worked for several Jewish organizations, including Keshet, Repair the World, the Jewish Community Day School of Boston, Camp Havaya, and others, and hopes to someday become a Reconstructionist Rabbi. In their free time, they enjoys painting, spending time with friends, and traveling.
Shannon has focused her career on mental health, working as a clinical visitation worker for the Salvation Army, Jewish education, serving as Education Director simultaneously for Temple Adath Yeshurun Religious School and the Syracuse Community Hebrew School, and fundraising and planned giving in her last position as the Assistant FRD Director and Foundation Director for the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Shannon, in her limited free time, watches all kinds of Netflix shows (especially stand-up comedy specials). She loves to travel, read books written by TED presenters, and exercises regularly. Originally from Sugarland, TX, a suburb of Houston, Shannon is married to Brian Small, who she met in graduate school at Syracuse University. Brian and Shannon are blessed with two children, Danielle and Ari and their beloved dog Theo.