Important News From Rutgers Hillel
June 17, 2021
It is with gratitude and sadness that Rutgers Hillel shares the news that Andrew Getraer will be stepping down as Executive Director, effective July 1.
Under Getraer’s leadership, Rutgers Hillel has been transformed from a beloved but under-performing organization into one of the most successful Hillels in the country, engaging thousands of Jewish students and the campus community. Rutgers Hillel has also become an influential statewide organization, overseeing Hillels on 10 other campuses in partnership with the Jewish Federations of Greater MetroWest and Northern New Jersey.
“The entire Hillel community is saddened by Andrew’s departure but grateful for the leadership he has provided for two decades,” said Bob Kuchner, President of the Rutgers Hillel Board of Directors. “We are all supportive of Andrew’s need for substantial time for family and personal matters as well as clarifying how he wants to continue contributing to Jewish life in America and in Israel.”
Getraer shared his decision to step down with the Board of Directors at their most recent meeting, citing the difficulty of the past year, with both the professional limitations of Covid and the sudden, unexpected loss of his mother.
“With the losses of the past year and our youngest child graduating high school, this is a true inflection point for our family, a time to reflect and refresh. After 20 years, now is the right time for this change,” he said.
Joining Rutgers Hillel in 2001, Getraer reimagined its mission, program, facilities, and governance, and brought to reality a long-held dream to build a world-class, flagship Hillel in the heart of the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus. The 40,000 square foot Eva and Arie Halpern Hillel House on the Wilf Family Campus, which opened in 2017, is now one of the pre-eminent Jewish campus facilities in the country and a source of great pride for both the New Jersey Jewish community and Rutgers University.
“Andrew leaves an organization which is stronger than ever,” said Hillel Board of Governors Chair Roy Tanzman. “He has accomplished so much, including creating the ground-breaking Rutgers Hillel Center for Israel Engagement, our Reform Outreach Initiative, and Health and Wellness programs, yet the future of Rutgers Hillel is still limitless. Our Board is stronger than ever and fully supportive of the organization, as are alumni, parents, and other major stakeholders, including the entire Jewish Federation system of New Jersey.”
The Board of Directors is working closely with Hillel International and Rutgers Hillel Senior Associate Director Rabbi Esther Reed to manage the transition and plan a national search for the next Executive Director.
Getraer said he will focus on the needs of his family before assessing his next opportunity.
“My commitment to Rutgers Hillel will never end, but it will take new forms,” Getraer said. “I have all confidence that Rutgers Hillel will continue to grow, and provide a rich, meaningful Jewish life for our students now and for years to come. Because, as we always say, Rutgers is a Great Place To Be Jewish.”
With over 6,000 Jewish undergraduates, Rutgers Hillel serves the largest Jewish undergraduate population of any campus in the country. In addition, there are some 1,000+ Jewish graduate students and over two dozen different Jewish student groups working in partnership with Hillel or under Hillel auspices, which sponsor over 1,000 events and activities each year.
Rutgers Hillel is a part of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, providing opportunities for Jewish students at more than 500 colleges and universities worldwide to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity.
Rutgers Hillel is a proud beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federations of Greater MetroWest, Heart of New Jersey, Northern New Jersey, Princeton-Mercer-Bucks, Somerset Hunterdon Warren, and Southern New Jersey.
Reflections on Andrew Getraer’s 20 years of leadership at Rutgers Hillel
“Our family believes deeply in the mission of Hillel and chose to invest in Rutgers Hillel recognizing the exceptional vision and leadership of Andrew Getraer. Our continued support of Hillel will honor his legacy and the exceptional standard that Rutgers Hillel has set for the future.”
– Mark Wilf, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Jewish Federations of North America and member, Hillel International Board of Governors
“Andrew Getraer is a powerful and important voice within the Hillel movement as a whole, and one of the most experienced, respected, and esteemed leaders in both Hillel and the New Jersey Jewish community. Everyone at Hillel International wishes him and his family all success. Rutgers has one of the largest Jewish populations in the country, with over 6,000 Jewish undergraduates, and we look forward to working with the Board, staff, and students of Rutgers Hillel to ensure that Rutgers Hillel continues to be a flagship of the Hillel movement.”
– Adam Lehman, President and CEO of Hillel International
“Hillel in New Jersey has been synonymous with Andrew Getraer and vice versa. Andrew thoroughly embodies the values of Hillel, values shared by our entire family. It is those values of Jewish education, community, and commitment to Israel, which led us to choose Rutgers Hillel as a fitting place to preserve the legacy of our parents, Eva and Arie Halpern, a legacy that will continue.”
– Henry Stein, Rutgers Hillel Board of Directors
“From my tenure as president of Hillel International, I know Andrew to be a principled and innovative leader and an important and influential voice in the Hillel movement. He leaves Rutgers Hillel stronger than it has ever been, and I wish both Andrew and Rutgers Hillel all continued success in the future.”
– Eric Fingerhut, CEO, Jewish Federations of North America
“Andrew and I began at Rutgers together on the same day, 20 years ago. His vision and drive transformed our Hillel from a $400,000 a year organization renting a dilapidated house into a $2 million annual operation in a magnificent 40,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility. On behalf of the students and staff, past and present, I want to thank him for all his hard work and dedication. While we are sad to see him leave, we know that this is the best decision for him and his family at this time and wish him all success.”
– Rabbi Esther Reed, Senior Associate Director, Rutgers Hillel