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Muhlenberg announces new Hillel director

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Muhlenberg announces new Hillel director
Photo by Ayden Levine '23

Beginning in the Spring 2021 semester, a decade’s long alumnus will once again call Muhlenberg home. 

In an Oct. 8 email addressing the Muhlenberg Community, President Kathleen Harring announced that Ira Blum ‘10 will serve as the next director of the Leffell Center for Jewish Student Life. As the current semester approaches its midpoint, the Muhlenberg community anticipates Blum’s homecoming through the red doors.

“While Ira and I have worked as colleagues through Hillel International for the last several years, I’m excited to welcome him back to Muhlenberg Hillel as our Director,” said April Cunningham, assistant director of the Leffell Center. 

“No one knows the incredibly strong Jewish community that Muhlenberg has to offer better than a Muhlenberg student.”

Blum comes from the University of Pennsylvania Hillel, where he acted as assistant director. At Penn, Ira engaged one-on-one with thousands of students and helped guide them on their journeys through Jewish identity. 

In partnership with the Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center, he facilitated a spring break experience focused on the historical relationships between Black and Jewish communities. Blum also advanced the annual Alif Bet fellowship which brings Hebrew or Arabic speaking students together for conversations of religious identity and practice, and he acted as the advisor to JBagel, Penn’s Jewish student LGBTQ organization. 

Blum also holds dual master’s degrees in Jewish professional leadership and Near Eastern and Judaic studies. 

“His experience in the Hillel world and programs he’s brought to his job at UPenn Hillel are amazing. I’m excited to see the new innovative ideas and programs he brings to the table at Muhlenberg,” said Lindsey Kessler ‘23, who served on the search committee for the new Leffel Center director. 

“His experience in the Hillel world and programs he’s brought to his job at UPenn Hillel are amazing. I’m excited to see the new innovative ideas and programs he brings to the table at Muhlenberg.”

The entire search committee consisted of Anne Cannon ’21, Jessica Cooperman, associate professor of religion studies and director of Jewish studies, Louis Diez, executive director of annual giving, Melissa Falk, dean of admissions and financial aid, Eveily Freeman, associate director of community engagement, Lindsey Kessler ’23, Danielle Leshaw, senior educator and campus support director, Hillel International, Adam Marcus ’22, Kristen Glass Perez, College Chaplain, Charlie Richter, professor of theater & dance, Aleeza Solomont ’22, and Mark Stein, associate professor of history.

During his time at the ‘Berg, Blum was an RJ Fellow, a religious studies major, held a student employment position with housing and residence life, and served as Hillel President. 

“I love that he is a Muhlenberg alum,” said Paige Weisburg ‘22. “No one knows the incredibly strong Jewish community that Muhlenberg has to offer better than a Muhlenberg student.”

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