Rabbi Philip L. Bregman, Executive Director
Rabbi Bregman has served as the executive director of Hillel BC since 2012. Prior to his role at Hillel, Rabbi Bregman lead Temple Sholom of Vancouver as their Senior Rabbi, beginning in 1980. Through his role as the spiritual leader of the congregation Rabbi Bregman inspired many individuals and touched many hearts of those in our community. He has been a long-time friend and passionate advocate of Hillel. He is a leader in Jewish education, young adult initiatives, fostering relationships within the Jewish community and interfaith dialogue. The Rabbi has accumulated years of experience working with the Jewish community and the ability to inspire its students.
Contact Rabbi Bregman
Ohad Gavrieli, Director of Operations, Administration and Finance
Although technically being born in Zurich (Switzerland), Ohad was raised in Kiryat-Tivon, Israel and got involved with Hillel during his undergraduate degree at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). In 2010 he moved to Vancouver to serve as the Shaliach (Israeli Emissary) at Hillel and stayed in Canada after meeting his wife through one of the Hillel programs. Ohad has a deep passion for Israeli music and culture and you can often find him with a guitar or behind a piano singing some of his favorite Israeli tunes. Ohad also holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Simon Fraser University and has spent the last few years working in the field of software quality assurance. Ohad is excited about being part of Hillel BC once again where he can contribute his administrative and financial skills, and apply his musical talents (when needed).
Jordana Shani, On Maternity Leave
Born and raised in Vancouver, Jordana left the city after high school to study at the University of Oregon where she obtained her B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Art History. She then moved to Tel Aviv and spent the following four years teaching English in Israeli public schools and eating a lot of hummus and ice cream. As a teacher, she was fortunate to interact with a broad spectrum of Israeli students including Muslims, Christians and Jews. While in Israel, Jordana received her MA in Curriculum Studies/Teaching English as a Second Language from Bar Ilan University. As someone who enjoys working with students of all ages in both formal and informal settings, Jordana has loved working at Hillel BC for nearly five years. When Jordana isn’t working you can find her exploring the local veggie food scene with her husband, browsing through a bookstore/library or heading to a yoga class.
Sam Heller, Managing Director
Sam has been a part of the Hillel team for three years. Sam is Metro Vancouver born and raised with deep roots in the local Jewish community and Israel.
Through his family and Jewish identity, Sam has always felt a deep connection to Israel. He first explored his Zionism at Habonim Dror Camp Miriam as a camper, and later, as a staff member for multiple summers. Sam worked at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver doing youth-related work at the JCCGV summer camp and after-school care programs. While pursuing his undergraduate degree in political science at UBC, Sam became an active member of Hillel and served as the president of Israel On Campus. Sam interrupted his studies in order to deepen his connection to Israel by completing his mandatory service in the IDF. Working in the financial sector for a time, Sam returned to Canada to complete his degree, and discovered that his true passion was Jewish community work. Sam loves working at Hillel and is proud to be a resource to Jewish students looking to explore their Judaism and Zionism.
Cat Bregman, Kitchen Mamma
Good food is a one of the main ingredients of a comfy Jewish home – and that’s why we have Cat. She keeps the cookie jar filled, prepares our delicious kosher hot lunches and holiday meals, and makes certain that students who are vegan or gluten-free are accommodated. The Hillel kitchen is always open, so if you want to share a favourite recipe or learn new culinary skills, Cat would love to have you join her as she mixes, chops and bakes her way into the students’ hearts.
Ora Stefanic, Victoria Director
Ora Stefanic was born in Even Yehuda, Israel and immigrated to Canada after her service in the IDF Medical Corps. After graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts degree she became a certified Montessori teacher and taught in communities all over Canada including Ontario, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia. Ora also has a wealth of experience in Jewish community work including working as a Hillel Program Coordinator at UWO, teaching Hebrew/Judaic studies in several schools and creating and implementing the first Jewish Art program at Camp Kadimah in Nova Scotia. After establishing a Jewish Learning Center for all ages in London, Ontario, Ora moved to Victoria, BC with her husband and children. Ora has loved being part of the Hillel BC team for the past two years as the University of Victoria Director, and hopes to continue inspiring Jewish students to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Jonny Thau, Program Coordinator
Jonathan was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. He received his BA in Psychology from the University of Victoria. His passion for working with people has led him to work in day camps all across Victoria and the Lower Mainland. After finishing his studies Jonathan worked as a Program Coordinator for Axis at Jewish Federation and ran all young adult initiatives across the Lower-Mainland. Now taking over the role of the Outreach Coordinator at Hillel BC, Jonathan is thrilled to bring his passion for people to the Hillel BC team. When Jonathan is not working, you will find him near the ocean or in the mountains. He loves everything outdoors and hopes that he can grow Hillel off campus and into the wild.
Ariela Karmel, Program Coordinator
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Ariela recently completed her undergraduate degree in political science and international relations at UBC. As a student she was deeply involved in the UBC Jewish community, serving as the past president of Israel on Campus and as a Project Tikkun fellow with Hillel BC. This past year she studied abroad at Sciences Po (Institute for Political Studies) in France, where she improved her French, traveled across the continent, and immersed herself in the history of European Jewry. Ariela is thrilled to continue working with the Jewish community on campus at Hillel as a Program Coordinator. Ariela is an avid reader, traveler, and history enthusiast.
Sophie Bregman, Senior Happiness Counselor
Whenever life gets stressful, you can always stop by the Hillel building at UBC for a dose of canine love. Sophie has been described as “joy in a dog suit.” She would be delighted to sit and listen to you talk or take you for a relaxing walk around campus. Because she’s part-time, we suggest you call for an appointment to ensure that she is available.
Bowser Shani, Junior Happiness Counselor
Bowser is a sweet, energetic puppy who makes everyone smile. His positive attitude is infectious – and he is always ready to play fetch, share a snack, or sneak a cuddle with students on the sofa. He is still learning how to behave at work, so be prepared for an exuberant welcome.
For general information, call 604-224-4748 or email us at info@HillelBC.com.