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Sara Hiller

In its efforts to keep growing and evolving, Valley Beit Midrash is refashioning its executive team. 

VBM has hired a new program director and named a volunteer chairperson to its Arizona Jews for Justice steering committee.

In September, VBM hired two people to fill the roles of program coordinator and social impact coordinator. Those two employees are no longer at VBM, and the job titles were changed.

“Our past employees did a terrific job and we are now excited to explore a new model that addresses our new needs for refinement and expansion,” said VBM President and Dean Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz.

“We just hired two extremely talented people to ensure we can reach as many people as possible with Jewish learning and leadership programs.” 

Sara Hiller, a Massachusetts native, has now been hired as VBM’s program director. Hiller has spent most of her career working as an emergency medicine nurse.

In 2016, she moved to Jerusalem to pursue adult continuing education with a focus on Jewish and religious studies.

VBM’s programming inspired her to apply for the program director position.

“After my husband and I moved to Scottsdale, we decided we wanted to explore the various learning opportunities that the greater Phoenix area had to offer,” Hiller said. 

“It then became a natural choice for us to become more involved in VBM,” Hiller added, “particularly due to the wide array of Jewish topics and the overall quantity of dynamic speakers that partake in their programming each month.”

Her duties will include organizing and leading programming, supporting organizational events and operations, sustaining existing programs, expanding new programming, and maintaining and growing community partnerships.

Milena Bucci’s work with the Arizona Jews for Justice (AJJ) steering committee will include coordinating different social justice initiatives within AJJ and executing a strategic vision for the group’s long-term viability. 

“Milena’s foremost asset is her desire to see the world become a place dedicated to seeing the dignity of every person, no matter their station, religion, or place in society,” Yanklowitz said.

“What makes AJJ different,” Bucci said, “and I think special, is that everything AJJ does is firmly based in Jewish values.

“Rabbi Yanklowitz’s vision is the idea that the Torah should be lived in the world,” Bucci continued, “and that our Jewish learning should be put into practice in our private lives, in our homes, in our Jewish community and in broader society.” JN

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