Rabbi Gary Oren

Executive Director
Rabbi Gary Ezra Oren is former Vice President and Dean of AJU’s Whizin Center for Continuing Education, and currently the Executive Director for Hillel of San Diego. Rabbi Oren is an alumnus of California State University, Fullerton where he completed his undergraduate degree, and Tel Aviv University where he studied towards an M.A. of Middle Eastern Studies. In 2008 he received rabbinical ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. Prior to his time as Dean of the Whizin Center, Rabbi Oren spent 7 years serving as the Rabbi of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, California.

Gary enjoys reading, playing golf, volunteering and is very proud of his three children; Ya’ara, Elan, and Nadav.

Edden Dembsky

Director of Student Life
Edden is originally from Oak Park, California and has lived in San Diego for three years. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a double major in Communication and Judaic Studies. Edden has a deep background in Jewish culture from Jewish youth groups to sleep away camp and is very excited to bring her ideas to San Diego Hillel. Edden was very involved in Hillel at the U of A and loved the opportunities to build Jewish community away from home. This experience was what motivated her to want to create this feeling for other students. Edden loves to spend her free time hiking, going to the beach, eating lots of desserts and of course, binge-watching Netflix.

Elad Kanfi

Jewish Agency for Israel Fellow
Elad recently finished his legal internship and is now studying for the bar examination. For the last semester of law school he participated in the student exchange program at UM. When he finished law school he took a year off to travel and open a business in Australia. He hopes to make a positive impact on students at the University, and show people everywhere just how amazing Israel is.

Shoshana Rice

Ezra Springboard Fellow
Originally from Chicago, Shoshana studied English and art in Ohio at the College of Wooster. There, she was Hillel president, on the newspaper, active in the outdoors club and her local sorority, and co-founder of an Israel discussion group. After graduation, she went to Israel on Birthright and then spent six months in Tel Aviv working at the magazine Timeout Israel. On her Birthright trip, she was moved by her experience engaging with young Jews developing their Jewish identities and returned to the U.S. with a passionate drive to pursue Jewish education. Now after working as a 5th grade Hebrew school teacher, in the Shorashim office, and staffing a Birthright trip, she can’t wait to continue creating inspiring ways to get the younger generation excited about Judaism at SDSU.