After six years of work for Hillel at Binghamton University, Shana Kantor and Shalom Kantor have relocated to Miami.
Shana, Hillel at Binghamton’s former executive director, has taken a job at the University of Miami. Husband and former Hillel Rabbi, Shalom, is pursuing work in Miami as well.
Paula Weiss, a chairperson on the board of directors for Hillel, explained in an email some of the reasoning behind the Kantors’ departure.
According to Weiss, budgetary problems prompted need for change within Hillel where “expenses exceeded revenue.”
“In large part this was triggered by the fact that approximately 70 percent of Rabbi Shalom Kantor’s position as Campus Rabbi had originally been funded by Koach, The College Outreach Program of the United Synagogue,” Weiss wrote. “Unfortunately, in July 2010, Koach de-funded the position.”
Supporting Kantor’s position became difficult for Hillel, Weiss explained, and efforts to make up for the shortfalls were insufficient.
“To go from supporting 30 percent of a position to 100 percent in an organization of our size is significant,” Weiss wrote.
Weiss explained that in the board’s efforts to cover expenses, the role of BU’s Campus Rabbi will soon be eliminated.
“We have therefore decided to first reduce the Campus Rabbi role from full-time to half-time as of this July and to eliminate the position next July, in 2014,” Weiss wrote. “Our only choice left was to reconfigure, eliminate the position, and be able to meet our obligations in the short term, and achieve our longer term goals.”
Belle Yoeli, president of Hillel and a senior majoring in political science, has worked with the Kantors since her freshman year.
“They are great people who I became very close with,” Yoeli said. “I was upset to see them leave on a personal level as I was close with them, but I completely understand and respect why they left.”
Melissa Leifer, a junior double-majoring in mathematical sciences and management, said that the Kantors would be missed.
“Both Rabbi Shalom and Shana did a tremendous amount for the students at Binghamton, providing both a support for Hillel activities as well as mentorship,” Leifer said. “Hillel will definitely feel a loss without them.”
David Raphael is Hillel’s interim executive director as the board searches for a replacement.
The Kantors plan to continue working with the Jewish community, fostering experiences for students in Miami as they did at BU.
Shana Kantor is now working as the executive director at the University of Miami Hillel.
Shalom Kantor explained his plans to work as a rabbi and an educator, “hoping to continue working with college or post-college students, young adults, doing community building, post-birthright, follow through education and Jewish network development.”
Though sad to end a stay at BU which began in the summer of 2007, the Kantors expressed belief that they are leaving behind a capable student body.
“While it was the right time for us to leave personally, I will always remember the students and staff at the University with amazing fondness,” Shana Kantor said. “I know how much potential the Jewish community has at Binghamton to be even more amazing than it is now.”
Shalom Kantor felt similarly on leaving BU.
“The students that I was blessed to work with were unbelievable,” Shalom Kantor said. “They were motivated, they were smart, they were energetic, they were positive … I’m really bummed to leave them.”