Hillel UW Director Announces Resignation

Hillel UW DIrector, Oren Hayon.

Rabbi Oren Hayon.

In a surprise announcement, Mikael Kvart, Board President of Hillel UW informed community partners late last week that Hillel UW Director Rabbi Oren Hayon has tendered his resignation.  Rabbi Hayon assumed the position of Greenstein Family Executive Director of Hillel UW in July of 2011. Rabbi Hayon has accepted a position at a major Reform congregation in Houston, TX.

No stranger to the Lone Star state, Rabbi Hayon served as Associate Rabbi of Temple Emmanuel in Houston for several years before his current appointment at Hillel UW. Rabbi Hayon plans to continue in his duties at Hillel UW until the end of this academic year.

Popular with students and beloved by his Hillel UW board of directors, Rabbi Hayon has earned both communal praise and opprobrium during his tenure for his at times controversial approach towards Israel education and advocacy.

Rabbi Oren Hayon (left) with Israel critic Peter Beinart right at a controversial Hillel event held in October of 2014. Photo Credit: Joe Mabel.

Rabbi Oren Hayon (left) with Israel critic Peter Beinart at an event held at Hillel UW in October of 2014. Photo Credit: Joe Mabel.

Kvart lauded Rabbi Hayon noting that “Oren has served Hillel in the best possible way, but has after extensive deliberation and soul searching decided to accept the rare opportunity of taking the Senior Rabbi position at a major congregation in Houston, TX.” The Mike Report has learned that the “major congregation in Houston” to which Kvart refers is in fact Congregation Emmanuel where Rabbi Hayon previously served as associate Rabbi for many years.  Kvart goes on to note that “The Hillel UW board is delighted for him as this truly is a spectacular opportunity that doesn’t come along very often, and wish him the very best of luck in his new role.” 

Kvart acknowledged that “this is a very big loss for Hillel UW” adding  “I am confident that a worthy successor will be found in due time.”