After a school year with Ariel Naveh as the rabbi of UNC Hillel, the organization is looking for his replacement.
Ari Gauss, executive director of North Carolina Hillel announced in a Facebook post April 20 that Naveh's last day at UNC Hillel would be May 13. He said Naveh is pursuing other opportunities.
“He’s meant a lot to a lot of students in terms of teaching them and counseling them,” Gauss said.
The Hillel is looking for a new rabbi through Hillel International, Gauss said.
“This is my seventh year and (Naveh) is the first rabbi we’ve had,” he said. “Hillel as an organization has a lot of comings and goings, I’m the only one who has been here for the whole duration.”
Gauss said he could not comment on why Naveh was no longer employed by the Hillel.
Naveh said he had many positive experiences during his time at UNC Hillel.
“The relationships that I’ve made on campus with students, with other faculty with staff, have been incredible. I am stoked to move to bigger and better. I am on route to different plans,” he said.
Rising junior Karli Krasnipol said she adored Naveh.
“I was walking on Franklin street one time during the HB2 rally, and he was out there, carrying a sign that said something along the lines of ‘This rabbi is gay and hates H.B. 2,’ Krasnipol said.
“Something around those lines and I remember thinking ‘I love you’ because I have so much respect for people who love who they are and want everyone to feel that comfortable with the way they are,” she said. “I think it really meant a lot to me as someone who is super supportive of everyone just loving who they are to see that represented in my Hillel.”
Graduate Max Levin, who was a member of UNC Hillel, said he believed Naveh’s liberal beliefs clashed with those of the Hillel’s and the rabbi was ultimately let go for not meeting with enough students.
“He was basically let go for not meeting a performance evaluation. It seems like it was kind of a numerical score where according to Hillel he didn’t meet with enough students,” Levin said. “I and some other students have concerns about that metric being used to gauge the performance of a rabbi.”
Krasnipol said though Naveh gleaned mixed reactions from conservative and liberal Hillel members she did not think anyone in the Hillel administration disliked him.
“I do feel very strongly that there is nothing against him in the leadership at Hillel. They were all really close friends,” Krasnipol said. “I’ve never heard anyone at Hillel say a bad thing about him.”
Naveh said he couldn’t comment on why he only worked at UNC Hillel for a year, but he said he didn’t think his political views had anything to do with his employment status.
Gauss said Naveh was a wonderful addition to the Hillel staff and community this past year.
“Anecdotally I can say he had wonderful relationships with a lot of students and increased the depth of their Jewish education this year,” Gauss said.
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