The Jewish Student Association (JSA) serves as a resource to develop, inform, support, and enrich Harvard Business School’s Jewish students and those interested in learning more about the Jewish faith and heritage. Open to the full gamut of backgrounds, experiences, and interests that make up the global Jewish community, JSA brings members together to celebrate holidays, engage in learning opportunities, and foster the Jewish community on campus and beyond. This year’s JSA is led by the club’s three co-presidents – Emily Blady, Igal Raich, and Miriam Silton – and CFO Victor Kamenker who are excited to co-create the in-person Jewish experience at HBS throughout the upcoming year.

JSA Priorities for 2022-2023

Our leadership team is passionate about building connections - whether among Jewish students at HBS, across other student communities at HBS, or between current students and Jews in the broader community. The Hebrew word kesher, meaning link or connection, serves as our North Star for the coming school year as we develop a diverse array of programming to bring people together through three focus areas:

  1. Campus connections: We have a full calendar of events planned throughout the year to celebrate Jewish holidays as a community and share these special occasions with fellow students. Students will have the opportunity to attend campus-wide Shabbat dinners as well as access resources to host their own for a more intimate setting. We also hope to cultivate at least one volunteer per RC (first-year) section to serve as a “JSA Rep.” These students will help to both spread the word about various programs to their section mates and ensure that our leadership team is aware of the interests and needs of the RC class.
  2. Interfaith connections: We believe in the importance of conversation to foster understanding and respect between individuals of different backgrounds. As such, much of our programming is open to the entire campus community and we are looking to co-hosting events with other student groups on campus. Additionally, we will be working with the SA to increase awareness of religious and cultural observances from around the world to support future planning of the HBS calendar.
  3. External connections: Beyond campus borders, we are looking forward to partnering with a wide range of organizations to enhance our offerings. From co-hosting events with Harvard Chabad and Hillel to bringing back alumni for speaking and networking opportunities to connecting with prospective students alongside the admissions team, we recognize the strengthening effect that interactions with the broader Jewish community can have on us here at HBS.

Meet the 2022-2023 JSA Leadership

Emily Blady, Co-President

Jewish community on campus is so important, and JSA brings together an amazing social and religious community. I come from an Orthodox community and, while I was excited for the diversity that HBS has to offer, I knew it would be difficult to be religious on campus. We hope to make the HBS experience more accessible to Jewish students, no matter their level of observance. We are looking forward to bringing HBS Jews togethers for speakers, socializing, and religious celebrations! I bake challah and desserts almost every week and love to share them.

Igal Raich, Co-President

Being part of a Jewish community was very important to me because I came to HBS from Israel. Building a camaraderie of Jews on campus is something I strive for, having served in the IDF and having gone to university in Israel where almost everyone is Jewish, thus I decided to take on a leadership position with the JSA. I look forward to a year full of fun and meaningful events. My wife and I love to host Shabbat dinners!

Miriam Silton, Co-President

I was excited to be an active member of the JSA as part of my HBS experience. As someone who grew up with a strong Jewish identity from my family while living in a small town with very few Jews, I am passionate about sharing my culture and beliefs with others to build awareness and understanding with the larger global community. Prior to HBS, I helped lead the traditional egalitarian community at University of Maryland’s Hillel as an undergrad and led Moishe House programming for Delaware’s young adult Jewish community. Celebrating Shabbat and holidays through traditions, finding a home among a community of Jewish young professionals, and (of course) playing “Jewish geography” to identify mutual friends are all important aspects of my personal Judaism.

Victor Kamenker, CFO

I joined JSA to meet Jewish classmates and to have a strong sense of community on campus—something I felt that I had been lacking after undergrad. My Judaism is very cultural in nature; my parents emigrated from Soviet Russia, where they were not able to practice their religion openly. Hence, the Judaism that I grew up with emphasized the importance of spending time with family, maintaining traditions, and sharing our people’s history. I’m excited to work with the co-presidents to create a thriving and diverse Jewish community on campus this year!