I wish him well. This is a great organization!
JULY 27, 2007
There will be some changes at the top for Jews for Judaism, the Baltimore-based counter-missionary organization.
Scott Hillman, who has spent five years as the organization's executive director, as well as 13 years as its director of education, stepped down recently to seek other ventures in Jewish education.
He will be replaced in the interim by Ruth Guggenheim, the organization's director of development and public relations director. Ms. Guggenheim will lead a transition team while Jews for Judaism continues to serve the international Jewish community and help "keep Jews Jewish."
"We are immensely grateful for Scott for his more than 18 years of dedication to Jews for Judiasm, the last five serving as its executive director," said Louis Schwartz, Jews for Judaism's president.
Mr. Hillman was known as one of Jews for Judaism's most creative leaders. He would sometimes disguise himself and lead seminars to groups concerned with missionary activity, posing as a Messianic Jew, literally getting the anger up in the room before identifying himself as a member of the counter-missionary community.
Mr. Hillman said he is going to be "out there as a consultant for educational groups in a Jewish context." At 45, Mr. Hillman said that Jews for Judaism has "done some wonderful things. We've helped lots of families and communities. We've been a CPR for the Jewish soul."
He cited JTTV, Jews for Judaism's teen drama group, as one of his most satisfying accomplishments. "I would say though that we've spent most of our efforts strengthening the Jewish community, through Jewish education and helping families in the community," he said. "We have actually gone beyond missionaries and cults to go to sources of dissatisfaction with Judaism."
Mr. Hillman added that under his leadership, Jews for Judaism also has done a great deal of work with Jewish Addiction Services and JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others).
Jews for Judaism will be observing its 25th year of operation next year.
"We were seen as part of the community," Mr. Hillman said. "We cared and we networked, and we were no longer in a situation where we're looked at as a lone wolf in the wilderness."
Said Mr. Schwartz: "Scott's compassion, his incredible range of knowledge and his passionate commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people have been invaluable to individuals, families, communities around the world, and, of course, our organization. We are truly sorry to see him leave, and wish him every success in his future endeavors."