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Our Staff

Ari Dubin

Executive Director

Ari Dubin began working as Executive Director of Vanderbilt Hillel in July 2005. Originally from Houston, TX Ari received his BA in Psychology from American Jewish University and M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from University of Texas. Before coming to Vanderbilt Hillel, Ari was the Assistant Director of Duke Hillel, the Youth and Camping Director at the JCC in San Antonio and Director of Teen Services at MetroWest JCC. Ari and his wife, Abbie, live with their two daughters Davi (10) and Emmie (8).


Lauren Silverman

Program Director

Our Program Director is Lauren Silverman. Lauren is a proud Long Islander currently learning to navigate life in the South. She graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a degree in American Studies. After holding various leadership positions in Hillel throughout college, she is thrilled to continue to work with college students to foster Jewish life on Vanderbilt’s campus. When she’s not at Hillel (or Commons), Lauren loves exploring Nashville’s food scene and taking advantage of all of the free concerts and festivals the city has to offer.


Zoe Kress

Springboard Fellow- Innovation Specialist

Born in China and raised in New Jersey, Zoe is so excited be working at Vanderbilt Hillel as a Springboard Fellow- Innovation Specialist. Zoe graduated from the Joint Program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary where she majored in Psychology and Jewish Gender and Women’s Studies respectively. In college, Zoe was actively involved with Hillel, interned at various non-profit organizations including the American Jewish Committee and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and taught Hebrew School at Congregation Rodeph Sholom. In her spare time, Zoe loves hosting Shabbat dinners, spending time by the water, reading Daniel Silva, and playing with dogs.


Max Ryabinin

Escoll Family Jewish Agency Israel Fellow to Hillel

Max is our new Jewish Agency Israel Fellow. Max comes to us from Beit-Shean, Israel. Max was born in Donetsk, in the former Soviet Union and made Aliya with his parents in 1993 when he was 4 years old. Max served his country for three years in the IDF. Max graduated from the IDC Herzliya, Lauder School of Government, Strategy and Diplomacy with a cum laude degree in Government. Max is an Argov Fellowship in Leadership and Diplomacy alumni. For the past three years Max volunteered as an instructor in the “Aharai” (follow me) youth movement. Aharai encourages and prepares the Israeli youth for a meaningful military service. Max loves to travel, listening to music, going to music concerts and watch TV.

To learn more about the Israel Fellow program and the Escoll family, please click here.

Debby Wiston

Director of Operations

Debby Wiston has been on staff at Vanderbilt Hillel for more than 4 years and is currently the Director of Operations.  Debby attended the Joint Program between Columbia University and the List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary where she double majored in Bible and Political Science.  For the last 20 years, Debby has worked for numerous non-profit and Jewish organizations in NY, Atlanta and Nashville.  Most recently she served as the Development Director for the Akiva Jewish Day School and the founding Executive Director of the Nashville Business Committee for the Arts.  Debby and her husband, Stuart, live in Hendersonville, TN with their 4 young children: Leo, Celia, Zev and Maytal.


Valerie Zager Landa, CPA


Valerie Landa is the Accountant for Vanderbilt Hillel and is responsible for managing the financial operations of the organization.  She has over 18 years of tax and accounting experience in both public accounting and private industry.  Valerie graduated with a Bachelor in Professional Accounting from Mississippi State University and a Master of Accounting with a Tax Concentration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Valerie began her career at Arthur Andersen where she worked in the tax department.  She has also worked at Kraft CPAs, Caterpillar Financial, and Kraft & Company, PLLC.  Valerie is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Tennessee Society of CPAs.