Hillel Has New Spokesman


Former journalist Matthew Berger was named senior adviser for strategic communications at Hillel International as of April 20.
Berger will take over the responsibilities formerly held by David Eden, who, as reported in Washington Jewish Week, resigned from the Jewish campus organization following a controversy that arose when Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut pulled out of a speaking engagement at last month’s J Street conference in Washington.
Berger, a 36-year-old resident of Washington, D.C., has spent the past eight months as senior director of communications at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
In a press release, Berger called his new position at Hillel “a unique opportunity for me.” He said he looks forward to being able to “join together skills I have on an issue I really care about, building Jewish communities on campus” and praised Hillel for its efforts to “connect with the broad, pluralistic Jewish community on college campuses.”
Working for Hillel brings his career full circle. He was the trip reporter in 1999 for the first Birthright Israel trip by Hillel, he said.
Prior to FDD, Berger was vice president of Dezenhall Resources, a Washington-based crisis communications firm. Berger also spent 12 years as a journalist and covered the 2008 presidential campaign for NBC News, traveling with the Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin campaigns. He also covered homeland security and foreign affairs for Congressional Quarterly and spent six years as Washington correspondent for JTA.
“Matthew combines strong communication skills with a deep dedication to Jewish values. His commitment to our foundational principles and skill in working with specialized audiences is the precise blend of expertise to help move Hillel forward,” Fingerhut said.
Berger holds an undergraduate and master’s degree from George Washington University. He is an active member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and serves on the board of directors of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

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