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Meet Our Professionals

Image relating to [title] Cara Behneman, Executive Director

Cara joined the UMBC family in the fall of 2009 as our Jewish Student Life Coordinator, becoming our Assistant Director in the summer of 2011, and is now our Executive Director.

Cara grew up south of Annapolis, Maryland.  She attended University of Maryland, College Park for her Bachelors degree in Women's Studies.  After working at Maryland for a year, she continued her education at North Carolina State University where she achieved a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration.

Cara has worked in many areas of higher education, including a year with Hillel at University of Arizona, and she absolutely loves working with college students.   She loves dinosaurs, baseball and pumpkin-flavored delights.  Cara is passionate about issues around the environment, human rights, and women's equality and enjoys all types of Jewish learning.  If you're interesting in getting together for coffee or just to chat, you can reach Cara at (410) 455-1329 or by email at


Image relating to [title]Joe Levin-Manning, Director of Engagement

Joe could not be happier to be joining the UMBC Hillel this fall as the Director of Engagement. 

Joe is originally from Connecticut and also lived a few years in North Carolina before starting college. Joe graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There he majored in Politic Science with a minor in Music. In college, Joe was involved with many different things ranging from Greek life, Hillel, Student Government, the performing arts, and numerous others. 

After college Joe continued to compete in ballroom dancing while beginning his professional career in the Jewish world. Joe most recently is finished a year at the Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach in South Florida. LGBTQ rights, Eastern Europe, and food are among Joe's interests and activities. If you have a question or are in need of a coffee buddy, Joe can be reached at (410) 455-2637 or



Image relating to [title]Rabbi Darren Levin, JLIC (Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus) Educator

Rabbi Darren Levin serves as co-director of the OU’s JLIC program at the Johns Hopkins University Hillel. He is looking forward to joining the UMBC Hillel team for a another year of weekly campus visits; he is available for individual and group learning, one on one meetings, schmoozing, and Shabbat hosting at Hopkins.

Hailing from Long Island, NY, Darren graduated with a B.S. from Yeshiva University, and holds Master’s degrees in both Social Work and Jewish Education. Having completed his rabbinical studies at Yeshiva University (RIETS), Darren has taught, lectured, and counseled in a variety of formal and informal settings. Some of Darren’s memorable professional experiences include serving as the Rabbi for a Passover getaway in Greece, and fitting seven fellow camp HASC counselors into his Mini Cooper on Circus Night. He prides himself on his homemade smoothies and frappuccinos. If you would like to sit for a cup of coffee, explore a Jewish topic, or come over for a Shabbat meal, don’t hesitate to be in touch. You can reach Darren at or 516-521-2664.


Image relating to [title]Rabbi Ben Shalva, Part-time Jewish Educator

Rabbi Ben was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and received his Bachelor's Degree from Vassar College and rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he focused on Talmud and rabbinic texts.  As a rabbi, Ben has served as rabbinic advisor for the Harvard University Hillel, Assistant Rabbi for Congregation Olam Tikvah in Fairfax, VA and Senior Rabbi with Temple Reyim in Newton, MA.  Ben plays violin, piano, guitar, drums, and Native American flute. He practices yoga daily and is currently training with the yogic master Tony Sanchez and expects to complete yoga teacher certification process in the spring of 2014. 

He now lives in the Washington D.C. area with his wife, Sara, and two children, Lev and Avital.

Rabbi Ben will be on campus on Mondays to meet with students for coffee, learning, and hanging out.  He can be reached at

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