Matthew Berger, a seasoned journalist and communications professional, was named senior adviser for strategic communications at Hillel International on Monday.
Berger, who will begin his duties April 20, will take over the responsibilities formerly held by David Eden, who, as reported in WJW, 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 has spent the past eight months as senior director of communications at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. There, the 36-year-old resident of Washington is involved with all aspects of communications at this think tank, including working with journalists and overseeing the website, email campaigns and social media.
Berger called his new position at Hillel “a unique opportunity for me.” He looks forward to being able to “join together skills I have on an issue I really care about, building Jewish communities on campus.” He 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.