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Ethan Helfand
Ethan Helfand
Purveyor of Jewish Experiences, Pragmatic Idealist, Amateur LEGO Engineer

Born and raised in Kansas City, Ethan’s latest journey brought him back to KC finding his professional home in the very building where he spent his childhood, as the Director of Jewish Experiences, a collaboration of Jewish Federation and The J. Throughout his career, Ethan has focused on building Jewish community through intentional immersive programming, and leadership and organizational development. As a practitioner of Human-Centered Design Thinking, Ethan believes in being both data-informed and story-driven.

Ethan’s career as a Jewish professional started at Herzl Camp in Wisconsin where he led the Ozo program, serving as Director of Staff in Training, and later as the Director of Jewish Education. Soon thereafter, Ethan took the helm of USY’s EMTZA Region, serving as Regional Director of Teen Engagement. After a few busy years on the road, he made the move to Durham, NC to become the Associate Director for Programs and Leadership at Jewish Life at Duke, the Hillel at Duke University. In his current role, Ethan innovates Jewish programming in Kansas City.

Ethan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Judaic Studies and Philosophy from The George Washington University, and a Master of Arts in Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, with a concentration in post-Holocaust American Jewish Literature and Society. That’s a fancy way of saying he reads a lot. When he’s not reading, you can find Ethan spending Shabbat afternoons putting together his newest LEGO set or rewatching The West Wing yet again. In the lifetimes he’s lived during and in between being a Jewish professional, Ethan has worked as a bookstore manager, a sous-chef on an Israeli food truck, and a little league baseball umpire. He’s a diehard fan of the KU Jayhawks, KC Chiefs, and KC Royals, an above-average cook, and a below-average athlete.