Erica Frankel is a spiritual leader, Jewish educational visionary, and social entrepreneur currently serving as the Executive Director of OOI, which builds new ways to gather in community.
Over the past 15 years, Erica has founded and grown six new Jewish organizations and major initiatives into existence. Through this work, she has touched the lives of over 20,000 Jewish college students, trained and supported more than 500 rabbis and Jewish educators, and seeded a thriving Jewish ecosystem in Harlem.
Between 2015-2020, Erica was responsible for shaping Hillel into a movement of Torah. She grew the Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF)—a program which introduces college students to Jewish study—from one class of 20 students on one campus to over 15K students on 230 campuses. Under Erica’s leadership, JLF became the largest Jewish educational program on campus, inducted 300+ Hillel staff to the art of teaching, and matriculated a rising generation of Jewish leaders who now serve in lay and professional roles across the Jewish community. Erica also served on the founding team of Hillel’s Springboard Fellowship, shaping the educational and training philosophy for this flagship program which has recruited 280 talented emerging adults into professional roles at Hillel and now beyond. Erica additionally started the Hillel Clergy Team and Hillel Torah Salon.
During these years, Erica also helped to found the Fellowship for Rabbinic Entrepreneurs, training rabbis to build the communities they seek to serve. Through the Fellowship—now in its 9th year—and as faculty of Atra: Center for Rabbinic Innovation, she has individually coached many dozens of rabbis to build and sustain their own ventures.
Most recently, Erica founded IYUN, a project which builds community through the study of Torah for thousands of adults of all ages across the world and serves as a training approach for hundreds of Jewish educators in the art of teaching Torah.
Erica and her husband Dimitry live in Harlem with their daughters Maayan and Dalia, where they are spiritual leaders and primary organizers of Harlem’s Jewish ecosystem. Since 2017, they have seeded multiple new, local organizations and directly engaged nearly 3,000 unique individuals in their roles as Co-Founders of Kehillat Harlem, Founding Advisors of JCC Harlem, Co-Founders of Based in Harlem, and mentors to many other groups in the neighborhood.