Meet our regional staff

Heather Nover
Branch Director 
Nover@uscj.org

Heather was born and raised in New Jersey.  She earned her Bachelors in Psychology with a minor in Jewish Studies from Rutgers University, and her Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Monmouth University. For the 7 years, she has worked in the New Jersey public schools as a counselor. She has also been fortunate enough to work in a variety of roles within the Jewish world and discovered that her passion lies in helping teens to build strong connections to their Judaism. She, her husband, Rabbi Matt, their 3 year old daughter, Jane, and dog, Jada have a deep love for Judaism, Disney, and the Green Bay Packers!  

Gillian Bartell

Engagement Director 

Gbartell@uscj.org

A proud METNY alumn, Gillian is so excited to working as the Teen Engagement Director. Gillian graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2017 with a BA in Business Administration and Management/Organizational Leadership. She was an active USYer in the Chazak (now Ruach) region as a divisional board member and event co-chair. She loves to travel (backpacked through Europe, ask her about it!) and try new foods, and is looking forward to working all of the USYers in METNY!

Mike Hirsch

Engagement Associate 

Ruach@metnyusy.org

After attending Boston University, Mike Hirsch worked as a Youth Director for a synagogue for New England Region USY (NERUSY) and pursued graduate studies in Informal Jewish Education and Youth Leadership at Hebrew College in Newton, MA. Upon returning to his home on Long Island, NY, Mike reconnected with the METNY Region and has served as the Rakevet/Ruach USY Divisional Director, and now the divisional director for the past 13 years. He is currently in his 12th year as the Director of Student Life at the Schechter School of Long Island. Mike enjoys listening to Dave Matthews Band, is a huge fan of the New York Mets, his favorite food is Macaroni and Cheese and his favorite color is blue.

Bruce Varon

Engagement Associate

Brucevaron@metnyusy.org

For five years Bruce worked as a youth leader/director for various synagogues while attending college. In 1983 Bruce became the USY Divisional Director for Shviv/Koach/Emek Division for the METNY Region. While Bruce was Divisional Director he also took on the role as the Alumni Coordinator and then as the coordinator for the USY Metny Scholarship Dinner that is held in June. He loves what he does and the past 38 years have been extremely rewarding to him as he met his wife Linda at encampment in 1980. Bruce currently serves as the USY Encampment Director for Metny Region where he has been for the past 28 years. He has worked at encampment since 1978 and every year he says it just keeps getting better and better.  Bruces's favorite quote is "if you are not having fun you're doing the wrong thing". Bruce is a huge New York Mets fan, he loves to BBQ and his favorite candy is banana laffy taffy.