Cornell Hillel

Testimonial--cornell-UniversityIf you’re looking for a speaker who’ll provide fascinating Jewish content, encourage people to
engage in conversations about history and social responsibility, and make all audience members clamor to
learn more, look no further than Yaron Svoray. Though many of Cornell Hillel’s students were excited to
hear from a renowned Nazi treasure hunter, they worried that his speech would be a bit dry and hard to
follow. But, that wasn’t the case in the slightest. Yaron makes his talk easily understandable – even
relatable – to all listeners. Much of his talk was a thrilling narrative, rather than jumbled facts. Many
students later raved about how “suspenseful” Yaron’s tales were; they were never tempted to zone out or
check their cell phones. We especially enjoyed the videos he shared and were delightfully surprised by the
humor he infused in his tales. Yet, despite being a presentation that I know Yaron’s given many times
before, it clearly wasn’t a canned, memorized speech. Yaron bravely displayed honest emotion, pouring
his heart into his words. Audience members walked away feeling like they better understood the work of a
Nazi hunter, and more importantly, the spirit of a fascinating man.

In addition to being an incredible speaker, Yaron was an absolute joy to work with. Displaying a
playful sense of humor and inherit kindness, he made all students and staff feel instantly comfortable.
Students and staff shared meals with Yaron, during which laughter flowed easily and Yaron seamlessly
charmed students with his curiosity about their lives. His fun personality and intelligent mind can perhaps
best be summarized by a story: on our short drive back to the airport the morning after his speech, Yaron
requested we stop for ice cream… at 9:00 in the morning. Over our breakfast of milkshakes, we ended up
discussing his friendship with Robert De Niro, his views on scientology and our shared love of walking.
And when I dropped Yaron off for his flight, he gave me a genuine hug and sincere well wishes, just as he
had done with many students.

I cannot possibly recommend Yaron Svorary more highly. Cornell Hillel has brought in many
guest speakers representing a great variety of fields and backgrounds, but Yaron managed to capture the
audience’s attention more than an esteemed athlete and make them laugh even harder than a professional
comedian. Before meeting Yaron, I read his biography and knew that his work was important, but meeting
him truly helped me understand why and encouraged students to continue learning more.
Jodi Tandet
Program Director