Meet the HBR Scholarship Spring 2018 Recipients

The Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1995 in memory of Helyn B. Reich, wife of founding AZM President Seymour D. Reich. Reich scholarships are awarded each fall and spring to a limited number of American students who have chosen to study at one of several designated Israeli universities or post-college long-term programs in Israel. The scholarship seeks to recognize candidates who have demonstrated academic excellence, pro-Israel activity in their personal lives, and a dedicated commitment to future involvement with the Jewish and Zionist community in the United States.

The American Zionist Movement is pleased to announce the recipients of the Spring 2018 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship. These three young people were chosen for their impressive commitment to Zionism and their high level of academic achievements. 

 

Jeremy Pesner holds a B.A. from Dickinson College and a graduate degree from Georgetown University. He has participated in previous Israel Programs and was selected as a participant the Israel Tech Challenge Experience working where he worked in software development and met with leaders in Israel’s tech sector while studying the Tel Aviv startup community. He is a participant in the Israel Government Fellows program and hopes to gain even greater experience and exposure to Israel’s IT and telecommunications fields.

Read Jeremy’s essay on his connection to Zionism

 

Michelle Schein hails from Massachusetts and graduated from Brown University with a degree in International Relations with Honors. She interned at various members of Congress and was very involved with Jewish and Zionist organizations on campus, including Brown Students for Israel where she served as President. She received the 2016 AIPAC Campus Activists Award for her work on campus. She will be interning at the Arava Institute Academic Program.

Read Michelle’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

Rachel Goldberg graduated from the University of Rochester in 2015 and has been living in Boston since her graduation. In Boston, she has been involved with JNF, the JCRC, and CJP, while working as the Director of Community Relations at the Consulate General of Israel to New England. She will be studying at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Rachel states “As Israel nears its 7 th anniversary, we must not only remember the country’s roots, but also acknowledge its incredible strides in technology and innovation, humanitarianism, and equal rights, just to name a few. By promoting Israel’s relevant and heroic accomplishments, we can effectively combat critics, educate the greater population, and ensure Israel’s prosperity for generations to come.”

Read Rachel’s essay on her connection to Zionism

Meet the HBR Scholarship Fall 2017 Recipients

The Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1995 in memory of Helyn B. Reich, wife of founding AZM President Seymour D. Reich. Reich scholarships are awarded each fall and spring to a limited number of American students who choose to study at one of several designated Israeli universities or attend post-college long-term programs. The scholarship seeks to recognize candidates who have demonstrated academic excellence, pro-Israel activity in their personal lives, and a dedicated commitment to future involvement with the Jewish and Zionist community in the United States.

 

The American Zionist Movement is excited to announce the recipients of the Fall 2017 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund Award. The recipients are dedicated advocates for Israel who have demonstrated strong leadership skills on their respective campuses and Jewish communities. We truly believe that their tremendous work will greatly contribute to furthering the commitment of American Jews to Zionism upon their return to the United States, and we wish them the best of luck for their upcoming year in Israel.

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-10 at 11.01.25 PMEden Elimelech is a student at Drexel University and a soon to be graduate. She will intern in Israel through the Destination Israel program. She was very involved with various Jewish and Zionist organizations on campus, including Hillel and Chabad, where she served as student president of the latter. Zionism runs deep within Eden. In her own words: “for when parts of the world are no longer safe or welcoming for Jews, Israel will be that one beacon in the darkness like a lighthouse that will steer us away from rocky shores and to the one place where a Jew can be a Jew. Israel is not just my home or a home to the thousands of other Jews alive today.”

Read Eden’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

14364855_10207280073780474_5466611046828700863_nJessica Kasmer-Jacobs grew up in Massachusetts and graduated cum laude from New York University in 2014 where she was President of the Hillel Board. Following graduation, she served as editor and writer at the Wall Street Journal, and recently obtained a Master of Philosophy from Trinity College in Dublin. Her experiences facing anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism in Dublin pushed her actively dedicate her time to standing up for Israel. Jessica hopes that the Israel Government Fellows program she will be participating in will provide her with the tools to even more effectively defend Israel upon her return to the United States.

Read Jessica’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

Picture Jessica ZimmermanJessica Zimmerman graduated last year from the New College of Florida and will be a Teaching Assistant this year in Haifa through the MASA Israel Teaching Fellows program. She had been involved in Jewish and Zionist communal organizations since her youth, such as working in partnership with Jewish summer camps, local Jewish Federations, along with the AJC and the World Zionist Organization. Her commitment to Zionism is impressive, and she beautifully writes “Today Israel signals a new age, an age where Jews have a safe haven, a world where Jews do not have to fear forced conversion, torment, eviction, and genocide. I will fight for Israel until my last breathe on this earth because without Israel, who am I?”.

Read Jessica’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

Picture Liat KastnerLiat Kastner is from Oregon and graduated from Reed College last year. She will be spending her year in Israel at the Yahel social justice program, and hopes to work in the Jewish sector upon her return to the United States. Liat has had a relationship with Israel since childhood and says that Israel is “the most important place in the world to [her] where [she is] not an “other” or an “outsider,” and can be proud of [her] Judaism and [her] family’s history.”

 

 

Read Liat’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 8.00.53 AMNikki Golomb just graduated from the University of Delaware and previously spent a semester abroad studying at Tel Aviv University in 2015. She will be returning to Israel this fall to take part in the Way More Israel program. Nikki was involved with various Jewish and Zionist organizations on campus as a student at Delaware, including participation as a Hasbara Fellow. She greatly hopes to work in the Jewish non-profit sector when she will return to the United States. Nikki is extremely excited to be returning to Israel to learn more, explore, and deepen her connection to Zionism. She writes “more than anything, Zionism is loving and advocating for Israel. It is anything but easy. It is grueling, confusing, and an endless journey.”

Read Nikki’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

passport photoPeter Young studied at San Diego State University where he earned a Bachelors in Modern Jewish Studies. He will be spending the upcoming year at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, which he hopes will help him learn more about new perspectives while expanding his knowledge of Judaism and Israeli culture. He is greatly looking to utilize this amazing experience to advance towards his goal of becoming a Rabbi in the United States. Peter is deeply committed to his Judaism, to promoting Jewish life, and to being an unceasing advocate for Israel.

Read Peter’s essay on his connection to Zionism

 

Andrew Seligson hails from Kansas and is a recent graduate from Oberlin College. He most recently interned at the Permanent Mission of Israel at the United Nation and will be an Israel Government Fellow this coming year in Jerusalem. He is excited by this opportunity to spend an extended amount of time in Israel by directly making a difference for the Jewish People across the globe. As a staunch Zionist,  Andrew believes that “as long as we remain strong and committed to our mission, we can make a state of the Jewish people as strong, flourishing, and peaceful as it 

Meet the HBR Scholarship Fall 2016 Recipients

The American Zionist Movement is thrilled to announce the recipients of the Fall 2016 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund Award. Their commitment to the Jewish people reflect the passion the committee strives to promote with this scholarship. We are extremely proud to be supporting each recipient in their endeavors by helping them connect with Israel in the strongest possible way.

 

passport photoAna Maria Greenberger hails from California and graduated last Spring from Pennsylvania State University. While growing up in a Jewish community, she traveled to Israel for the first time in 2015 and fell in love with the country. She will be taking part in the Israel Government Fellows program in Jerusalem, an opportunity she is profoundly excited about. She writes “as an Israeli Government Fellow I will have the unique opportunity to add another layer to my understanding of the State of Israel – something which I deeply long for. It will give me the opportunity to learn about the government of the Jewish people and to able to bring Zionist ideas back to my own country.”

Read Ana Maria’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

DaniellaFlorenceDaniella Berger just graduated this Spring Magna Cum Laude from the University of Maryland in College Park.  She will also be an Israel Government Fellow in Jerusalem. Daniella grew up in a Zionist home and has been involved in pro-Israel advocacy her whole life. She took a gap year after high school to study in Jerusalem where her passion for Israel grew. On her college campus she felt discomfort facing radical anti-Israel hatred, and decided to spend the next few years dedicating her time to working with Israel advocacy organizations, including traveling to conferences, interning for AIPAC, serving as a StandWithUs fellow, and dedicating her time to one of the pro-Israel groups at the University of Maryland where she served as president.  Daniella says ” My Zionism means I will fight forever to be able to live freely as a Jew, whether that is in Israel or somewhere else. My Zionism is the purpose that will drive my career decisions in the future. My Zionism is the history and struggles of my people, and the future that I can help build for the entire Jewish community.”

Read Daniella’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

simonJonah Simon is a rising junior at Middlebury College and will be studying at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva for a semester. Over the past two years he has served as treasurer and Israel chair on the Middlebury College Hillel Board. He is excited to study in Israel, where his maternal family can be traced back eight generations, and to get to explore the country, the culture, and get to know Israelis better.

Read Jonah’s essay on his connection to Zionism

 

Sophia Lloyd-Thomas is a student at Tufts university and will be spending her sosophia headshotphomore year at Tel Aviv University. During her post high school gap year in Israel, Sophia greatly connected to Israel and mentioned how devastating it can be to see the anti-Israel sentiment displayed on college campuses. Thinking about how spending the year in Israel will impact her she says ” whenever I see anti­-Israel flyers, or something inflammatory online, I’m not discouraged. I’m motivated even more to educate myself, to understand the country, to actually experience Israel.”

Read Sophia’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

Congratulations to this year’s recipients and best of luck!

Helyn B. Reich Scholarship Recipients, Spring 2016

We are delighted to announce the recipients of the Spring 2016 Helyn B. Reich Scholarship. They have been chosen for their impressive involvement in Zionist causes in the United States, ranging from activism on their university campuses, to their commitment to Tikkun Olam, and to relentlessly fighting anti-Semitism. We are proud to support the future Zionist activists of our country.
 
 

Isabel cropped Isabel Schneider will be attending Saving The Stones, in Acre, northern Israel. The practical training program is designed to give the foundation  needed to begin a career in conservation of built heritage and historic preservation. Isabel  graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and spent a year in Israel as a  Community Development Fellow, teaching English to Israeli students through small group tutoring and creative  projects. The granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and having experienced anti-Semitism personally, Isabel is a  proud and passionate Zionist. Isabel writes that “Zionism is the acknowledgement that Jews not only deserve to  exist, but also to thrive, and in order for that dream to be realized they must have a place of their own. That place is Israel.” While in Israel, Isabel curated art shows and was able to build strong connections with Israeli artists and writers. Following the program, she plans to keep working in museums in both conservation and curatorial capacities, to be able to impact the international perception of Israel as a cultural leader, and perhaps even make Aliyah in the future.

Read Isabel’s essay on her connection to Zionism
 

Ella CroppesElla Ozer, a current undergraduate student at the University of Arizona, will be attending Tel Aviv University this upcoming Spring. Despite Tel Aviv University not being part in the semester abroad program of her university, Ella decided to spend her semester in Israel. Born in an Israeli family with very strong Zionist values, Ella has participated in various programs in Israel and was a proud member of the Israeli Scouts. She is also extremely involved in Jewish and Zionist life on her university campus, partaking in Hillel and Chabad events, co-founding the IAC Mishelanu chapter, and advocating for Israel on a day-to-day basis. Having her cousins serve in the Israel Defense Forces has had a great impact on Ella and incited her to get involved in a program dedicated to helping IDF soldiers. She hopes that her semester abroad will help her decide whether she wants to make Aliyah upon graduation. She is, regardless, looking forward to creating strong and meaningful relationships during her Israel experience, that will last a lifetime.

Read Ella’s essay on her connection to Zionism
 

Helyn B. Reich Scholarship Recipients, Fall 2015

Meet the Recipients

Congratulations to the Fall 2015 Helyn B. Reich scholarship recipients! These students have demonstrated a strong commitment to the Jewish People and Zionism and are working to make a difference in their communities. They truly represent the next generation of Jewish leaders and activists of our country.

 

Joshua Grinberg Photo Resized

Josh Grinberg will be studying at Yeshiva Har Etzion in Jerusalem this year. Born in a family with strong Zionist values, Josh lived for a year in Ra’anana as a child before moving back to the United States. A graduate of Stanford University, he was very involved in the Jewish community of Palo Alto and has been a strong advocate for Israel on his campus. He founded the first Coalition for Peace group on campus, and was an active member of Stanford Hillel. Besides being a dedicated Zionist, Josh is also passionate about engineering. He has found how to combine the two and hopes to found a software company in Israel that could assist the IDF with the country’s defense and security. Josh writes “One of the reasons I find tremendous meaning in developing defense technology for Israel is that the Jewish people feel like my family. To me, being a Zionist means accepting the Jewish covenant with God, fighting for the security of the Land of Israel, and embracing our connection with Am Yisrael , the Nation of Israel. When walking through Jerusalem to a Shabbat dinner last summer, I saw signs on shops all over the city that said, ‘Bring back our boys.’ The feeling that we are one nation, one people, and one family hit home.”
Following the program, Josh plans to return to Stanford for a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, and perhaps develop the next Iron Dome!

 

Read Josh’s personal essay on his connection to Zionism.

 

ThumbnailKyle Savitch will be participating in a year-long program at the Pardes Institute of Jewish studies. Despite of growing up with a strong affiliation with Judaism and the Jewish community, Kyle did not have a strong connection to the land of Israel. He truly fell in love while visiting Jerusalem on a Birthright trip. Following this awakening experience, he went back two years later to study at Mayanot Yeshiva and this past winter to attend the Conservative Yeshiva.
Kyle has been active in his community since a young age, by taking part in youth group event and attending services at his Congregation. At the University of Rochester, where he graduated this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in Judaism in America, Kyle was president of Hillel. Being in charge of numerous educational and social events, he was also involved in initiatives countering antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment on campus. He made sure to challenge anti-Israel speakers, and to always be a voice standing up for Israel. Hoping to become a conservative Rabbi, Kyle’s objectives for this year are to familiarize himself with Hebrew and text-study.

 

Read Kyle’s personal essay on his connection to Zionism.

 

arkinphotoMonica Arkin is really excited to be attending a Career Israel program combining her background in Psychology and her love for Israel. She grew up with strong Jewish and Zionist values and a deep connection to Israel. She has maintained this connection over the years by being a Religious School Assistant Teacher at her Temple and by having various religious leadership roles at B’nai B’rith Camp. Monica plans to use her Career Israel experience to better prepare her for a professional path in clinical psychology and her personal goal of always being an Israel advocate. She writes” “More than just a homeland, Israel represents hope. Just like ‘Hatikvah’ proclaims, Israel is the hope of over two thousand years. To be a Zionist today, one must recognize this importance of Israel and protect its future. A Zionist must educate other Jews about the importance of Israel but must also educate gentiles, since Israel is often misunderstood. However, one thing of which I am certain is that wherever I end up in the future (whether that be in my hometown of Cleveland, somewhere else in the US, or even in Israel), I will always advocate for Israel by strengthening others’ ties to Israel within the Jewish community and by being an ambassador for Israel outside of the Jewish community.”

 

Read Monica’s personal essay on her connection to Zionism.

Helyn B. Reich Scholarship Recipients, Fall 2014

Meet the Recipients

The American Zionist Movement awarded seven exceptional candidates with the Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship for Fall 2014. The winners are proud Zionists and intend to do their utmost to promote and support the State of Israel.

Rose BayerRose Bayer will be volunteering as an EMT for Magen David Adom while in Israel with MASA’s Career Israel program. Her commitment to Israel is so strong that she extended her time there before even starting the program.

Rose plans to become a doctor and believes working hands on in the medical field before attending medical school is crucial to the learning process. The experience she will gain from working in Israel specifically, she says, will prepare her to interact with immigrants and foreign patients at later stages in her career as well as provide her with a different perspective of health care.

Rose’s love of helping others shines through in her outlook on Zionism. “Zionism is an unconditional love and support for not just a nation, but also a people,” she said.

Read Rose Bayer’s essay.

 

Erica BergsteinErica Bergstein is excited to spend 10 months in Israel with the Israel Government Fellows program, affiliated with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. She hopes that her internship in a governmental office will advance her leadership skills as well as provide new and deep connections with Jews and Israelis from all backgrounds. Erica is active in her local Jewish community in Baltimore and, after her immersion in Jewish history and culture while in Israel, intends to be a resource for others when she returns to the United States.

With a Master’s Degree in Emergency Health and her related experience in that field, Erica believes she is uniquely qualified to work in the Israeli government and will gain insight on how Israel deals with the challenges it faces to ensure the State’s safety and security.

“A state like none-other, the Zionist movement has allowed Israel to be the homeland for Jews all over the world…” she said. “However, it is evident that this would not be possible without the groundwork and function of the Israeli government.”

Read Erica Bergstein’s essay.

 

Samuel CrystalSamuel Crystal has been fascinated by the history of the Land and people of Israel since he was young. Fittingly, he will be interning at an Israeli government office or similar organization through MASA’s Israel Government Fellows program.

Samuel’s love of archeology and history has inspired him to learn more about politics and lobbying, and he would like to work in a related field when he returns to the United States. “I see [Israel] as the land my ancestors died for, a safe haven, and a fascinating window into the ancient lives of the Jewish people, as well as many other cultures,” he said.

Read Samuel Crystal’s essay.

 

Tamara GavrilovThrough MASA’s Career Israel program, Tamara Gavrilov will be putting her legal expertise to good use when she works as a Foreign Law Clerk for Judge Daphne Barak-Erez of the Supreme Court of Israel. As an attorney, Tamara is looking forward to the opportunities she’ll have to practice legal research as well as to learn more about the political dynamics in Israel.

An attorney specializing in Tamara has been an active supporter of Israel since high school. She advocates for Israel  and related causes through diverse methods ranging from legal action to fundraisers to skydiving. “Zionism …[gave me] a sensation of personal responsibility, as both a Jew and a citizen of the world, that I continue to carry with me today,” she said.

Read Tamar Gavrilov’s essay.

 

Lindsay GordonTo add new experiences to her love of the environment, Lindsay Gordon will be working at the Zalul Environmental Association in Israel through MASA’s Career Israel program. There, she will both advance her professional goals as well as attend seminars, take an Ulpan class, volunteer, and travel around Israel.

Since she first visited Israel on her Birthright trip, Lindsay has felt a connection to Israel and has had a strong desire to return there. She is excited to do her part to support Zionism and believes there are endless opportunities to grow and learn as a Zionist. “Zionism is to embrace Judaism; to represent all that Jewish People have accomplished centuries and millennia before us and build upon those accomplishments with confidence and pride despite obstacles,” she said.

Read Lindsay Gordon’s essay.

 

Bailey_MezanThis fall, Bailey Mezan will be participating in the MASA Career Israel program, working at the Israeli Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites. In keeping with her love of activism, her position there will allow her to conserve, rehabilitate, and promote sites that present Israel’s modern history.

On her first trip to Israel, Bailey was amazed at how open everyone was about their Judaism. She realized that we must fight for the recognition of Israel so that Jews will always be able to express their religion and continue to thrive. “Being a Zionist means never again allowing the Jews to dissolve into another nation; for we will never be the same as the rest of the world,” she said.

Read Bailey Mezan’s essay.

 

Hannah SouthworthDespite growing up in a small town in New Hampshire with very few Jews, Hannah Southworth has embraced Judaism and her relationship to Israel. She will be working in Tel Aviv at a women’s health-related organization through the WUJS Intern Tel Aviv program, taking advantage of her background in women’s health and non-profit administration.

Hannah is a trained Doula and wants to have a career in midwifery. She hopes to attend births in Israel and to record women’s birth stories. Hannah believes that learning about women’s care and births in Israel will provide her with invaluable experience as a health care provider, no matter which country she works in.

Hannah wants to spend her career helping to enhance the birth experience for Jewish women. “I believe that being a Zionist today means that I should give back to the community that gave so much to me,” she said.

Read Hannah Southworth’s essay.

 

Helyn B. Reich Scholarship Recipients, Spring 2014

Meet the Recipients

The American Zionist Movement is pleased to announce the winners of the Spring 2014 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund Award. All the winners are dedicated to Israel and are proud to spend time living and working there, strengthening their commitment to Zionism.

 

Amy AlbertsonThis fall, Amy Albertson will attend Israel Way – Tel Aviv Internship Experience, gaining valuable professional experience at her internship and exploring Israeli culture in the volunteer element of her program. While in college at the University of Portland, Amy was extremely vocal about her support of Israel. She spoke up against anti-Israel groups on campus, even when she was verbally attacked.

Amy started a pro-Israel group, Cultural and Historical Association for Israel (CHAI), which advocated for a more positive image of Israel and encouraged engagement with Israel education and programming. The group also worked with Hillel, StandWithUs, and the Jewish Student Union to plan pro-Israel events and rallies on campus. As Zionists, Amy says, we should not only carry on the legacy of great Zionist leaders but should also “remind the world that the Jewish people have the same right to self‐determination as all other people and spread the truth that the State of Israel remains a beacon of light among the nations.”

Keep up with Amy’s experiences in Israel on her blog, http://www.4monthsatsea.com/.

 

JacobKahana_PhotoGrowing up, Jacob Kahane visited Israel almost every summer to spend time with family, including his grandmother, who was a fifth-generation Jerusalemite, and his grandfather, who had moved to Palestine in the 1930s to escape persecution in Ukraine. Jacob wants to continue to focus on community, and hopes the experiences he has and the relationships he forges in Israel will help him define his Jewish identity.

Jacob will be attending Israel Career Experience, where he will work at a technology start up. Though his professional background is in art direction and graphic design, he is currently learning computer code, and believes that Tel Aviv, with its strong startup and technological markets, will be the ideal place to perfect his new skill.

“Zionism will always be about building, cultivating and protecting the state of Israel. But for me, over the last decade, the definition has expanded to included building, cultivating and protecting a Jewish community, wherever I go,” said Jacob.

 

PhotoDespite being raised in an increasingly Catholic home, over the past few years Elise Kowan has embraced her father’s Judaism. While on a Birthright trip, she immediately felt a connection with Israel and has learned more about Judaism and Hebrew ever since, looking forward to her return to the country.

Elise will be attending Career Israel in Tel Aviv, working with a fashion designer. “I believe that being Zionist today means that you feel Israel is the Holy Land and is your home as a Jew…it is [crucial] to preserve Israel so that future generations can feel the same [connection] that each Jew is destined to experience,” she said.

 

photo croppedFor Avishai Schlesinger, anything related to Israel ignites a spark in him. In high school, he visited Israel with a B’nei Akiva trip and later attended a yeshiva in Israel as well. This passion pushed him to participate in myriad Israel-related organizations at the University of Maryland, including a Jewish a capella group, religious services, and numerous advocacy-related events on campus.

Avishai’s professional goals are to work in production and digital media. He will be interning at a production company in Tel Aviv through Israel Experience, and hopes to grow professionally as well as better understand Israeli culture. Ultimately, Avishai would like to move to Israel, and believes this program will help him with professional, social, and religious opportunities.

“I believe that the State of Israel has been the foundation for the continued existence of the Jewish people for the past 65 years, and that promoting Zionism should be an essential goal of every Jewish community around the world,” he said.

 

photoNaomi Weisz’s parents raised her to be very active in the Jewish community and to appreciate the importance of the State of Israel. She knows that, growing up in the Former Soviet Union, both her parents did not have the opportunity to learn about Judaism; moving forward, Naomi wants to help those with similar ethnic backgrounds engage in Judaism and Israel.

Naomi will be attending Career Israel in Tel Aviv, and is excited to improve her Hebrew. “Zionism cannot be separated from both cultural and religious identity. Being a Zionist today does not merely mean to believe in a Jewish state, it means having the ability to protect the significance and legitimacy of a Jewish State,” she said.

Helyn B. Reich Scholarship Recipients, Fall 2013

Meet the Recipients

The American Zionist Movement is pleased to announce the winners of the Fall 2013 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund Award. All the winners are passionate about Israel and the committee is proud to help them maintain a strong connection with Zionism and with Judaism.

StephanieBabcockStephanie Babcock became passionate about Israel in college, and was an active member of Hillel as well as a co-founder of the first pro-Israel group on campus. To strengthen her connection with Israel, Stephanie visited Israel on a Birthright trip, learning about the country’s history and culture in a whirlwind tour.

Stephanie will be attending Israel Teaching Fellows for the upcoming year, where she will teach English to Israeli students.

In the future, Stephanie plans to remain engaged with Israel and pro-Israel advocacy through a career in government. She vows to continue her fight for social justice and to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations. “Branching out in this way, to me, is the embodiment of what Zionism means today: not only knowing what Zionism was and is, but being a part of what it can become,” she said.

 

Chantelchantel Braley’s passion for Israel was ignited on her first visit there, for her Bat Mitzvah. Overwhelmed by the kindness and inclusiveness of the Jewish community, she vowed to give back to it. And she has kept that promise, studying religion and Jewish studies in university, working and volunteering for local Jewish organizations, and taking Hebrew classes at an Israeli ulpan. This fall, Chantel will be attending the World Union for Jewish Students (WUJS) Arts Tel Aviv program, where she will have an arts-related internship as well as studio time to further develop her portfolio.

Chantel is a talented artist, and has written and illustrated several children’s books. Her goal is to create children’s literature in both Hebrew and English to foster positive relationships between Jews in Israel and the Diaspora, focusing on tolerance, multiculturalism, and diversity. “My personal connection with Zionism is one of political, spiritual, and personal passion, and because I am operating from an American perspective, I see my main means of Zionist expression tied to the diaspora responsibility of Israel advocacy and protection,” she said.

Chantel is an advocate of upholding Zionism’s vision of universal values, social justice, and equality, and believes that Palestinian Arabs should also have a right to national sovereignty. She contends that “contemporary Zionism must embrace and work toward the democratic concept that all citizens have a right to life, liberty, and happiness,” and hopes she can contribute to that goal.

 

Pele photo Pele IrgangLaden is the director of Habonim Dror year-round programming in Philadelphia.  He  has been a strong supporter of Israel for many years in both a social and professional capacity. He has attended numerous programs in Israel, including his gap year, which he spent living and working on Kibbutz Ein Dor, volunteering in schools and after-school programs in the town of Carmiel, and taking classes about Zionism, Jewish history, and Hebrew.

Pele  is involved in many local Jewish events and wants to continue his commitment to Judaism by making Aliyah and working in education in Israel. Pele plans to attend the University of Haifa for a semester, and is excited to improve his Hebrew and to take advantage of the diversity of religions and cultures in Haifa.

“Theodor Herzl said that ‘Zionism is a constant revolution,’ and the next goals of Zionism are to realize the injustices within Israel and the world. We must work tirelessly towards justice, equality, and peace to actualize the modern dream of Zionism,” says Pele.

 

Sarah photoSarah Marasco’s relationship with Judaism is what some would call unique. Raised in an interfaith family, she attended Catholic school and was not connected to her Jewish roots. When offered the opportunity to attend a high school program in Israel, Sarah embraced the opportunity and, once there, felt a strong and immediate connection to Judaism, even celebrating her Bat Mitzvah at the age of 17.

Sarah will be attending Tel Aviv University as undergraduate student. She is excited to learn more about Judaism and the State of Israel and hopes to use her experiences to teach others about Judaism’s rich history and culture. Though Sarah has not yet decided on her exact career path, she knows she will spend her life defending Israel and dispelling the lies and slander that are spread about the country. She plans to work towards ensuring peace and understanding and to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel. “I believe that peace comes through knowledge and understanding, and that by simply spreading the truth about Israel and its practice, hate can be defeated and peace achieved,” she said.

 

sethmarkinThough Seth Markin’s first trip to Israel was when he was in his twenties, he had heard about it since he was a child. His grandparents, who had helped found Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University and had been visiting Israel during the Six Day War, had felt very strongly about Israel and told him stories that remained with him. So when Seth arrived in Israel on a Birthright trip, he immediately felt at home.

Seth will be returning to Israel as an Israeli Government Fellow and is excited to learn more about Judaism and Zionism. His program includes both an internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he will review United Nations memoranda, and an educational component comprised of seminars and day trips.

Seth hopes that his internship will teach him learn how to deal with conflict effectively and will help him reach his professional goals when he returns to the United States and begins law school. “Zionism is more than just advocating the Jewish sovereign state, it’s actively supporting it – it is making Israel a place where those who have been dispersed and displaced for most of history have a place to go and call home,” he said.

 

Two Outstanding Young People Win Reich Scholarships

The American Zionist Movement announced the winners of the Spring 2012 Helyn B Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund Awards at the end of January. Both winners were outstanding candidates, who exemplify the kind of drive and passion the committee looks for in its scholarship recipients.

Sarah Warshawsky will be participating in the MASA Career Israel program this spring. Currently Sarah works as the Director of Political Affairs for the Consulate General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico. Though Sarah grew up in a Jewish household, it was difficult to live the daily life of a Zionist growing up in a Texas community with a small Jewish population. Sarah had an awakening while attending college in Oklahoma where she was fortunate enough to participate in Middle Eastern political science courses taught by a guest Israeli professor. According to Sarah, “Israel has held a special place in my soul since I can remember. I have grown up all over this country and in unusual places for most Jews. Houston, Texas to Austin, Texas to school in Oklahoma, I know what it is like to not be of the majority. My solace was learning, studying and living Israel. I felt a sense of urgency, urgency to get up and move to Israel right away. I wanted to fight for Israel; I wanted to become a part of the majority.” Sarah hopes to use this experience of working and living in Israel to not only further her connection to the country on a personal level but also her future career as a U.S. politician or diplomat working to support Israel.

Read Sarah Warshawsky’s essay

 

Daniel Romero has had to overcome many adversities in his life.  Thus his application was especially inspiring to the members of the Helyn B, Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund committee.  A graduate of Berkeley Law of the University of California , Daniel will hold an intern position of Foreign Law Clerk with the Supreme Court of Israel while participating in the OU IFS Career Track of the Masa Career Israel Program next year.   Daniel believes that it was during an enlightening stay in Israel where his Zionism first came alive.  In his own words, it was on a trip to Sderot that “it became clear to me that this place, among many places, needed law and justice more than any place back home.  It also needs to be understood more than any other place in America.  For American Jews, this is especially the case and others in the Diaspora, as we are so necessarily tied to this place, and have a role to play in its development, through the ballot box and the foreign policy of our governments.  We have a share in its responsibility for justice and in furthering its development.”  Inspired by Theodor Herzl, Daniel hopes to make his year in Israel another step in realizing the Zionist vision for justice and peace both in Israel and for the Jewish people.

Read Daniel Romero’s essay

Spring 2011-Helyn B. Reich Scholarship Recipients

Meet the Recipients

2011 Helyn B. Reich Scholarship Recipeints
From left to right: Peter Adelman, Chelsea Kauffman, Natalie Silverlieb, Simon Stratford and Yoni Mann

 

This Spring the American Zionist Movement awarded Helyn B Reich Memorial Scholarships to five outstanding young people.  Three are participating in a post-college program called Career Israel, which places participants in internships related to their chosen field or interest.  The remaining two awardees will be attending Tel Aviv University. Learn a little about each of the awardees below; click on their name to read their application essay.

Peter Adelman’s first trip to Israel was in January 2006 with Birthright Israel as a student at the University of Wisconsin. Since then he has worked to become better informed on Jewish and Israeli issues and looks forward to being an even more effective advocate for Israel upon his return to the US.  A native of Des Moines, Adelman will be located in Tel Aviv for his Career Israel internship with a company that assists aspiring entrepreneurs.  Upon returning to the US in July, he will settle in Austin, Texas to study for his MBA at University of  Texas, where he plans to specialize in energy finance.

Chelsea Kauffman, a student at the University of Wisconsin, is spending a semester at Tel Aviv University. Chelsea dates her involvement with Israel advocacy back to her Birthright Israel trip.  After spending a “life-changing” summer in Israel, Chelsea returned to campus and joined the board of the Madison Israel Public Affairs Committee. She says she is “proud of what she has done” for Israel, and  writes that her journey as a pro-Israel activist has just begun.

Natalie Silverlieb is from New York City where she has led an eclectic existence from performing on Broadway to building her own practice as a certified health coach. Natalie will spend five months in Israel under the auspices of Career Israel, where she hopes to use her unique talents and experience to move a social action agenda.  Upon her return, Natalie hopes to work with Jewish community in support of human rights and causes for social justice.

Simon Stratford, hails from Buffalo Grove, Illinois and is attending Michigan State University.  He is spending his spring semester at Tel Aviv University. Simon’s first Israel trip was  on Birthright Israel through his Hillel, in the winter of 2010.  In Simon’s own words “The last day and a half of our trip was spent in Tel Aviv. From the minute I stepped off the bus and saw the breath-taking Tel Aviv skyline adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea, I fell in love with the vibrant culture and energy that surrounded Tel Aviv.  I knew from that point on that I wanted to study abroad at Tel Aviv University.”

Yoni Mann worked for the Jewish Agency for Israel prior to his Knesset internship with Career Israel.  He directed its Aliyah Campus Fellowships program. A native of California, Yoni says that he was born into Zionism.  He believes his internship will help hone his skills for a lifetime of work on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people — either in the United States, or perhaps, in Israel.