Meet the HBR Scholarship Spring 2017 Recipients

The American Zionist Movement is pleased to announce the winners of the Spring 2017 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund. The recipients are talented young Americans and passionate Zionists, who are excited and thrilled to spend more time living and working in Israel this year.

 

Aaron Friedman-Heiman

Aaron graduated last year from Tulane University last year with a Bachelor’s DegreeAaron Headshot (1) in Political Science and Environmental Studies. As a student on campus he was involved with AEPI and Hillel, where he volunteered his time to start and lead a community garden initiative on campus. A passionate Zionist, Aaron is excited to spend a semester in Israel and experience daily life firsthand before possibly making Aliyah in the future. He will be interning at the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies in the south of Israel. Aaron says “Israel is much more than our religious and cultural capital. To many, including myself, Israel is our voice.” He has advanced Hebrew language skills and is eager to improve his Hebrew even more.

Read Aaron’s essay on his connection to Zionism

Chelsea Manoff

photo (1) (1)Chelsea graduated with a Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication from Temple University. She will also be interning at the Arava Institute in Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel.

She sees the transformation in Israel, particularly in sustainable agriculture, as an extremely fascinating and focal study point. She is very excited to learn more from the guiding professors at Arava. She wishes to use this internship as a stepping point towards a career in agricultural development and of personal development by connecting with her Jewish heritage. She plans to combine her interest in sustainable development with her background in horticulture, by helping farmers in developing countries become more sustainable and successful.

Read Chelsea’s essay on her connection to Zionism

Jesse Medina

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 7.37.11 AMJesse hails from Michigan, and holds a B.A in Science, Technology and Society from Pomona College. A strong advocate for Israel in many spheres. He was actively involved through his work with Hillel on campus, and with Magen David Adom, where he volunteered in Israel in the summer of 2012. He has also been an attendee at AIPAC policy conferences. Jesse writes that Israel “is a wonderland of spirituality and innovation alike, with Jews from all walks of life that accept each other as brethren. This is a type of acceptance and love that is incredibly difficult to find replicated outside of the international Jewish community. This is the true Zionism definition of Zionism and why it is so important.”

He will be interning for Social Finance Israel, an innovator in the implementation of Social Impact Bonds to drive socioeconomic progress in areas of social and economic crises. He hopes to gain insight from this internship to learn and understand more about Israeli innovations and policies, and is greatly looking forward to being able to bring back new skills to the United States.

Read Jesse’s essay on his connection to Zionism

Jon Atkins

02/10/2016 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - Carer Fair LinkedIn Headshots on February 11, 2016. (Evan Sayles for Tufts University)

Jon attended Tufts University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. He visited Israel on a Birthright trip during college, which served as a catalyst for developing a strong connection to the land and its culture. Upon his return, he became much more involved with Jewish life and Zionist conversations on campus. He worked with Tufts Hillel to help make Birthright trips more appealing to fellow students. He was also actively involved with JStreet’s chapter at Tufts. Though he recognizes the complexity of Israel, he mentions that “ the issue of Zionism is integral to any Jewish community and I know it will forever be a part of my life and everyday discourse.”

He is extremely excited to return to Israel and will spend 5 months in Jerusalem interning at Achvat Amim – Solidarity of Nations, part of Hashomer Hatzair. The program aims to help participants understand and work to bridge divides that exist in Israeli communities.

Read Jon’s essay on his connection to Zionism

Lynette Hacopian

Me (1)Lynette hold a B.S. In Environmental Economics and Politics from U.C. Berkeley, and was very involved with Tikvah Students for Israel on campus, as well as Chabad. She interned for almost a year at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco. Lynette’s connection to Israel grew much stronger following Gaza war of 2014. Having witnessed extreme anti-Israel sentiment on campus, she led Zionist activities through Tikvah, participated in campaigns, and silent protests such as “Cut the Tape” against those promoting BDS on campus. She will be interning at the Arava Institute and is excited to get a better understanding of the conflict and the region, and especially to learn more about environmental issues in Israel. She is also excited to improve her Hebrew.

Read Lynette’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

Sarene Shaked

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 7.29.47 AMSarene is currently a student at Cornell University and will be spending her spring semester at Tel Aviv University. At Cornell she served as the Israel Awareness Chair of Hillel’s Executive Board, AIPAC Liaison, as well as a CAMERA Fellow and Israel Intern. Through these positions, she organized numerous events on campus while doing her best to serve as a “symbol of Israeli and Jewish pride.”

She hopes to develop a greater connection to Israel on a personal level, and find professional opportunities to weave her interest in psychology with social justice and conflict resolution.

 

Read Sarene’s essay on her connection to Zionism

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 Recipient, Spring 2013

Meet the Recipient

The American Zionist Movement is thrilled to announce the winner of the Spring 2013 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund Award. Her commitment to the Jewish people reflects the passion the committee strives to promote with this scholarship.

 

Emly Orenemly oren crop

Emly Oren will be attending the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem this Spring. Her family is Israeli, and spending summers in Israel and integrating the culture into her life in America led her to a lifelong connection with Israel and Judaism. Emly looks forward to expanding and examining her Jewish education at Pardes, and is confident that studying and discussing Jewish texts will enable her to think analytically in her professional life as well. “My time at Pardes is a stepping stone … and I look forward to learning many things in the program that will continue to strengthen my involvement in the Jewish community and beyond,” she said.

Emly has maintained her strong connection with Israel and the Jewish community by leading three Birthright trips and by working with the Jewish community in her professional life. In her time working and volunteering at Moishe House, the Joint Distribution Committee, United Synagogue Youth, Hillel, and many more Jewish organizations, she created, organized, and implemented events for local Jewish communities as well as provided support for people with disabilities or who have faced adversity. Emly has always been active outdoors and has integrated the environment and nature into many of her work-related activities. She is proud of her involvement in Jewish life, and is working towards her goal of creating an outdoor Jewish program in North America and Israel.

Read Emly Oren’s Personal Essay

Helyn B Reich Scholarships for Fall 2011 Announced

The Helyn B Reich Memorial Scholarship Committee announced the recipients of awards for the Fall of 2011.  There were only two scholarship winners selected in this round, as committee members unanimously agreed that each was the outstanding applicant in the given category.

Alex Willick will be participating in the Otzma program beginning this fall.  Alex graduated from Colgate University with a major in Music and a minor in Philosophy. After graduation he interned at Atlantic Records and Heeb Magazine.  He currently works at UJA-Federation New York as an Administrative Assistant.  Alex plans to use his Otzma experience to better prepare him for growth in his chosen profession of Jewish community work. In Alex’s own words, “I intend to parlay my experience with the Otzma Fellowship by enhancing my career within the Jewish philanthropic world. I currently work on the fundraising side of the UJA-Federation, and I am happy in my professional endeavor thus far. However, my interest also lies on the allocations side. By living in Israel and working with some of the same types of organizations and agencies to which the UJA-Federation allocates grants, it would enable me to speak authoritatively and first-hand about our work.”

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

The second Helyn B Reich winner is Jessica Leitner from Chico, California, a town about 3 hours northeast of San Francisco.  Jessica will be attending Tel Aviv University during the 2011- 2012 academic year.  A committed Israel advocate, Jessica has visited Israel on several occasions and has demonstrated great initiative in educating others about Israel and Zionism.  Her studies in Israel will include classes modern Jewish and Israel studies, as well as work in her professional field, kinesiology.  Thinking about how spending the year in Israel will impact her, Jessica writes “Growing up in Chico I was usually the only Zionist in my classes, and this trend has continued
in college career. I use the word Zionist, not Jew, because there have occasionally been other Jewish students in my classes, but most of them have had little or no knowledge of Israel and many of them have not been Zionists. I have tried my best to educate these fellow Jewish students, encouraging them to join me in Israel advocacy work. The thought of going to a school where almost every student is Jewish and Zionist is beyond exciting for me. I appreciate being around other Zionists immensely.  Celebrating holidays, and talking about Jewish values are things that I can’t do with most people at my at my university. Studying abroad at Tel Aviv University will help me grow as a contributor to the Jewish community and as an Israel advocate.”

Read Jessica’s personal essay on Zionism.