We are so excited to welcome our second cohort of Masa-Hillel Fellows. The fellowship is a six-month professional development seminar designed to prepare current Masa participants for Hillel work. Through Hillel’s partnership with Masa, Hillel provides a Fellowship experience for current Masa participants who were at the Masa Israel Leadership Summit in December. The goal of the Masa-Hillel Fellowship is to build a talent pipeline and populate Hillel’s professional cohort with talented individuals and budding leaders who are actively exploring Israel and reinforcing their Jewish and Israel connections. Learn more about the Fellowship and last year's cohort on our blog.
Ashley Barrett is currently an Israel Teaching Fellow in Ramla, where she serves an underprivileged elementary school in the community working with advanced and remedial students in English classes. Originally from small town Ohio, Ashley recently graduated from Miami University with a degree in History and Jewish Studies. Ashley’s lifelong passion for being Jewish is shown through her countless summers at URJ Olin-San-Ruby Union Institute in Wisconsin. She also served the Jewish community of Oxford, Ohio during her studies as one of the two religious school teachers. As well as serving the Jewish student body with countless semesters on board and various committees. Besides engaging Shabbat programming, one of her other devotions in school was the first ever ‘MU Pink Week’ an entire week devoted to Sharsheret and the culminating event being Pink Shabbat on campus.
Danielle Jay Bezalel is currently learning, growing, and striving to effect change as an Israel Teaching Fellow in Rishon LetZion, Israel; she is aiming to narrow the achievement gap through liberal arts projects and the school's motto: "Learning by Playing". Danielle studied Film and Media with a minor in Education at UC Berkeley, and on campus her passions included advocating for young women's rights as YWCA mentor, facilitating conversations about big questions of life through Hillel, singing 15 hours a week with the Overtones a cappella group, and directing short social justice documentaries. Danielle's inspirational mentors at Hillel motivated her to become an active Jewish leader during her time as a Golden Bear.
Adriane Cooper is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Netanya, Israel where she works with small groups of students to both extend and support their English language learning. Before coming to Israel, Adriane was very active in The University of Georgia’s Hillel, where she discovered her love for Jewish education. In addition to Hillel, she exercised her passion for Jewish education by teaching religious school at the local synagogue during her college years. In her free time, Adriane enjoys cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs and watching the sunset.
Molly Cram is currently working and living in Rishon LeZion, Israel, primarily with the Ethiopian community through the Yahel Social Change Program. Previous to her work in Israel, Molly worked with Mobility International USA, a disability rights organization, coordinating international exchange programs. Molly's love for international travel led her to study at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where she earned an undergraduate degree in International Relations. While at St Andrews, Molly was very involved with the Jewish Society, hoping to bring kosher meat all the way from Manchester and bagels from Glasgow to all Jewish students at St Andrews. Molly is passionate about good food, good people, and travel, and combing all three as often as she can.
Natalie Crone is currently living in Rehovot, Israel. She is spending a year of service working to close achievement gaps in Israeli secondary schools. When not mentoring, coaching the student debate club or recording the student radio show, she can be found working with Holocaust survivors or training for an upcoming long distance running race. Prior to living in Israel, Natalie received a BA in Political Science from Berea College in Berea, KY, and then completed a National Service term with AmeriCorps in Knoxville, TN. In both, KY and TN, Natalie was a lone Jew. Her experience, of being the only Jew on her campus, fuels her connection to Israel and her desire to work on university campuses in the future and ensure that other U.S. college students won't have to endure being the lone Jew.
Rachel Glickenstein is spending the 2014-2015 school year as an Israel Teaching Fellow in Ashdod, Israel, where she works with children in grades 3-6, teaching and strengthening their English language skills and proficiency. She spent the past five years teaching at a Jewish Day school (where she was also a student) in the Bronx, NY. She also taught at her synagogue's religious school, and was involved with Purchase College's Hillel for all four years that she was a student there. She served as Hillel's president on her campus during her senior year. When she's not in the classroom, Rachel can most likely be found cheering on the Yankees or at a Broadway show.
Stephanie Grossman shines bright in all environments. As a proud graduate of Florida State University, she rose to the position of Co-captain of Seminole Dance Force, leading the team to place top 10 at Nationals in 2014. She is also a member of the predominantly Jewish sorority Sigma Delta Tau, Stephanie exceled at getting to know prospective new members by asking genuinely, “what is your story?” in order to get a deeper understanding of each unique individual. Her degree in Family and Child Sciences taught her the importance of these meaningful relationships, which has helped her on her own Jewish journey, especially in her current role as an Israel Teaching Fellow in Netanya. With these experiences, Stephanie hopes to be a source of confidence for Jewish students and their peers as both a friend and a mentor.
Lauren Kahn is currently volunteering with the Israel Teaching Fellows cohort in Rehovot. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She began her college career at Santa Barbara City College where she excelled academically, realized her passion for progressive activism with the Campus Democrats, and played on the SBCC Women’s basketball team. Lauren then transferred to the University of California, San Diego to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. After her Birthright trip, she decided she wanted to be more involved in the Jewish community on her new University campus. She then joined the Jewish sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi and also got involved with the Pro-Israel Pro-Peace group on campus J Street U. After finishing her Bachelors, Lauren committed herself to being an Aupair for a French Jewish family in Paris for one year in order to live abroad and travel. After one year living abroad in France, she decided to come back to volunteer in Israel in the Israel Teaching Fellows program.
Ari Nooromid is an Israel Teaching Fellow living it up beach side in Netanya for the year. Native to the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, Ari is a proud graduate of the University of Georgia where she studied Social Work. Ari loved UGA for all the possibilities to get involved in organizations, and was active with the Jewish community on campus. She served as a volunteer engagement coordinator and co-director with Challah for Hunger, a student led organization that sells challah to raise money for social injustice. She enjoys spending time with friends and family and making real human connections. Since working with kids in Israel, Ari thinks she may pursue her social work skills in children's needs.
Elyse Pincus is currently an Israel Teaching Fellow in Rehovot, Israel, teaching small groups of children, volunteering at the local community center, and working with a group of Israeli peers to discuss social issues in Israel. Prior to living in Israel, Elyse was heavily involved on the University of Arizona campus as a Residence Assistant and on the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization called Camp Wildcat. Elyse is passionate about working with children and in the Jewish community, which can be seen through her employment following college. Elyse worked at the Tucson Jewish Community Center as a preschool teacher for two years, and as a teacher for her congregation’s Beit Midrash: teaching a comparative religions class to 8th graders.
Adam Polacek exhibits confidence, charisma, and is a dynamic part of any group. He grew up as an active member of the Orlando Jewish community. While a proud brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity at the University of Florida, Adam found a love for Sociology. This major opened Adam’s eyes to the world around him and made him more aware of the true nature of human existence. Adam learned that people are more than just their genes; they are a product of their environment. He believes that every person has the potential to live a beautiful life full of love, given the proper nurture. It is with this belief that Adam set off for the land of Israel to inspire kids as an English teaching fellow in Netanya, determined to brighten the lives of others with his indomitable spirit, while simultaneously expanding on his own Jewish journey.
Melanie Rivkin is an Israel Teaching Fellow in Ashdod, where she tutors non-native English speakers during school hours, and co-facilitates an afterschool English enrichment program. She is also learning conversational Hebrew, alongside improving her Hebrew studies in her reading, writing, and comprehension skills. She graduated from Binghamton University in 2012 with a B.A. in Judaic Studies, participated in the launch year Repair the World: Pittsburgh Fellowship last year and also enjoys reconnecting with Philadelphia, over the bridge from her hometown, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Aside from her professional pursuits, Melanie likes to write songs, draw, dance, sing, act, drum, and go for long runs and bike rides.
Lindsey Skerker is currently a Masa Israel Teaching Fellow in Netanya, where she teaches English to elementary school students. Prior to living in Israel, she spent the past four years living in rural Upstate New York to attend college at Colgate University. At school, she served as the Vice President of the Colgate Class of 2014 and was a member of her school's prestigious senior honor society. At the end of a long week, she always looked forward to Shabbat services and dinner with the Colgate Jewish Union. Although she loves Israel, Lindsey looks forward to returning home to New Jersey and spending time with her dog Gino.
Sarah Waslow-Washington is currently an Israel Teaching Fellow in Ashdod. As a Teaching Fellow Sarah spends her days working with an English teacher to improve the student’s English skills through a variety of techniques including, making movies, creating songs and dances, or doing research projects. Before arriving in Israel, Sarah was completing a 1 year master’s program in Education. In her free time Sarah is working as the Vice Chair to the organization, CSJO (Congress of Secular Jewish Organization), planning their annual conference and grooving to a variety of music to encourage her work.
Geoffrey Zalter is currently participating in Israel Teaching Fellows in Rishon Letsion, where he has developed a specialized English learning curriculum for his students. With a background in education, he thrives on the challenges of working with his students, who are mostly olim chadashim. Geoffrey was the director of a Jewish day camp in Hamilton, Ontario this past summer, and is currently acting as an informal advisor for the camp. His interest in Jewish life is substantial and growing, as he has been involved with his local Hillel and Israel on Campus (IOC), while he continues to seek for more opportunities within the Jewish Life sector.