June 13, 2024
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The Bronfman Fellowship Announces 35th Cohort

(Courtesy of Bronfman Fellowship) The Bronfman Fellowship has selected its 35th cohort of intellectually curious 11th graders from across North America, among them a governor-appointed member of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission; a youth leader in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary-Civil Air Patrol who has attained the grade of Cadet Technical Sergeant; a member of a national all-female mountain bike mentoring program; and the co-director of the student-led initiative Adopt-a-Neighbor, which provides free, virtual tutoring to students in need.

The 26 Fellows, chosen from 177 applicants, will participate in a transformative fellowship-year experience of study and conversation centered around pluralism, social responsibility and Jewish texts. They will also interact with a group of Israeli peers who were chosen through a parallel selection process as part of the Israeli Fellowship, Amitei Bronfman. The new class of Fellows will join a vibrant alumni network that includes some of today’s most exciting Jewish writers, thinkers and leaders.

Following a competitive application process, the 2021 Fellows are from 13 states, the District of Columbia and Canada, and represent a wide range of Jewish backgrounds, including Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Just Jewish and secularly/culturally Jewish.

Reyna Perelis of Teaneck is a junior at SAR High School who spends summers at Camp Stone. A fierce lover of all things outdoors, she enjoys hiking with her family, embarking on biking adventures with friends, and learning about climate action. Perelis is a member of SAR’s Model UN team, learns daf yomi and tutors bat mitzvah girls.

Yona Sperling-Milner of Riverdale and Washington, DC currently attends SAR High School, where she is editor-in-chief of a seasonal Torah journal and a biweekly Israel newsletter, and participates in Mock Trial, Student Council, math team, Israel Advocacy Club, College Bowl, Torah Bowl, Meteorology Club and Politics Club. She is part of the Tikvah Scholars Forum, AJC Leaders for Tomorrow, a Gemara chaburah with her principal, and AIPAC’s Saban Leadership Seminar.

Talia Namdar-Cohen of Manhattan is an 11th grader at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School. She is deeply invested in issues of Jewish feminism and the role of women in the Jewish community. Namdar-Cohen serves as a vice president of the student government, the captain of the Mock Trial team, a peer advisor to underclassman, and a leader on the Model UN team. She is also one of the founders of JASA next Gen, whose mission is to raise awareness of elder abuse and food insecurity in and out of the Jewish community. She is very connected to her Israeli Iranian roots and speaks fluent Hebrew.

Caleb Levine, of Montclair, New Jersey, has attended public school since childhood. Interested in public policy and history, he is a member of his high school’s Civics and Government Institute, active in both Model Congress and United Nations, and a political advocate on the federal, state and municipal levels. He loves to work with children and has been a teacher’s assistant at his synagogue’s religious school, where he helps developmentally challenged students learn Hebrew; and a volunteer tutor of recently-immigrated peers from the Middle East and Central America.

Ryder Lippman of Manhattan is a junior at Hunter College High School. He is a musician, a writer, a collaborator and community builder. He recently released an EP of his original music, and has also scored music for live theatre, video and documentary short film. Lippman’s writing has been recognized twice by the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards; and he is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Noteworthy, HCHS’s only publication dedicated to music at his school.

The 2021 Fellowship year will begin with an immersive summer at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in the Berkshire Mountains of Connecticut. This one-time decision to hold the summer experience in the U.S. instead of Israel was made in close consultation with public health experts in response to the pandemic, to offer the greatest possible opportunity to safely bring the group together for the summer and continue their tradition of immersive in-person learning and community building.

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