The Bronfman Fellowship Announces Its 38th Cohort

Outstanding High School Students from Diverse Jewish Backgrounds Selected to Study Together
and Join a Dynamic Community of North American and Israeli Leaders

May 2024 — The Bronfman Fellowship has selected its 38th cohort of intellectually curious 11th-graders from across North America, among them an award-winning playwright whose works have been staged in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia; the co-founder of a program that brings together Israeli and Palestinian teen girls living in adjacent neighborhoods of Jerusalem; a first-degree black belt in Shōrin-ryū, an Okinawan martial art; the creator of a blind mentorship program in NYC that aims to build a warm community of visually impaired students; and a four-time recipient of the Gold Presidential Service Award who has volunteered over 750 hours of community service.

The 26 Fellows, who come from a broad spectrum of the Jewish community, will participate in a transformative, free Fellowship-year experience in which they explore a rich, complex tapestry of Jewish texts and ideas in conversation with one another and a faculty team of leading rabbis, educators, and artists. They 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, lifelong alumni community that includes some of today’s most exciting Jewish writers, thinkers and leaders.

The Bronfman Fellowship year typically begins with a five-week immersive summer in Israel. Due to the ongoing uncertainty around security in Israel, the majority of the Fellowship summer will take place in the U.S. this year, with an optional trip to Israel at the end of July. The Fellows will have an unparalleled opportunity to delve deeply into the Jewish experience, both in America and Israel. The Fellowship year continues with Winter and Spring Seminars in the U.S. and monthly virtual meetings.

The Bronfman Fellowship was founded in 1987 by Edgar M. Bronfman, z”l, formerly CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd. and a visionary Jewish philanthropist. Mr. Bronfman passed away in December 2013.

“Edgar Bronfman would have relished the opportunity to get to know this year’s Fellows,” said Becky Voorwinde, Executive Director of The Bronfman Fellowship. “They are a passionate, inquisitive, talented and incredibly bright bunch. I look forward to seeing them challenge and inspire one another and their communities throughout their lives.”

Adam R. Bronfman, president of The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, said he was “impressed and heartened” by the new cohort. “The energy, diversity and intellectual firepower of this group speak to my father’s belief that young people can change the world in ways that previous generations couldn’t have envisioned,” he said. “My father treasured the Fellowship as an investment in the Jewish future, and I am proud to continue his work. It brings me joy to witness the magic that happens when Jews from all backgrounds come together to access Jewish wisdom and have important conversations. I look forward to getting to know the 2024 Fellows personally, and to joining some of those conversations myself.”

Following a competitive application process, the 2024 Fellows are from 10 states and the District of Columbia, and represent a wide range of Jewish backgrounds, including Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Just Jewish and secularly/culturally Jewish.

The Fellowship promotes the study of Jewish texts, traditions, history and culture as a way for Fellows to expand their perspectives and engage with one another and the world. The Fellows will study with an esteemed faculty, including Rabbi Hannah Kapnik Ashar, Director of Faculty, the founder and director of Rahmana, a women’s prayer initiative; Community Managers Rafi Ellenson and Tal Toren, students at Hebrew College Rabbinical School and Hebrew University, respectively; Dr. Jonathan Marc Gribetz, associate professor in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Princeton University; and Dr. Evan Parks, faculty member at Columbia University. Dr. Alexander Kaye, Assistant Professor of Israel Studies at Brandeis, will join them as a guest teacher. The Fellows will also participate in arts workshops led by contemporary Jewish artists including Joshua Meyer, an acclaimed painter; and Marisa Scheinfeld, photographer and founder of Borscht Belt Historical Marker Project.

In addition to learning with stellar educators, Fellows also have the unique opportunity to engage with leading intellectuals, artists, and religious and cultural leaders. Past speakers have included journalist Matti Friedman; author and professor Dr. Mara Benjamin; musician and Yiddish scholar Anthony Russell; and Torah scholar Dr. Avivah Zornberg.

The Bronfman Fellowship alumni community includes some of today’s leading Jewish cultural creators, deep thinkers, moral voices, and community builders. There are now nearly 1500 Bronfman Fellowship alumni across North America and Israel. Among them are 9 Rhodes Scholars, 4 former Supreme Court clerks, 20 Fulbright Scholars, 36 Wexner Fellows and 29 Dorot Fellows. Leaders of note among Fellowship alumni include Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, author of the best-selling Series of Unfortunate Events children’s books; Matti Friedman, author of The Aleppo Codex; and Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, the first woman to be named Senior Rabbi at New York’s Central Synagogue and the first Asian-American person to be ordained as a rabbi and cantor. Others include Judy Batalion, author of The Light of Days; Anne Dreazen, Director for Egypt, Israel and the Levant at the Department of Defense; Itamar Moses, Tony award-winner for The Band’s Visit; and Rabbi Deborah Sacks Mintz, Director of Tefillah and Music at Hadar Institute. Alumni also include entrepreneurial Jewish leaders who have founded organizations like Keshet, Sefaria, and YidLife Crisis; and serve in central leadership roles at major organizations like The Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, the Jewish Women’s Archive, Central Synagogue, Hillel International and The Foundation for Jewish Camp, to name a few. 

Our Israeli alumni have also ascended to positions of influence in government, civil groups, the private sector and cultural institutions. Israeli alumni include attorneys at the State Justice Department, noted journalists, successful filmmakers (including a Tribeca Film Festival winner), political advisers to Members of Knesset, members of elite IDF units and university lecturers. 


About The Bronfman Fellowship

The Bronfman Fellowship, the flagship program for outstanding young Jews, taps 26 North American teenagers at a formative point in their lives, the year before college, when an intense, immersive experience will have the most impact. The Fellowship is an opportunity unlike any other: a space where young people who want to see the world through a lens broader than their own can explore issues with depth, candor, and joy, while forming friendships to last a lifetime. Fellows wrestle with major issues in contemporary Jewish life, meet some of today’s most influential figures, and expand their perspectives as they build community with those representing different backgrounds, worldviews, and approaches to Jewish life and practice. The year begins with a five-week summer study program that takes place in the U.S. and Israel and includes an encounter with a parallel cadre of outstanding Israeli teenagers. Programming continues throughout Fellows’ senior year of high school with a series of lively in-person and virtual seminars, gatherings, and projects. Upon graduating high school, the Fellows join an alumni community that has become a model for lifelong engagement, as Bronfman alumni continue to exchange ideas and inspire one another to contribute their talents, vision, and creativity to the Jewish community and the world.

The Fellowship, founded in 1987 by Edgar M. Bronfman, z”l, reflects Mr. Bronfman’s early and impassioned belief that for the Jewish people to thrive, Israeli and American Jews from a variety of backgrounds must be engaged in open and creative discourse with one another. The alumni embody Mr. Bronfman’s vision that young people who are enriched and energized by their Judaism are poised to contribute not only to Jewish life, but to improving the world. 

For more information about The Bronfman Fellowship, including how to apply, please visit www.bronfman.org.

Contact Information

Stefanie Weisman

The Bronfman Fellowship

Following is a list of 2024 Bronfman Fellows. Pictures available upon request.



Phoenix, AZ.  Will Steen Koppell is a junior at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, AZ. He is a member of Temple Solel, a reform congregation in Paradise Valley. He was called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah in August of 2020 and was confirmed in May of 2023. He has played leadership roles at his temple by serving on the youth engagement committee and being the student member of the board of trustees. At Arcadia High School he is a student ambassador, member of the baseball team, and participant in Model UN. In his free time, he enjoys golf, tennis, and playing guitar.

Tucson, AZ.  Nathan Sheinbein is a junior at University High School, an accelerated public high school located in Tucson, AZ. On campus, he is the co-founder and president of the Jewish Student Union, a member of the school’s FBLA club, and a varsity tennis player. He was raised in a non-observant household and has not had a bar mitzvah. However, he is heavily involved with his local BBYO chapter and currently serves as S’gan on the chapter board. He is also a part of the Jewish Latino Teen Coalition, a local program that brings together members of Southern Arizona’s Jewish and Latino communities to collaborate and discuss a number of issues in the community. They also travel to Washington, D.C., to advocate for federal policies. Nathan loves the outdoors and is a board member for a local organization that maintains trails in the greater Tucson area. He is an avid mountain bike rider who loves sharing his backyard trails as a guide for a local tour company. Additionally, he has participated in a number of mountain bike races. Last fall, he finished second overall in his category for the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona race series. In his free time, Nathan enjoys spending time with his friends, family, and two dogs, Ruby and Aspen.



Los Angeles, CA.  Mateo Robinson is in eleventh grade at Shalhevet High School, a Modern Orthodox Jewish day school, which contrasts sharply with his Reform Jewish upbringing. Mateo grew up attending Wilshire Boulevard Temple, where he learned that Judaism is about morals and repairing the world through good deeds. After building a foundation of ethics and values, Mateo reached out of his comfort zone and attended Camp Ramah, where he learned how meditation and spirituality can deepen religious connections. Finally, Mateo entered a Modern Orthodox High School, Shalhevet, where he learned about Jewish texts and laws. By exposing himself to these seemingly opposing sects of Judaism, Mateo has been able to cultivate a deep relationship with Judaism that is entirely his own. Recently, Mateo’s Jewish identity mainly revolves around spirituality and ethics, which will continue to change as his journey continues. As a teenager in Los Angeles, Mateo works two jobs: he serves at an oyster bar in the Farmers Market and he helps teach Hebrew to sixth graders at Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Mateo is also a devoted student, taking a total of nine classes and serving as the Vice Chair for his school’s Agenda Committee. As Vice Chair, Mateo helps create and facilitate weekly school-wide discourses regarding current events, moral dilemmas, and school affairs. Mateo is also the head of the Latino Affinity Group at Shalhevet which meets once a month. Mateo is very excited to unveil this new chapter in his life and see where the lessons he learns from the Bronfman Fellowship will lead him.

Oakland, CA.  Mila Einspruch is a junior at the Head-Royce School in Oakland, CA. At school, she runs a math mentorship program for third and fourth grade girls which aims to build math confidence in young girls. She is also the co-president of Head-Royce’s Jewish Affinity Group. Mila has been a part of the Temple Sinai community since she was in preschool and is now a lead third grade teacher in its religious school. She also serves on the Temple Sinai Youth Leadership Council. She spent last summer in Hsinchu, Taiwan, studying in a Mandarin program sponsored by the State Department.

Palo Alto, CA.  Mayan Moses was born in Israel, but has lived in Palo Alto, CA for most of her life. She attended Ohlone Elementary School, Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School, and now attends Kehillah Jewish High School, where she serves as a Jewish Life Commissioner on Student Government, co-leads the school’s Moot Beit Din team (moot court based on Jewish law), and is a member of the parliamentary debate team. Mayan belongs to Congregation Kol Emeth, where she participates in the Madrichim Teen Leadership Program. Mayan attended Camp Ramah Northern California for the past two summers. In July of 2023, Mayan raised $2,250 for Bay Area Friendship Circle, where she occasionally volunteers. She also volunteers weekly at the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. Mayan researched, wrote, and illustrated a picture book about Sojourner Truth; a video recording of her narration was shown at elementary schools in Menlo Park and Sacramento. For several years, Mayan fenced recreationally with the Cardinal Fencing program at Stanford University. She speaks English, Hebrew, and Spanish. In her free time, Mayan enjoys studying Russian, reading, roller skating, playing piano, reading Torah, discussing ethical dilemmas, and analyzing films.

San Diego, CA.  Danielle Boodman is a proud member of San Diego’s Congregation Beth Israel (CBI), the largest Reform Jewish synagogue in San Diego. She co-founded CBI’s first teen-led community service program, Justice League. Justice League fosters leadership, sanctions community involvement, and offers a diverse range of volunteer opportunities for CBI teens. Danielle has attended CBI’s Religious School since Kindergarten and is now the school’s Jewish Culinary Teaching Assistant. Additionally, Danielle is a four-time recipient of the Gold Presidential Service Award and a member of San Dieguito’s National Charity League, having volunteered over 750 hours of community service. As a student of Canyon Crest Academy (CCA), Danielle has resided on numerous advisory boards and committees; she currently serves on CCA’s student government. Furthermore, Danielle has also been involved in the Israeli American Council (IAC) Eitanim program since 7th grade, a social entrepreneurship program aimed at encouraging Jewish and Israeli teens to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues through entrepreneurship. This year, Danielle was named the only IAC Eitanim Young Mentor in San Diego. A highly coveted position, the young mentor works closely with industry experts to mentor the teens as they develop their business plans. As an alumnus of the Kumi Anti-Oppression Fellowship, Danielle hopes to continue her work at Moving Traditions by becoming a teen mentor for the Rosh Hodesh program. Rosh Hodesh gives teenage girls the opportunity to gather together and explore Jewish spirituality and culture through a feminist lens while forging deep relationships and connections around their experiences as women along the way.



Denver, CO.  Matthew Abrams is a Junior at George Washington High School in Denver. Deeply fascinated by politics and international relations, Matthew competes in Extemporaneous Speaking, a Speech and Debate event where competitors create a memorized speech responding to a complex political question. The National Speech and Debate Association ranks him as the number 1 competitor in Colorado, and he has had success at many prominent national-level competitions, including championing the Stanford Invitation. Matthew is passionate about enabling more people to interact with politics— he creates informative lectures about current news for his school team and publishes book reviews about fascinating topics in international politics, such as China’s political history and global terror financing, which aid under resourced competitors nationwide. Efforts to improve educational equity are significant to Matthew. He is also a member of the Colorado Gifted and Talented Student Board, the Co-Chair of the Denver Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission- where he serves on the Educational Equity Committee- and via Zoom, he tutors a Ukrainian student affected by the war. Connecting with the human impact of politics has shaped his dream to push the next generation of politicians to prioritize people over greed and power. Matthew enjoys playing on his school’s varsity tennis team, spending time with friends, cooking, and his two dogs.


District of Columbia

Washington D.C.  Alma Bielenberg is a junior at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC. She comes from an interfaith family and attends the reform synagogue Temple Micah, where she teaches Sunday school. Since freshman year, Alma has played on Sidwell’s Varsity Soccer and Varsity Crew teams. Sophomore year, she served on Sidwell’s Honor Committee and currently heads the school’s Sustainable Fashion Club. Alma enjoys backpacking, painting, reading, concerts, and fashion. Her favorite subjects are English and math. Alma looks forward to meeting and learning from the other fellows and the Bronfman staff this summer.

Washington D.C.  Shalvah Lazarus is thrilled to be part of the 2024 Bronfman Cohort. She has been involved in pluralistic Jewish institutions for her whole life, including Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School in Washington, DC, Charles E Smith Jewish Day School in Maryland, and Camp Yavneh in New Hampshire. Shalvah has always been passionate about prayer and leading services and finds that her time at shul is the happiest part of her week. She is comfortable with many forms of Jewish worship; she attends Ohev Sholom, which describes itself as an Open Orthodox shul in DC, but frequently leads the egalitarian minyan at her high school. In her free time, Shalvah plays on her school’s Varsity Baseball and Varsity Basketball teams, spends time outside with friends and family, and reads Harry Potter whenever possible. She is part of the Baseball For All Captains program, which strives to spread the gospel of girls’ and women’s baseball, and the Einayich Yonim program, where Jewish spirituality and text study is blended with environmentalism. She is the editor of Technology, Engineering and Math for her high school’s science journal, for which she recently published an article about declining fish populations in the Puget Sound estuary in the Pacific Northwest. She serves as Vice President of her school’s chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women and Co-President and Founder of Feminist Football Club.

Washington D.C.  Aliza Lesser is currently at CESJDS in the Washington, DC area. She is Modern Orthodox and has attended Jewish day schools for her whole life. She enjoys spending her summers at Camp Stone and the Drisha high school program. She is a member of her school’s JSA, Athletic Training club, Varsity basketball team, and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society fundraising team. She participates in the AJC Leaders for Tomorrow program, teaches at a local Hebrew school, and is a volunteer with Imadi. While living in Israel for 10th grade, she helped develop a program to bring together Israeli and Palestinian teens to run service projects for their communities. She has been learning Daf Yomi for many years, and loves to share her celebrations after finishing a masechet (tractate) with friends, classmates, and occasionally her entire school.



Baltimore, MD.  Jeremy Arking attends Beth Tfiloh High school where he is a member of the Soccer, Golf, Model UN, and Mock Trial teams. He is the head of his school’s environmental club and has helped cultivate two community gardens, including one outside Liberty Grace Church. Additionally, he is an active member of his synagogue, Netivot Shalom, where he regularly leads services.



Lexington, MA.  Matan Lerner lives in Lexington, MA. He attended the Jewish Community Day School of Greater Boston (JCDS) and currently attends the Gann Academy. Matan is a member of Temple Emunah in Lexington where his father serves as rabbi. Matan loves playing on his high school’s cross-country and ultimate frisbee teams. He has been awarded the Massachusetts Bay Independent League All-Star award for the past three cross-country seasons. Matan enjoys playing guitar for Gann Academy’s jazz ensemble and rock band. He has also co-founded his school’s polling club, Poll Heifs. In the summers, Matan attended Camp Ramah in New England where he will serve as a counselor at the end of this summer. Matan is currently a Hartman Teen Fellow.


New Jersey

Bergenfield, NJ.  Mussia Poltorak is a student at Yeshivat Frisch, a Modern Orthodox high school in New Jersey. Mussia is passionate about self-expression; she is poetry editor for her school’s literary magazine, Kalliope, and has won awards on the Debate team. She is rising editor-in-chief of her school’s newspaper, the Paw Print, for which she has written about topics ranging from the movement to de-gender Hebrew to Hasidic education. Mussia also enjoys the sciences: she medaled in multiple events at Science Olympiad, is a member of her school’s math team, and is an FTC Dean’s List semi-finalist for her work as outreach captain of Frisch’s Robotics team. Mussia sequences and analyzes genes through the Waksman Student Scholars Program, under the supervision of Rutgers University, and will publish her sequence to the NCBI database this year. Outside of school, Mussia completed the Civics Unplugged Civic Innovation Fellowship and participated in Girls-Who-Code SIP. She spent this past summer living with a Muslim host family in Indonesia through NSLI-Y, a U.S. Department of State-funded scholarship, which was an enriching experience that allowed her to explore her Jewish identity in a different cultural context.

Cresskill, NJ.  Shirelle Ben-Shahar was born in Israel and lived there until the age of nine when she moved to New York and attended Hannah Senesh Community Day School before going to Mark Twain IS 239 for the Gifted and Talented for junior high. She completed the last two years of junior high and is finishing her high school education at Cresskill High School where she is currently a junior. Shirelle is a dancer; editor in chief of the CHS newspaper, The Communiqué; president of The Great Ideas Club, which she founded; class representative to the student council; and has been volunteering at the Guttenberg Center for Special Services at the Kaplen JCC since her sophomore year.

Glen Ridge, NJ.  Elana Farbiarz lives in New Jersey and attends the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City. She takes the train to school and finds deep fulfillment in making friends along the way. Elana is passionate about school. She is the Programming Vice President of her High School, a leader on her 2023 State Championship Winning Mock Trial Team, a Varsity Basketball Player, a writer for her school’s newspaper, and a member of her school’s Jewish acapella group. She enjoys studying Arabic, History, and Talmud. Learning from her teachers and with her classmates is one of Elana’s greatest joys. She spends her mornings in either the Egalitarian Minyan or the Orthodox Sephardic Minyan and enjoys both very much. Elana comes from a traditional Conservative family where she is grateful to have been raised with a strong love for Judaism. She has spent the past summers backpacking at summer camp and feels very blessed to be going to Israel this summer.

Montclair, NJ.  Shayna Rudoren is a Junior at Montclair High School in Montclair, NJ. She is a Madricha at Temple Ner Tamid, a Reform synagogue, where she helps 6th grade students prepare for their b’nai mitzvot. She has been working at the Manna Food Depot in Bloomfield NJ for four years, and has made lots of art to decorate its walls. At school, Shayna is part of the Civics and Government Institute, where she practices debate in parliamentary procedure as a senator, and works on the institute’s newspaper and news show. She is an active member of her school’s feminist club, Model UN/Congress, backstage theater organization, and is Co-President of the Jewish Student Union. Shayna is an artist and spent the past two summers studying at NYU and the Maryland Institute College of Art.


New York

Bronx, NY.  Batya Sperling-Milner is a junior at SAR High School living in Riverdale, New York. She is an active member of her school community, participating in Model UN, track, student leadership, and after-school Torah learning. Batya is passionate about the intersection of Torah and disability justice and runs a disability discussion club at her school, as well as a mentorship program for visually impaired students in NYC. When she’s not in school, you can find her reading, tandem biking, and spending time with her friends and family outdoors.

Brooklyn, NY.  Abel Weiner Bellows is a junior at Stuyvesant High School. He is a current Hartman Teen Fellow and assistant teacher at Congregation Beth Elohim’s Yachad. Abel is an active member of his parliamentary debate team, SING! musical theatre competition costume crew member and a volunteer lifeguard. He plays the fiddle, knits voraciously, and loves to read and swim.

Brooklyn, NY.  Samantha Ryba is an honors student at the Yeshivah of Flatbush High School in Brooklyn, NY who is passionate about solving issues effecting modern Jewish teens in her community. For three years, she’s been an editor of her school’s award-winning newspaper, The Phoenix, and on Saturdays, she enjoys visiting her community’s senior citizen center. After attending Genesis at Brandeis, a summer seminar focused on Jewish learning and identity building for teens, she developed a greater appreciation for Jewish learning with peers of different religious backgrounds. Samantha looks forward to joining this year’s Bronfman Fellowship cohort and engaging in meaningful conversations while exploring the rich culture of Israel.

New York, NY.  Leo Lewittes Eigen is a student at the Ramaz School in New York City. He is co-editor-in-chief of Ramaz’s literary magazine, Parallax, and its Jewish studies publication, Likrat Shabbat. Leo is also a student ambassador, and is active in model congress, newspaper, college bowl, and peer tutoring. He spent ten summers at Camp Ramah (Nyack + Poconos), frequently attends the Teen Minyan at Park East Synagogue, and is a founding member of the Altneu Synagogue. Leo is an award-winning playwright whose works have been staged in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia. His play Lox will be produced as a short film. Beyond his writing, Leo is an avid NBA fan. He wrote an original research paper on the history of player empowerment in professional basketball and presented it at Queens University Belfast’s American studies conference, in addition to several other academic conferences. Leo is currently a student fellow for the Manhattan Borough President, Mark D. Levine, and was a teen fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

New York, NY. Judah Goren is a junior at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx. He grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan before moving to Harlem/Washington Heights. Judah plays piano and drums in his school’s jazz bands and plays soccer on the varsity team; and he has worked on the campaigns of several political candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Jamaal Bowman, and Cori Bush. Judah has attended the Havurah school run by Jerry Raik, and he sees community, justice, and empathy as key Jewish values.

New York, NY.  Nava Litt attends The Bronx High School of Science in the Bronx, NY. She is on the Varsity Flag Football Team and the Varsity Bowling team, a member of the Moot Court and Mock Trial team, is learning to play Bridge, and is the Chair of her synagogue’s teen council. This past summer was her CIT summer at Camp Yavneh, where she loved lifeguarding and planning activities for younger kids, she also worked in the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History organizing and preserving archival documents.



Seattle, WA.  Simon Alpren is a Junior at University Prep High School in Seattle, WA. He plays cello in a string quartet and his school orchestra. He also plays guitar in a band he started with his classmates. Simon has enjoyed being on staff for his school’s newspaper, a facilitator of his school’s community conversations program, a leader of Asian and Pacific Islander affinity groups, and the head of his school’s chapter of “Glamour Gals,” which brings high school students and elderly together through activities such as makeovers and Mah Jong. Simon is Chinese and Jewish and is grateful that he has had the opportunity to explore both sides of his heritage. Simon was introduced to Chinese culture through time spent living in Taiwan and through his relatives and Chinese teacher. Simon became more engaged with his Jewish heritage last summer when he went to Israel. Staying in Jerusalem, visiting the Western Wall, and taking part in Havdalah services in the park on warm evenings had a deep impact on Simon and gave way to a strong desire to learn more about Judaism and Jewish history. Simon decided to apply for the Bronfman Fellowship in hopes of deepening his relationship with Judaism and finding community. Simon enjoyed the application process because it was an opportunity to reflect on his relationship with Judaism, as well as the experiences and hobbies that he feels are most important to his identity.



Middlebury, VT.  Leila Stillman Utterback is from Middlebury, Vermont. She loves spending time in nature, backpacking, biking and skiing. She is involved in her small Jewish community’s Havurah, teaching Hebrew School, volunteering and leading services. Her mom is a Rabbi and works as the Jewish Chaplain at Middlebury College. Leila spent her 10th grade year living in Jerusalem with her family, attending the International Baccalaureate program at Boyar High School. She is interested in having meaningful conversations about what Israel means for American Jews and creating spaces where everyone’s story is valid. She is passionate about climate justice, and is on the board of The Jewish Youth Climate Movement. Leila has spent the past ten summers at Eden Village Camp, playing guitar, farming, and leading songs during oneg shabbat. She’s excited to listen to different perspectives, reconnect with Jerusalem and build a strong community during Bronfman!

Thetford, VT.  Isaac Yukica is a junior at Thetford Academy in Thetford, Vermont. He spent just over a year in Hebrew School at the Upper Valley Jewish Community before having his Bar Mitzvah with his twin brother. He continues his involvement in the synagogue through bi-weekly participation in a youth group with his peers. At Thetford Academy, he is a high-honor roll student interested primarily in English and film study. He co-founded the Thetford Academy school newspaper and directed, wrote, and filmed a fifteen-minute movie about life as a rural high schooler. Outside of the classroom, Isaac is a varsity athlete, competing for the school’s alpine ski and track and field teams. He earned his black belt in Okinawan karate in 2021. He also has a background in theater, performing in various roles at the local Northern Stage and as the lead of Thetford Academy’s rendition of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit.



Appleton, WI.  Talia Roselaar is an incoming senior at Appleton North High School, a company member with Makaroff Youth Ballet, and the concertmaster of the Fox Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra. She delights in using and expanding the scope of language through poetry in English and conversation in Spanish and French (although she also indulges in Spanish poetry and English conversation, of course). Beyond attending and volunteering at her local synagogue, Moses Montefiore Congregation, she is eager to join a larger, more diverse group of Jews as a Bronfman Fellow.