Each of our four Fellows, a select group of graduating high school seniors residing in the Los Angeles area, receives a $10,000 annual college scholarship. The Brawerman Fellows are chosen based on academic strength, financial need, and a commitment to leadership, community service, and Jewish engagement. During their college years, the Fellows build leadership skills and deepen their connection to Jewish life.
The Geri & Richard Brawerman Leadership Institute was established through a multi-million dollar gift from community leader Geri Brawerman on behalf of herself and her late husband Richard, making it possible for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles to develop and sustain a talent pool of engaged Jewish young leaders in perpetuity.
“We are grateful for Geri’s visionary gift and proud to provide the leadership development and Jewish identity-building experiences for our Brawerman Fellows,” said Jay Sanderson, President & CEO, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “This is just one of the ways we are making sure our community will be in good hands for our children and grandchildren.”
For more information on the Brawerman Fellows, contact:
Click on the Fellows’ names below to view their updates.
Class of 2022
Jonah GoldbergHigh School: Calabasas High School
College: Washington University in St. Louis
Major: English and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow? Being a Brawerman Fellow means that the Jewish Federation believes in me and my potential. It’s an incredible feeling to have someone recognize the academic and service-oriented effort I’ve put in in the past, and then not congratulate me but urge me to keep working and go further. Having the backing of the Brawerman Fellowship has inspired me to immerse myself in Jewish life on campus and always be looking out for opportunities to make a difference.
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship: During my first retreat, Gamal Palmer, Senior VP of Leadership Development visited us to speak about leadership styles and values as well as guide us through activities designed to show us the qualities we respect and dislike in other leaders and potential steps and milestones in pursuing our own projects. Everyone kept an open mind and took the program seriously, even as we were literally shaping each other into the postures and mannerisms of the leaders we admired and loathed, and I developed a much greater appreciation for how others perceive us and how to involve others in a project.
What have you received from the Brawerman Fellowship thus far? Besides the financial assistance, the Brawerman Fellowship has provided me with a network of mentors and friends. As I begin looking into internships and service programs, everyone else has been more than willing to discuss their experiences and make suggestions. During our first retreat, we also had the opportunity to complete an escape room and volunteer sending school supplies to underprivileged children, and spending this time with the other fellows has made them all outstanding role models for me as I started college.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship? Everything. As I was always one of the most passionate and motivated people in my high school friend group, my entire worldview shifted getting to meet and talk with students only a couple years older than me yet who have done so much. My experience so far has already given me several practical lessons in leadership, an understanding of how organizations like the Jewish Federation operate and what I can do to help strengthen Jewish communities, and a constant undercurrent of support and inspiration from Orly Frank, Director of the Brawerman Fellowship, the Federation, and all of the fellows.
What are you involved with on your campus? Next semester, I will join my university’s Hillel Leadership Council as the interfaith chair, and hopefully as a First Year Students of Hillel board member as well. I am also involved in two Jewish text-learning classes; one of these, Chevruta, consisting of weekly discussions with a partner, has become the highlight of my week due to our many tangents and my own growing understanding of Judaism, and my partner and I are now close friends outside of Hillel. I also write and edit for the university’s newspaper as well as its literary magazine, and am a member of the Swing Dance team and the comic book club.
Noga ShlapoberskyHigh School: LACES
College: Barnard College, Columbia University
Major: Undeclared, but thinking of a major in History and a minor in Political Science
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow? Being a Brawerman Fellow has allowed me to be part of a community of bright, Jewish young adults who support one another’s education. It means so much to me to be able to learn from my peers and to be encouraged by the Jewish Federation to take initiative and be a leader on campus.
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship: A meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship has been the social justice project the fellows partook in at the last retreat. We volunteered with an organization that provides school supplies and other essential tools to children who lack access to them, and working with my peers to better our society was a powerful shared experience.
What have you received from the Brawerman Fellowship thus far? The Brawerman Fellowship has given me the tools and opportunities to take full advantage of my freshmen year and be a proactive member of the Jewish community both on campus and in Los Angeles. Not only is my education being significantly supported financially, but I’ve gained leadership skills from seminars and have become part of a vibrant community with which I can discuss and learn from how to be an active member on campus. Additionally, I’ve received the support of the Federation to complete community service abroad; an opportunity I am so grateful for and am looking forward to.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship? I am sincerely thankful for having an ongoing connection to an impressive and supportive Jewish community through the Brawerman Fellowship. I feel grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn from other students and to have this resource throughout my college years. It has been so important to me throughout my first semester to know I have a network of inspiring college students to turn to as well as supportive adults which encourage me to be an active member on campus, to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way, and to remain an active member in Jewish communities.
What are you involved with on your campus? Although I’ve only been on campus for one semester, I’ve found that there are endless opportunities for me to get involved. I’ve joined the Roosevelt Institute, a political think-tank on campus which holds policy-based debate as well as publishes a policy journal. Through Roosevelt I took an active role in “Columbia University Votes,” a student formed and student run organization which in the months leading up to the 2018 midterm election ran a very successful campaign to increase voter turnout on campus and provide students with resources to make sure everyone’s ballot was cast. In addition to political work, I joined the Jewish Activist Collective which is a network of social justice oriented Jewish students. Through this organization I have attended multiple Shabbat dinners in which we discuss Jewish history and Jewish life in America, as well as celebrate the end of the week with a caring Jewish community.
Michael StarkHigh School: Valley Torah High School
College: Yeshiva University
Major: Business Management
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow? Being a Brawerman fellow means committing oneself to make the world a better place. It means consciously making an effort to be a role model and a good citizen, to give back to society more than one takes. It means promoting honesty, principle, and honor, all attributes of integrity, as guiding forces. It means being an unapologetic good Jew that shows the world what it means to be a member of the tribe. I wear the Braerman Fellowship award as a badge of honor and responsibility. Being a Brawerman fellow means consistently proving that I am deserving of such an award, not only by becoming a better leader and person but by inspiring those around me to be better as well. Being a Brawerman fellow means committing to pay forward the opportunity for others to make a difference.
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship: I am new to the Brawerman Fellowship family. This being my first year, I found the summer retreat such a meaningful experience. I had the opportunity to meet, bond, and learn from the other fellows. The skills we gained have helped me as I entered college this year for the first time, where I have taken the lessons I learned and incorporated them in leadership roles in clubs and campus activities.
What have you received from the Brawerman Fellowship thus far? I have learned the value of being a “Mentch” and that to be a true leader is to realize the greatness in others. The experience gained from the first summer retreat has been instrumental in how I view my future and my college life. I have also gained an amazing group of friends among the other fellows.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship? I am thankful for the leadership opportunities and training during our retreats. I am especially thankful for the support structure and mentorship that the Brawerman Fellowship has in place for its fellows, which helps set our trajectory to be successful, giving, and caring leaders. I am also most thankful for the grant which allowed me to afford a Jewish College.
What are you involved with our your campus? I am involved in many different clubs and organizations on campus. Most notably, I became a member of Students Teachers And Researchers Tech (START), an organization that aims to reach elementary school children who lack resources to explore scientific and technological concepts to their fullest. We run weekly programming in inner-city neighborhoods to expose children to advanced and relevant science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs through hands-on lessons. We work with the children in small groups, giving each child a lot of attention. Additionally, I became the PR Coordinator for the Yeshiva University Political Action Committee (YUPAC) Club as well as the Israel Club on campus. Being part of these clubs allows me to continue my passion for Israel advocacy while expanding my experience in marketing and PR. Finally, the Yeshiva University freshman class has elected me as their sole representative in the Yeshiva University Student Government.
Zoey WeismanHigh School: Notre Dame High School
College: University of Pennsylvania
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship? The summer retreat was been my most meaningful experience with the fellowship. I was leaving for Penn a few days later, so hearing the experiences of the other fellows and getting advice and support for them comforted me, calming my anxieties about leaving and starting college. The retreat as a whole reinforced the idea that I had a new community and support system I could now rely on.
What have you received from the Brawerman Fellowship thus far? From the Fellowship I have received a community of people that have been incredibly supportive and welcoming. I have also gained a means of embracing my Judaism, especially here at Penn.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship? I am incredibly thankful for the support in my academic career and opportunities I have at Penn. The fellowship has provided me a greater chance to connect with the Jewish community and has further encouraged me to be involved with that community here at Penn.
What are you involved with on your campus? At Penn, I am in two branches of the International Affairs Association (IAA), one of which hosts an annual Model United Nations conferences for college debate teams. I am a general member of Penn Dems as well as a photographer and copy editor for The Daily Pennsylvania. I also work as an office assistant in the office of the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Penn.
Class of 2021
Yoni BenzacarHigh School: Oakwood School
College: Emory University
Major: Political Science
My most meaningful Brawerman experience was spending time with my fellows the night of our retreat. We engaged in personal conversations about college, giving me valuable insight from people who just went through something that was so anxiety-provoking to me. Being a Brawerman fellow has encouraged me to be more in touch with my Jewish identity, reminding me that I always have a community and family wherever I can find Judaism. Throughout my few months of being a Brawerman Fellow, I now understand I have an unwavering family that I can go to about anything and I will always be met with love and support.
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow? To me being a Brawerman Fellow means that someone believes in me enough to significantly sponsor my education. I therefore feel responsible to uphold a higher moral ground and to always help the people in my communities who need the same support I receive; whether that be the Jewish community, or the greater community of Los Angeles.
Rachel HarrisHigh School: Cleveland High School Humanities Magnet
College: Georgetown University
Major: Government and Women and Gender Studies
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship: Although I have only been a Brawerman Fellow for a short time, the conversations and insights I have gained from the other fellows are incomparable. I’d have to say the most meaningful experience I’ve had as a Fellow thus far is having the opportunity to listen to such intelligent and informative speakers, and then engage in discourse with my peers. Each fellow is so knowledgeable and has already helped me in developing my identity as a Jewish woman. The sense of camaraderie and respect I feel among the fellows is uncanny to any I’ve ever felt before. The sense of Jewish mentorship and community has not always been very strong in my day-to-day life, and the Brawerman fellowship has provided me with just that.
How has the Brawerman fellowship impacted your experience at school? Since I am attending a traditionally Catholic school, I was originally very apprehensive as to how I would find my place as a Jewish woman. The Brawerman fellowship has not only given me confidence to seek out my Jewish identity on campus, but it has provided me with such a strong support system in all aspects of my academic career back home. The Brawerman fellowship has allowed me to create a network of relationships and opportunities that will encourage my academic success and allow me to grow as a student and as a person during my four years at Georgetown.
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow? To be a Brawerman Fellow means to understand the duties and responsibilities associated with being a Jewish youth. It is more than just being a Jewish college student, but instead one who uses their Jewish identity and ideals to better their community and those around them. To be a Brawerman Fellow means to use the resources and support provided by the fellowship to better yourself and others.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship? Coming from a single parent household, this fellowship allowed me to go to the school of my dreams. Aside from the monetary aspect of the fellowship, I am so thankful to the Brawerman Fellowship for reintroducing me to my Jewish identity and sparking my curiosity about the Jewish community and my place within it.
Britt JacobsonHigh School: Milken Community High School
Major: Global Studies
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship: Getting advice from older Fellows and being inspired to one day do all of the incredible things they do.
What have you received from the Brawerman Fellowship thus far? Incredible tips on everything from internships to classes to Jewish life on campus to jobs to friendship! My current job came from a suggestion from an older fellow.
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow: Being a Brawerman Fellow means having all the opportunities you could ever want and need available to you, and knowing to appreciate that. It means that you have the passion and the drive to make your dreams a reality, with the support system to do so.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship: You are REQUIRED to go on some incredible programs…for FREE. I am being “forced” to travel the world, learn about the Jewish community in Los Angeles, and connect with the leader within myself. Best requirements ever!
Joshua ZommickHigh School: Valencia High School
College: University of California Los Angeles
Major: Material Science Engineering
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship: Connecting with everyone at the first Fall retreat blew my mind. Not only were we given the opportunities to meet and talk with some amazing professionals, but we were also able to bond and create a community out of the 15 of us in the Brawerman Fellowship.
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow? To be a Brawerman Fellow is to be more than a Jewish leader; it is to be a student that will work his or her hardest to change the world. We are the next generation of adults in the workplace and as a Brawerman Fellow, I have become more confident to push myself farther and farther to become a better version of myself. A normal fellow will be handed adversity, while a Brawerman Fellow will be given that same adversity in addition to a family that helps overcome those difficulties with you.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship? I am thankful for everything the Brawerman Fellowship has given me and will continue to give me. From unique experiences such as internships across the globe to the blessing of not having student debt due to college tuition, I will forever be grateful and thankful to the Brawerman Fellowship.
Class of 2020
Nathan BentolilaHigh School: YULA Boys
College: UC Berkeley
At Berkeley, I am involved in a variety of different activities and student groups. I am involved in Chabad, Tikvah Students for Israel, Undergraduate research, IM sports, and other engineering student groups. The most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship has been the friends I have made through the fellowship. I have gained a lot for the guidance and mentorship of other fellows. The Brawerman fellowship has allowed me to be part of a network of future Jewish leaders across the US.
Zoe KrutHigh School: Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES)
College: Roanoke College
Major: Biochemistry and Public Health Studies
The Brawerman Fellowship has acted as my main connection to my Judaism while I am at school. The Brawerman fellows keep me grounded to my Jewish roots, despite the fact that I am thousands of miles away and only see the them twice a year.
The Brawerman Fellowship was responsible for connecting me with agencies who were able to put me on the best possible Birthright trip; I had been to Israel before, and was afraid I wasn’t going to get the same experience as first-time Israel travelers would. The trip I was placed on was exactly the experience I needed to reconnect with the State of Israel.
Being a Brawerman Fellow is one of the greatest honors I could have ever received. It has allowed me to grow within my own Jewish identity as well as take part in the growth of others’. I am most thankful for the connections that the Brawerman Fellowship has afforded me, and the lifelong lessons that I have taken from fellow, young Jewish leaders.
Daniel MelnickHigh School: Albert Einstein Academy
College: University of California, San Diego
Major: Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution
The most meaningful experience I’ve had with the Fellowship was being welcomed by such an impressive group of people. It means a lot and gives a great feeling of community, which is especially important when transitioning to college. The Fellowship has definitely motivated me to be more active on campus than I might have been otherwise. It has given me the confidence to seek out and take advantage of the various opportunities offered to me. The Brawerman Fellowship has helped me solidify my Jewish identity. I am much more comfortable being an ambassador for my faith and my community. Being a Brawerman Fellow means being an integral part of the Jewish future.
I am thankful for being connected to a robust network of internship and travel opportunities that I will remain connected to, even after my college career.
Victoria SolkovitsHigh School: Cleveland High School Humanities Magnet
Major: Political Science and Human Biology and Society
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow? The honor of being a Brawerman Fellow is not one that I have taken lightly. While I have always felt supported by the Jewish community, the encouragement and development I have received from the fellowship has helped me in ways I never could have imagined. I have been able to grow and develop as a Jewish college student, I have found new ways to pursue social justice and active change, and I have had a support system in the Federation and my peers all throughout the way. To me, being a Brawerman Fellow means continuing to explore one’s Jewish identity, learning and promoting strong social values, and giving back to our community in as many ways as we can to be the strong Jewish future.
Class of 2019
Eric BergerHigh School: Agoura High School
College: Indiana University
Major: Marketing Major
My most meaningful Brawerman Experience: My first summer retreat helped shape the entire mindset I had going into college, and continues to guide me to make the most of my experience at school. Meeting the older fellows who were so ambitious and confident gave me a lot of inspiration.
I’ve learned the way that Jewish values can be incorporated into many of my passions at school. The leadership development at the retreats gave me valuable skills to be more equipped to take advantage of opportunities at school. Hearing about the experience of other fellows help to give me ideas about what my campus might offer and where I might thrive.
I’ve met some good friends who I genuinely believe will be changing the world in only a few short years. I have gotten a support network that makes college so much less intimidating and also pushes me to take advantage of every moment. I also have a way of staying connected Jewishly that fits the growth and maturity that comes with making your way through college.
What does Being a Brawerman Fellow mean to you? Being a Brawerman Fellow means that you are trusted by a loving and powerful community to be a leader. It gives me a sense of purpose, knowing that I am at school to grow and build skills that will allow me to give support and guidance to others in the future. It is also a reminder that whatever success I reach at school, I have a duty to pay it forward to those who need it.
I’m thankful for the opportunities made possible by the scholarship. I’m thankful for the network I have built; one that isn’t competitive or superficial but genuine and supportive. I am also thankful that I have a Jewish anchor in a time where so much is changing for me.
David Bar-OrHigh School: New Community Jewish High School (deToledo High School)
College: Tulane University
Major: Engineering Physics
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow? It almost feels as if the entire Jewish Federation is behind us, supporting our success through college and affording us resources to do so. Being a part of the Brawerman Fellowship, I am able to attend incredible annual retreats consisting of useful leadership training, design thinking sessions, and fun workshops. The retreats have become something I look forward to year-round because I’m able to build strong relationships with the other fellows. As a fellow, I am also able to travel abroad two different times in my college experience. So far, I have attended a summer birthright trip and I plan to explore another place of the world for my next trip.
How has the Brawerman fellowship impacted your experience at school? While participating in the Brawerman fellowship I feel encouraged to step up to leadership roles on campus, especially if it’s Jewish oriented.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship: I’m grateful to be included in the mentorship of the Brawerman Cohorts. I feel very lucky to get together twice a year at the retreats to spend time with extremely driven and bright people. I am also very thankful for the yearly scholarship; my college experience would not have been the same otherwise.
Shachar Cohen-HodosHigh School: Alexander Hamilton High School
College: List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University
Major: Human Rights/Bible
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship. My most meaningful Brawerman experience was my first retreat during our lunch break. I was excited about all the information I was learning and all the training I had received, but it was at this break when I realized what a special community I was joining. The old fellows were so excited to share with me their tips for college and they wanted to hear about my interests. They gave me advice about moving away from home, what kinds of dorm room accessories I needed, and ways to develop relationships with professors and deans that would help me in my career. I feel so lucky to have such a caring and supportive community to lean on like the Brawerman Fellows
How has the Brawerman fellowship impacted your experience at school: Firstly, because of the financial aid, I am able to attend my dream school. I would be having a completely different college experience had I not been awarded the Brawerman fellowship. Secondly, the leadership training I’ve received through our bi-annual retreats has deeply impacted my leadership roles on and off campus.
What have you received from the Brawerman Fellowship thus far? Over the years I’ve gained networking and professional skills that range from resume building to organizational strategies and speaking tactics. I’ve also made important connections to the Jewish professional world and I’ve gained a network of smart, innovative, and driven students from around the country to bounce ideas off of and lean on for support.
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow: To be a Brawerman Fellow means that you have a constant support system. It means that you can take time to develop your leadership and professional skills with a group of people with diverse interests and passions but with a shared sense of commitment and drive.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship: I am endlessly grateful for the constant support from the Jewish Federation, my cohort, the other fellows and of course the financial support that’s allowed me to pursue the education of my dreams without additional financial stress. The three years I’ve spent in college have been full of transitions, changes, and novelty, Brawerman has been a constant grounding presence in my college career and these past years would have been incredibly different without it.
Ariel SilvermanHigh School: Santa Monica High School
College: Brown University
Major: Health and Human Biology and Anthropology
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship: My most meaningful experiences have included the retreats. It is always such a great reminder that there is a group of other amazing fellows that all care so much about each other, and it’s so cool to watch everyone grow and thrive each time we are reunited.
How has the Brawerman fellowship impacted your experience at school: I wouldn’t go to Brown if it weren’t for this fellowship, so I am so thankful for this opportunity to be at my dream school.
What have you gotten out of the Brawerman Fellowship thus far: Community, guidance, support, leadership skills, confidence!
Class of 2018
Benjamin KriegsmanHigh School: Milken Community High School
College: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship. My most meaningful experiences with the Brawerman Fellowship has been social activities with the fellows after a long and productive retreat day. This downtime allows us to network with each other in a more social and relaxed environment and I love to learn about other Brawerman fellows’ lives in more depth. We often find ways to help each other meet our goals and that’s something I really value about being a fellow in this amazing program.
How has the Brawerman fellowship impacted your experience at school: There have been times where I rely on the skills I have groomed and connections I have made being a Brawerman fellow to help me out in different aspects of university life. I have been able to use the skills we learn in workshops when networking for opportunities around campus and in the workplace.
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow? Being a Brawerman Fellows means being endowed with the knowledge that people other than yourself believe in you and in your potential. The Brawerman Fellow title comes with so much honor in the sense that you are being recognized early on as a person of value in the Jewish community. This value is not monetary, however. This value is bigger than that. The value that is recognized in Brawerman Fellows is the value associated with leadership, compassion and hope.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship? I am thankful for the Brawerman Fellowship because of the resources I have had access to in order to further my passions. Because of the Brawerman Fellowship, I have been able to explore my professional interests in a way I never thought possible.
Talia ShovalHigh School: CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts
College: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Major: Environmental Health Sciences Minor: Neuroscience
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship: I was given the opportunity to volunteer with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) program Project Ten in Mexica. I designed public health campaigns and taught first aid in Spanish alongside Israeli volunteers and Jewish volunteers from around the world.
How has the Brawerman fellowship impacted your experience at school? The Brawerman Fellowship has made me a confident Jew in college. Having this fellowship has encouraged me to not only reach out to my Jewish community at UNC, but to become involved with the Jewish community of Chapel Hill as well. I have learned what type of leader I am and how to implement it in my life. It has made me feel connected with the global Jewish community and connected me to Jews from around the country and around the world.
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow: To be a Brawerman Fellow is to embrace the type of leader you are and exercise it during your university experience.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship: I could not be more grateful for Geri Brawerman’s extreme generosity and The Jewish Federaton’s Brawerman Fellowship. Without it, I definitely would not have been able to attend the prestigious university of my choice without a financial burden following me afterwards. I am also so thankful I had the opportunity to travel internationally twice during my time as a Brawerman Fellow, which has provided me with some of my most cherished memories and valuable life experience.
Guy TopfHigh School: El Camino Real Charter High School
College: University of Southern California (USC)
Major: Business Administration, International Relations with an emphasis in Global Business
Most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship: My most meaningful experience with the Brawerman Fellowship was having the opportunity to travel to Israel and intern there for almost 3 months as part of the Onward Israel Program. This program allowed me to explore living in Israel while still gaining extremely valuable, hands-on work experience that I otherwise would not have received in the US. I had the privilege to learn, grow, and continue my professional development in an environment that I was proud to call home.
How has the Brawerman fellowship impacted your experience at school: The Brawerman Fellowship has provided me with a plethora of leadership training sessions, education seminars, trips and conferences that have helped develop my skills as a leader, both within the Jewish community and on-campus in general. This fellowship has enhanced my connection to the Greater LA Jewish community, and has prepared me to take on certain leadership roles, including Student President of USC Hillel.
What does it mean to be a Brawerman Fellow: To be a Brawerman Fellow is a great honor, and carries with it a lot of meaning. It means that you desire to be surrounded by some of the community’s top talent, and are always willing to become increasingly motivated. As a Brawerman Fellow, I have had the opportunity to interact with various groups of incredible students who have all pushed me to constantly achieve more, and I have never taken that for granted.
What are you thankful for from the Brawerman Fellowship: I am thankful for the Brawerman Fellowship for constantly showing me the importance of the Jewish community and its impact, and how you can involve the Jewish community in anything and everything you decide to do. The fellowship has taught me the ways to bridge the gap between the various communities you may involve yourself in, and the ultimate impact that one individual is able to have. Without the Brawerman Fellowship, I would not have been able to accomplish all that I have to date, and for that I will forever be grateful.
Class of 2017
Jackson BlockHigh School: Hart High School
College: UC Berkeley, Business Administration major
Current Position: Business Development Associate at The Bread Project (a social enterprise empowering individuals living in poverty with employment & commercial baking skills)
The Brawerman Fellowship was a pivotal professional and personal development program. It afforded me the opportunity to travel the world, advance my understanding of social justice issues, and explore what it means to be a 21st century Jewish leader. I am forever grateful to Geri & Richard Brawerman and the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles for propelling my career & providing a wonderful community experience.
Samantha PageHigh School: North Hollywood Highly Gifted Magnet
College: Smith College, American Studies major
Current Position: Program Assistant in Publications/Research and Academic Program, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA
My most meaningful experience with Brawerman was gaining an understanding of how different “being Jewish” can be on (and within) different college campuses. It was important to me to see that all fellows have different Jewish experiences in undergrad and those even change within each fellow’s time in school. Witnessing how other Brawerman fellows engaged with their communities and shaped them over time empowered me to have a variety of Jewish experiences in college and become more active on my campus as time went on.
Chelsea RapoportHigh School: Flintridge Preparatory School
College: University of Chicago, Psychology major with Honors, minor in Human Rights
Current Position: Organizational Research Assistant at UC San Diego Psychiatry Department
The Brawerman Fellowship has meant the world to me. It gave me a permanent family that kept me accountable in fostering my college Jewish identity. The other fellows always made me feel so supported and like I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to. It also provided me with incredible opportunities that altered the course of my education and career pursuits. The fellowship supported my internship through Onward Israel LA, and I worked at a minority workers’ rights organization. Due to this experience, I added a minor in Human Rights and dedicated more time to becoming informed about global human rights abuses. I used my experiences as an incentive to write a paper on African asylum seekers in Israel, which ultimately won the best undergraduate human rights essay award at my school’s human rights center. Without my experience as a fellow, I would not have the passions I have, the commitment I have to continuing my Jewish involvement, and the community that still supports me on a daily basis. I cannot thank Geri Brawerman, The Jewish Federation and Orly Frank enough for everything.
Alyssa ScottHigh School: Oak Park High School
College: University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), Communications major and minor in Education.
Current Position: Working at a PR firm in Hollywood.
Since graduation, I have moved back to the LA area and am currently working at a PR firm in Hollywood, which although is not a Jewish organization, does have positive ties and clients within the Israeli and Jewish communities. I will forever look back fondly on my four years of college and the immense role that the Brawerman Fellowship played within those years, as it motivated me to gain the leadership qualities and Jewish identity that I am so proud of today.
Class of 2016
Josh CahnHigh School: Culver City High School
College: University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor's degree in History and a minor in Jewish Studies.
Current Position: I am now living in Washington, D.C. working in various environments such as with AIPAC (the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) combining my interests in history and politics, new media and filmmaking, and Judaism.
I am grateful for The Brawerman Fellowship encouraging me to explore my Jewish roots and find a strong connection to Judaism. I am so grateful for every opportunity the Brawerman Fellowship presented me with which have all had incredible impacts on my life today and my day-to-day thoughts and experiences both professionally and socially.
Leigh EvansHigh School: Milken Community High School
College: University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology and a minor in Education.
Current Job: Research Assistant at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
For me, the Brawerman Fellowship meant the difference between surviving and thriving. My financial situation going into college would have necessitated that I work enough hours to completely support myself on top of going to school full-time. That would have meant far less time for academic engagement and extremely limited extracurricular opportunities. Instead, thanks to the Brawerman Fellowship, I was able to graduate with highest college honors, receive summa cum laude in my major, take part in countless student organizations, live in three other countries (India, Scotland & South Africa), and complete an undergraduate honors thesis. My college experience had a monumental impact not only on my professional and academic opportunities, but more importantly on my health and happiness. The lifelong friends and mentors I was gifted, along with the personally tailored development opportunities offered to me, made the Brawerman Fellowship one of the most defining experiences of my life.
Mitchell HandlerHigh school: Venice High School
School: UC Berkeley, with a double major in political science and media studies
Current Job: Advocacy coordinator at the Cal Alumni Association
Even with college behind me, I’m extremely thankful for the Brawerman Fellowship and the connections I’ve made through it. I have formed lifelong friendships, and have visited other fellows (and friends!) across the country in Boston and Chicago, plus one of my roommates is a former Brawerman fellow too. The Fellowship provided me the chance to stay connected with Los Angeles and the Jewish community, no matter where I am, and I’m grateful for all it has given me.
Evan LowellHigh School: Cleveland Humanities Magnet High School
College: Boston University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering
Current Job: I work as a mechanical design engineer on aerospace sensors and switches at Sensata Technologies while simultaneously pursuing a Master's of Science in Computer Science through Georgia Institute of Technology.
Beyond mitigating the high costs of my education, the Brawerman Fellowship was incredibly important in developing my leadership skills. The incredible experiences I shared with all of the other brilliant, ambitious, and outgoing fellows helped to shape me into who I am today.
Harmony RichmanHigh School: Santa Monica High School
College: Barnard College, Columbia University majoring in Sociology and Race & Ethnic Studies
Current Position: I've been working in East Harlem where I am the Employment Development Manager at Getting Out & Staying Out, a job-readiness reentry organization for justice-involved young men across New York City.
The Brawerman Fellowship was instrumental in providing the resources for me to have the opportunity to pursue a career in civil rights and human rights, and also connected me with lifelong friends who have been a constant support system throughout my endeavors.