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:
Brawerman@JewishLA.org

Click on the Fellows’ names below to view their updates.

 

Announcing the Class of 2026 Fellows!

Class of 2026

Sophie Berman

(she/her)
High School: Westlake High School
College: UC Berkeley
Intended Major: Microbial Biology

Involvements: National Honors Society, Jewish Youth Climate Movement (JYCM), Fossil Free CA, Religious Action Center’s Civic Engagement Fellow, Westlake High EcoSchool Club, Teens4Democracy, Conejo Valley Unified Online Tutoring Program, Youth Commission’s Environmental Subcommittee, Westlake High School Dance Team, and Camp Alonim.

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowships?
For the next four years, my hopes for participating in the fellowship range from expanding my dedication to Jewish service and learning more about my myself, my community, and my roots. I am excited to learn more about effective leadership, organizing skills, and communications and to take on increasingly visible and impactful
roles in the movements I support.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
I aspire to continue my work with both Jewish and secular climate organizations to fight for legislative changes for a cleaner, more sustainable, and equitable future. Additionally, I look forward to growing as a leader both in my local Jewish community including campus life such as Hillel, and also on a larger, global scale bringing the concept of Tikkun Olam to our national environmental debate.

Emma Doner

(She/her)
High School: Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES)
College: UCLA
Intended Major: Cognitive Science

Involvements: Jewish Student Union, LACES College Peer Counselor, LACES Homeroom Leader, Jazz Ensemble Saxophonist, and Music Department Teacher Aid, Friendship Circle of Los Angeles, Cedars Sinai Medical Center Teen Volunteer, Teen Talk Intern, and Camp Bob Waldorf.

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowships?

As a Brawerman fellow, I look forward to joining this community where I will be able to meet students with similar values, explore my Jewish identity, and grow as a result of connections with mentors and leadership opportunities.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
I hope to continue my involvement as an active member in Jewish life next year by joining UCLA’s Hillel and Chabad, as well as volunteering at UCLA’s Pathway program and further participating with groups that advocate for those with special needs.

Griffin Joseph

(he/him)
High School: Eagle Rock High School
College: UC Berkeley
Intended Major: Political Science

Involvements: Eagle Rock Baseball, Students Deserve LA, Muslims & Jewish Inspiring Change (MAJIC) Teen Leadership Fellow, Diller Teen Fellowship, Mayor’s Youth Council, Election Worker, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and Eagle Rock Recreation Center.

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
My expectation of the Brawerman Fellowship is that it will provide an opportunity to be around people that I hope to grow with and learn from. I’m a naturally curious person, and networking is important to me. I trust that the Brawerman Fellowship will be full of amazing people, students, and program organizers alike. I hope to connect with and build relationships with all of these inspiring participants. I expect the Brawerman Fellowship to be a place where I grow, learn, and teach surrounded by like-minded young Jewish leaders who have similar ambitions as I do.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to help engage in meaningful conversation and work with this Fellowship. While I’m not completely sure what my exact contributions to the Brawerman community will be, two of my biggest strengths as a leader are my openness, and approaching new spaces with curiosity. I am excited to discover the ways in which I can contribute to the experience of this Fellowship! My intention is to lead with listening, ask questions, and deepen my understanding of both my Jewish identity and my relationships with others.

Leon Shams-Schaal

(he/him)
High School: New West Charter
College: UC Berkeley
Intended Major: Computer Science

Involvements: Research Intern/Assistant for a Stanford & UCLA research project, New West Charter Robotics Team, Model United Nations, Armacost Angle – School Newspaper, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Temple Emanuel Religious School, and Environment Protection Club.

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
The Brawerman Fellowship will provide me with access to valuable experiences ranging from international travel to individual mentorship. I also look forward to meeting other like-minded Jewish leaders who will provide me with inspiration and help me grow as both an individual and a leader.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
I hope to inspire organized action within the Jewish community and contribute to legislative developments on the issues I care about. Additionally, I hope to bring new perspectives and ideas to many of the paramount issues facing our country and community.

Class of 2025

Yotam Barr

(he/him)
High School: North Hollywood High School
College: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Major: Mechanical Engineering

Involvements: North Hollywood Robotics Team, North Hollywood Maker Space 3DMAD, North Hollywood High School Archery Team, Empower Social Justice Club, North Hollywood Robotics Summer Camps, North Hollywood High Peer College Counselor, UNICEF North Hollywood High School Chapter, Operations Smile

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
I hope the Brawerman Fellowship can act as a metaphorical scaffolding over the next four years, to help support and shape my growth. Through mentorship, I aspire to learn how to become an effective Jewish leader who understands where my skills can most successfully be used to give back to my community. With The Fellowship’s aid, I’ll be able to focus on my education and get involved with communities in San Luis Obispo and beyond. I can’t wait to learn from the wonderful mentors and fellows I’ll meet through the program!

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
As a leader, I hope to unify people and focus efforts towards solving pressing issues by highlighting common goals. Ultimately, I strive to leave behind a better community for future generations through technological advancement and inspire others to pursue the same goal.

Matthew Frischman

(he/him)
High School: Charter High School of the Arts (CHAMPS)
College: UC Santa Barbara
Major: Computer Science

Involvements: CHAMPS Speech and Debate, CHAMPS Game Design Academy, CHAMPS Jewish Club, Temple Kol Tikvah’s Youth Group

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
The Brawerman Fellowship will give me the amazing opportunity to be part of a network of passionate people that will support my growth not only in my faith but as an impactful member of society. Exposure to supportive mentors, incredible travel experiences, and comprehensive leadership programs will be something I will always be grateful for.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
My aspirations are to develop activities and charitable events that inspire increased enthusiasm and participation amongst my peers that will educate and enlighten a deeper understanding of the Jewish faith. I recognize this as an opportunity to share with my peers how rewarding and fulfilling it can be to be involved within the community to help others.

Chana Lanter

(she/her/hers)
High School: Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES)
College: Stanford University
Major: Linguistics

Involvements: LACES Untied, LACES Quiz Bowl, LACES Mock Trial, JGirls Magazine, Kol Koleinu, Feminist Fellowship, Maimonides Moot Court, Teens for Jeans

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
I can’t wait to build relationship across the country with young Jews passionate about learning and service. I’m also so excited to access mentorship and broaden my perspective through international trips. The Brawemran Fellowship will help me grow as a student, leader, and Jewish person.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
I hope to create spaces that prioritize social-emotional health over productivity. I’m not looking to repeat experiences where I short-changed my health to meet a deadline! Additionally, the best groups are those that express empathy and genuine interest in others’ perspectives. By being open about my vulnerabilities, hopefully others will open up in turn, knowing their views will be respected.

Ava Lifton

(she/her/hers)
High School: New West Charter
College: USC
Major: Gender Studies

Involvements: Ava is an Opinion writer for the Daily Trojan and a writer for Haute Magazine. Ava is fortunate to have received a summer International Relations research position at New Crisis Project research.

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
I expect to be surrounded by like-minded teens who are similarly committed to cultivating change in their community. I’m also excited to learn from my peers and grow as a leader and community contributor. I further expect this fellowship to provide me with the requisite tools to eventually create tangible change in my own community.

What I’m hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
I will contribute to the Brawerman community by bringing to the table my passion for civic engagement. I will contribute to the community at large by finding innovative ways to help marginalized groups receive equitable treatment.

Class of 2024

Hila Gelfer

(she/her/hers)
High School: Beverly Hills High School
College: UCLA
Major: Psychology or Global Health

Involvements: Medical Science Academy, Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), Beverly Hills High School Associated Student Body, Beverly Hills High Link Crew, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital Volunteer, Cedars Sinai Medical Center Teen Advisory Board, Beverly Hills Police Department Chief’s Advisory Panel Member, Beverly Hills Policy & Management Department Representative, The Jewish Federation’s Community Internship Program at Providence Tarzana Medical Center

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
Through the Brawerman Fellowship, I hope to utilize my Jewish values to become a strong leader in my community, advocating for justice and equity. Furthermore, I look forward to connecting with other young Jewish leaders and learning from one another as we all embark on our individual journeys.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
I hope to strengthen the Jewish community at UCLA and connect individuals all across campus through our shared Jewish heritage. I also aspire to be a health equity advocate as I continue on my journey to becoming a physician.

Jaden Levinson

(she/her)
High School: Agoura High School
College: University of Michigan
Major: Movement Science

Involvements: On campus, I am a research assistant for the University of Michigan’s Rehabilitation Biomechanics Laboratory. Currently, I am working on a project that examines transfemoral prosthesis users and how various adjustable prosthetic sockets affect their gait during exercise and daily life. I am also an active member of my school’s running club, MRun, as well as a student musical improvisation group called Jam Club.

What are you expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
I hope to grow and strengthen my skills as a leader and have the opportunity to use those skills to make a difference in the world. I also hope this fellowship will give me a chance to deepen my connection to Judaism and the Jewish community.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
I hope to contribute positivity and support to the Jewish community during a time where it is much needed.

Joseph Rabinek

(he/him/his)
High School: Milken Community High School
College: Tulane University
Major: Neuroscience

Involvements: Junior State of America (JSA), Milken’s Mitchell Academy of Science & Technology (MAST), Varsity Track & Field, Milken’s Prom Committee, Milken’s Student Ambassador Program, Teen Line Volunteer, Camp Alonim CIT Program

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
Currently, my expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship have transformed from what they were prior to my first year at college. I would like to work with the fellowship and The Jewish Federation to promote social equity in a variety of ways. Additionally, I hope to connect with members of the Jewish community whom I share common interests with who can provide me with guidance.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
As a leader, I’m hoping to promote social equity (both in LA and New Orleans) for a variety of oppressed groups through collaboration with the Jewish Federation.

Brayden Stark

(he/him/his)
High School: The Buckley School
College: Carleton College
Major: Biochemistry

Involvements: Applied Science Independent Researcher, Buckley Varsity Baseball, Honor Council Member, National High School Model United Nations, EarthWatch Project Expedition Team, JCC Maccabi Games

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
I am looking forward to joining a community of peers that are dedicated to being Jewish leaders. The Brawerman Fellowship will help me gain valuable leadership and mentor skills. Also, I am excited for the opportunity to engage in a global service project and assist in the betterment of local and international communities.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
As a leader, I want to support my cohort in achieving our academic, personal, and community-oriented goals. I hope to inspire and motivate others to engage in initiates for positive change within our community. Finally, I want to challenge myself and my peers to always bring a positive attitude and an open mind to conversations, which will make our community a more welcoming and productive space.

Class of 2023

Kara Glaser

(she/her)
High School: Granada Hills High School
College: Arizona State University
Major: Forensic Psychology

What are you involved with on your college campus?

Currently I have dedicated most of my time to being involved with the Barrett Honors College community as well as the Jewish community through Hillel, Chabad, and Jewish Arizonians on Campus. I am also involved in community service wherever I see the opportunity.

Aviva Intveld

(she/her/hers)
High School: Archer School for Girls
College: MIT
Major: Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

What are you involved with on your college campus?

On campus I’m a member of Terrascope, a learning community dedicated to solving global sustainability issues. This year we are focusing on hurricane resiliency and recovery in Puerto Rico, and will be presenting our ideas to a panel of experts working in different related fields (energy, resources, transportation, etc.) later this month! I am also a member of the Undergraduate Assembly Committee on Sustainability, where I work with the garden group and help grow fresh and nutritious food for the MIT community. In addition to sustainability work, I am on the varsity sailing team, actively participate in Hillel events (both on- and off-campus Shabbat services with other Boston-area college students), and am a member and freshman slating committee representative of Alpha Phi.

Sam Knoll

High School: LACES High School
College: Boston University
Major: International Relations/Environmental Science

What are you involved with on your college campus?
My activities on campus are centered around my dual passions for diplomacy and environmental action. I am a part of the Environmental Student Organization here on campus, which organizes educational workshops, outdoor outings, and community outreach programs under the lens of sustainability. I have also been involved in both Model United Nations Conferences that BU hosts, serving on the staff for various committees in each conference. Between these activities, I like to spend time at the two bee hives as a part of the BU Beekeepers Club.

Andrew Long

High School: Calabasas High School
College: University of Texas at Austin
Major: Jewish Studies

What are you involved with on your college campus?

On my college campus, I joined a Jewish Fraternity. The camaraderie in the fraternity has been fun and welcoming for me, especially since the majority of the fraternity members are from Texas and only a few of us are from out of town. And, when I or my pledge class brothers find ourselves a little “home sick” we make our way over to either the University Chabad or Hillel for a Shabbat dinner! The other organizations I’m involved with include: Alzheimer’s Association of Austin, The American Cancer Society, and the Not On My Campus which is an organization at UT that focuses on reducing sexual assault through education, advocacy and support.

Class of 2022

Jonah Goldberg

(he/him/his)
High School: Calabasas High School
College: Washington University in St. Louis
Major: English and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology

Involvements: The fellowship made me feel more excited and comfortable with diving into the Jewish community in college. I enrolled in multiple Jewish learning programs and served on the Hillel Leadership Council, and this year I still go to weekly Shabbat dinners and take krav maga with my Hillel community. Outside of this, I write scripts and conduct interviews for a research podcast on gene editing in our food systems, as part of the international GEAP3 Network; questions and PR materials for Datamatch, a student-run, humorous matchmaking survey on several university campuses; and research reviews and recommendations for Lifelong Learning, my university’s alumni education platform. I also serve as a student mentor for the Linguistics program.

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.

What are your expectations of the Brawerman Fellowship?
The fellowship is an incredibly supportive network of peers and alumni that have helped me make the most of available opportunities throughout my college career. I also look forward to biannual retreats for inspiring and practical speakers who have developed my leadership skills, and volunteering opportunities in the Los Angeles communities.

What are you hoping to contribute to the community as a leader?
I am a firm believer in servant leadership, leading by supporting and uplifting others. I hope to apply the communications skills and understanding of myself learned through Brawerman programming to help any organization I am involved with become a strong community where all voices are heard, and more effectively define and carry out its values. I am glad to have the fellowship keeping me connected to the LA Jewish community, and want to give back by supporting other Jewish Federation projects and the people running them.

Noga Shlapobersky

(she/her/hers)
High School: LACES
College: Barnard College, Columbia University
Major: Political Science & Human Rights

What does it mean to be a BrawermanFellow?
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 Stark

High 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 Weisman

High School: Notre Dame High School
College: University of Pennsylvania
Major: History

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 Benzacar

High 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 Harris

High 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 Jacobson

(she/her)
High School: Milken Community High School
College: USC
Major: Global Studies, Minors: Folklore & Popular Culture; Music Industry

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 Zommick

High 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 Bentolila

High School: YULA Boys
College: UC Berkeley
Major: Bioengineering

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 Krut

High 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 Melnick

High 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 Solkovits

High School: Cleveland High School Humanities Magnet
College: UCLA
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

David Bar-Or

High School: New Community Jewish High School (deToledo High School)
College: Tulane University
Major: Engineering Physics

Current Position: David is currently living in Los Angeles, working for OpenGov, a late stage govtech startup based in Redwood City. OpenGov’s mission, and now David’s, is to power more effective and accountable government through modern, cloud-based software. OpenGov is exclusively built for local government, and partners with cities and counties to improve their budgeting, accounting and permitting processes. David is about to reach one year as a Sales Development Representative with further aspirations to continue his career in software and tech sales.

Eric Berger

High School: Agoura High School
College: Indiana University
Major: Marketing Major

Current Position: Eric graduated from Indiana University in December 2018 and, after exploring different options, moved to New York to work for the adtech vendor Kargo. As a Client Services Manager, he is the main point of contact for multiple agency accounts. He loves working in a fast-paced industry and interfacing with creative brands.

Shachar Cohen-Hodos

High 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 Silverman

High School: Santa Monica High School
College: Brown University
Major: Health and Human Biology and Anthropology

Current Position:  Ariel graduated from Brown with Honors with a degree in Brain & Behavior, with the equivalent of a minor in Anthropology. She completed an honors thesis on the role of emotional resilience and mental health on musculoskeletal outcomes following orthopedic surgery. She went on to present this research at an international conference in Madrid focusing on Hip Preservation. After graduation, she hiked El Camino de Santiago with three other Jewish friends, then spent several months completing a research fellowship in Orthopedic Surgery at BronxCare Health System. Ariel recently started a job at McKinsey & Company as a management consultant. She plans to pursue an MD/MBA after gaining several years of work experience.

Class of 2018

Benjamin Kriegsman

High School: Milken Community High School
College: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Major: Economics

Current Position:  Ben is the Project Manager of Acquisitions at Bedrock Detroit.  Bedrock is a full service commercial real estate firm based in downtown Detroit specializing in the strategic development of urban cores.

Talia Shoval

High School: CHAMPS Charter High School of the Arts
College: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Major: Environmental Health Sciences Minor: Neuroscience

Current Position: After working as a medical assistant for several years, Talia returned to UNC-Chapel Hill to complete a second bachelor’s degree in nursing. Talia recently moved to Denver, CO where she works as a registered nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado. In her spare time, Talia likes to hike, rock climb, and run.

Guy Topf

High School: El Camino Real Charter High School
College: University of Southern California (USC)
Major: Business Administration, International Relations with an emphasis in Global Business

Current Position: Guy recently moved to New York and started working as a Partner Manager at CLEAR, specifically focused on Travel & Hospitality partnerships.

Class of 2017

Jackson Block

High 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)

College:  UC Berkeley, Business Administration and Public Policy Double Major

 

Current Position:  Jackson has worked for five years as a social sector leader, development professional, and consultant to NGOs. His expertise in creating social enterprises, leveraging data analytics, and fundraising has provided business acumen to dozens of social causes. In his career, he has been proud to spearhead several job training initiatives for LGBT refugees and hundreds of individuals impacted by poverty across the Bay Area. He currently resides in New York where he works as the lead Business Analyst at UpStart.  Outside of work, you can find Jackson performing at improv shows, crafting the perfect sourdough starter while advising for Challah for Hunger nationally, cartooning witty comics, or mentoring disconnected youth.

Samantha Page

High 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

Current Position:  Master in Urban Planning student at Harvard Graduate School of Design

Chelsea Rapoport

High School: Flintridge Preparatory School
College: University of Chicago, Psychology major with Honors, minor in Human Rights

Current Position: Chelsea is currently a 2nd year PhD student at the San Diego State University/University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, specializing in behavioral medicine. Currently, her research focuses on biopsychosocial processes in a variety of populations with chronic illnesses, including adolescent/young adults with cancer, children with craniofacial conditions, and adults with rheumatological conditions (such as scleroderma). On the side, she enjoys being involved in UCSD’s Jewish graduate student community and is a proud Moishe House Without Walls Host, hosting two or more programs for her local Jewish community each month!

Alyssa Scott

High School: Oak Park High School
College: University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), Communications major and minor in Education.

Current Position: Media Analyst at OMD

Since graduation, I moved back to the LA area and have bounced around a few PR and media agencies, where I have worked on accounts such as Air New Zealand, Israel Ministry of Tourism, and Moose Toys. While I’ve been at OMD based in Playa Vista, I’ve worked on the Levi Strauss & Co. account and am currently on the Apple account – I’ve loved every minute of it! 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 Cahn

High 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: Joshua works as a paralegal for Abramson Labor Group in Los Angeles and is planning to attend law school in the Fall of 2022. Previously, Joshua studied Jewish law, Talmud, ethics, history in Jerusalem, Israel at Machon Shlomo – The Heiden Institute from 2018-2020. Prior to studying in Israel, Joshua worked in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill in the House of Representatives, at AIPAC as a video editor and producer, and as a free-lance filmmaker working with various technology companies and public relations firms. While pursuing his interests in law and government, Joshua continues to run his production company with a focus on education, policy, and technology.

Leigh Evans

(She/They)
High 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 Position: Research Assistant at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Leigh is working on research called Building a Strong and Equitable Mixed-Auspice Prekindergarten System (MAPS): A Research-Practice Partnership to Support Boston’s Historic UPK Expansion or the Universal Pre-K Study. In her spare time, Leigh explores art in all its forms, performing improv comedy, working on various writing projects, and always trying to actually learn the guitar.

Mitchell Handler

High school: Venice High School
School: UC Berkeley, with a double major in political science and media studies

Current Position: Mitchell has worked in eCommerce for the last several years, including at Walmart.com and PayPal before starting at Priceline/Agoda Global Partner Services. He serves as a Market Manager, working with hotels of all sizes to grow their presence on Priceline and make travel easy and affordable for all. Mitchell recently moved back to Los Angeles after eight years in the Bay Area and is excited to be able to spend more time with his family.

Evan Lowell

High School: Cleveland Humanities Magnet High School
College: Boston University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering

Current Position: Evan was recently hired as a software engineer at Motional working on autonomous vehicles. He finished his Master’s Degree in Computer Science with Georgia Institute of Technology in December 2019 while working on pizza robots and autonomous lawnmowers at Wavemaker Labs. In his spare time, he practices martial arts, goes hiking, and enjoys video games.

Harmony Richman

High School: Santa Monica High School
College: Barnard College, Columbia University majoring in Sociology and Race & Ethnic Studies

Current Position: Harmony has recently been accepted into Grace Hopper- a software engineering program for women in NYC. She will graduate mid-December as a Fullstack software engineer. Harmony will focus on how to more structurally automate and scale out the resources necessary to allow disenfranchised communities to become self-empowered. She is planning on working in the intersection of civil rights and technology and using creative and innovative solutions to help support human systems.