Monday, July 10, 2017

Meet the 10 GPM Entwine Summer 2017 Cohort participants

Meet the current GPM-Entwine summer 2017 cohort who are putting a lot of effort and love into their summer volunteering experience in Mumbai. Their different backgrounds, educations, and experiences have allowed each fellow to contribute in a unique manner to the program:

Here is a glimpse into the participants of the current GPM-JDC Entwine volunteer session:

Shoshana Balk
Shosh's passion for Jewish education and community building traces back to her Cincinnati, Ohio
roots, where she and her four sisters were known collectively as "the rabbi's daughters." She has been blessed to turn her passion into a career at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School, where she teaches middle school Talmud and Tanach. Shosh graduated from Stern College, where she double majored in Psychology and Jewish Studies. Shosh's most formative experiences have mostly occurred during the summer - as a counselor at Camp Stone and on Counterpoint Israel, the head counselor on the Shaare Zedek Summer Interns Program, and Birthright Israel trip leader, to name a few. She thrives on maintaining creative outlets in her life, with an emphasis on writing and recording music, performing as an acappella singer, and playing piano and guitar.

Sapira Cahana
Sapira is the youngest of  five children. Born in Goteborg, Sweden to a Swedish father and a Texan mother, she spent most of her youth between Toronto and Montreal. Growing up in a rabbinic household, the door was always open to multi-faith travelers with Shabbat as the centerpiece. She has been a passionate disability rights advocate from the age of 4, when she began attending a school for children with special needs and has worked with people with disabilities in school, homes, day centers and camps ever since. She is currently studying Liberal Arts and Third World Studies at Marianopolis College in Montreal with professional aspirations of  going into diplomacy. She is a voracious reader, an avid film buff, a poetry enthusiast, enjoys playing the ukulele, and dancing contemporary dance.

Ezra Felder
Ezra grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and attended Providence Hebrew Day School followed by
Yeshiva of Greater Washington. At YGW,  Ezra was heavily involved in the community, serving as a leader in the Bnei Akiva organization’s youth programming. During high school, Ezra also spent multiple summers volunteering in various communities in Israel, working with at risk youth, recent immigrants, and the elderly. A deep sense of  Zionism and responsibility to the Jewish people then brought him  to Israel, where he studied at Yeshivat Sha’alvim and subsequently served in the Israel Defense Forces as a sharp shooter in the Kfir Brigade. Upon his discharge from the army in 2016, he decided to return to America to pursue his academic career at Yeshiva University, where he is studying Psychology and Economics. When he is not studying, Ezra spends his time tutoring at a local public school, rehearsing for the school play, exploring New York City, reading, playing piano and hanging with friends.

Elianna Isaacs
Growing up, Elianna attended Jewish elementary and high school. She worked as a counselor at Morasha sleep away camp the summer after 11th  grade. The following summer, she worked as a counselor at an orthodox traveling camp called Kanfei Nesharim, through which she traveled to New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii. She graduated high school a year early and enrolled in Yeshiva University. Following that year, she did a gap year in Israel at a seminary. And during that year, she decided to join  the Israeli army. She has just finished her year and a half  of  service and is currently studying at Hunter College in New York, where she is hoping to become a nurse. Elianna's plan is to return to Israel and make aliyah after her studies.

Rebecca Kornhauser
Rebecca (Geffie) grew up in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania and graduated from Kohelet Yeshiva High
school. She currently attends Yeshiva University, where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a minor in Biology. Inspired by her small, but vibrant Jewish community, Geffie worked as a counselor at Camp Moshava after high school. Her upbringing also inspired a passion for social justice, which Geffie pursues through her volunteer work with various organizations, including Child Family Health International (CFHI). At  CFHI, Geffie learned traditional and modern medicine from local doctors in Uttarakhand, India, and immersed herself in the culture by living with a host family and attending daily yoga classes. Geffie is also passionate about increasing access to education for underrepresented populations. While studying abroad in Israel, Geffie taught English to Israeli teens from disadvantaged backgrounds and particularly enjoyed reading the imaginative stories that her students wrote. Geffie is currently a volunteer instructor for START  Science, a nonprofit STEM educational organization, where she facilitates science projects for fourth graders from underserved public schools in the Washington Heights neighborhood of  New York City.

Ian Piczenik
Ian recently worked as a Madrich at Yeshiva Darkaynu, a gap year program for boys with developmental disabilities in Israel, where he is pursuing his passion to help make a fundamental difference in the lives of those around him.  Ian loves to relax with friends and has a thriving sense of humor. He also loves to travel. Recently, Ian visited Morocco and has previously travelled across Europe. To further pursue this interest, Ian will be entering University College London in September to study Politics and Eastern European studies. Ian also loves to play sport. Throughout high school, Ian regularly played football with friends. He also raced nationally, culminating in him  running the Jerusalem marathon last year. He ran the marathon to raise money for the Israeli based charity Save a ChildsHeart, a cause very important to Ian and one he spent 3 months volunteering at last year during his first year in Israel.

Chaya Pollak
Chaya is a twenty four year old living in Brooklyn, New York. She received her Bachelor's from
Touro College with a major in speech pathology and a minor in education. She took to continuing education classes in graphic design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and private lessons in fine art. Chaya volunteered at Camp Nageela Midwest was was started by NCSY, in Marshall, Indiana for four summers. There, she worked as an art director and counselor. She also volunteered at camp Simcha, a camp for children with cancer and other blood disorders.

Malka Schnaidman
Malka was born and bred  in New Jersey. She graduated from Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School at the age of  18 when she left home for Israel. Over the next two years, she continued to study Jewish Philosophy, Theology, and Talmud in an Israeli seminary. She then spent ten months performing national service for an Israeli non-profit that represents the widows and orphans of  the IDF. While there, she also taught music to underprivileged youth at a group home. Now back in the states, Malka is studying Anthropology, Arabic, and Philosophy at NYU. She continues to volunteer in her spare time; she teaches environmental sciences to children at underfunded New York public schools and tutors inmates at Riker's Island

Gabriella Shofet
A child of Jewish Iranian refugees, Gabriella's instilled sense of empathy and resilience has fostered
her passion for healthcare with an emphasis on public health. She has immersed herself in everything from regenerative retinal stem cell research at a world- renowned medical institution at age 17 and has recently interned in a single-roomed ER within an underserved and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish hospital in Israel. In honor of her great grandfather, she became involved in the Youth Movement Against Alzheimer's to raise education and research efforts within her generation. Gabriella currently studies Biopsychology with minors in French and Spanish at the University of California, Santa Barbara. There, she is involved with the Taubman Symposia Interfaith Dialogues surrounding Middle Eastern  topics. Her ambitions include further revealing the intersection between Judaism and science, volunteering in third world countries and underserved communities via a mastery of  languages, and learning how to pass level 836 of  Candy Crush.

Noadia Steinmetz-Silber 
Noadia concluded a year of study and service in Israel and will be attending the University of Chicago in the fall. She grew up in New York City  and spent four years living in Israel as a child. Throughout high school, Noadia spent time after school and on the weekends volunteering (tutoring children in inner-city schools and working with children with special needs). Alongside learning, Noadia spent five months this year working in the English department in a high school in southern Israel and teaching Bedouin women basic Hebrew  skills. Over the past several summers, Noadia split her time between interning in a variety of hospital settings and working with children with special needs, both in Israel and the United States. Noadia is interested in the interplay between human behavior on the individual and social level and plans to study the social sciences and law in college. Through her studies and volunteer experience, Noadia hopes to gain a more nuanced understanding of the human experience and become an advocate for social change.

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