The 2018-19 Jewish Teen Initiative Peer Leadership Fellows form a diverse group of leaders, representing communities, synagogues, camps and organizations throughout the Greater Boston area. They each have unique Jewish journeys with varied backgrounds and will be working to help create a more connected and inclusive community for their peers. Meet the Fellows and learn more about their stories below!
Michaela Berman is a junior at Franklin High School. She is involved in winter and spring track and field and enjoys playing baritone saxophone in her school’s pep band, along with spending time with her friends. She is a member of the Temple Etz Chaim community and spends her summers at Camp Pembroke. She also loves being a part of NFTY-NE.
Jonah Bussgang is a sophomore at Milton Academy. He graduated with the Class of 2016 from The Rashi School, serves as a board member of the Jewish Student Union at Milton and is an active member of Temple Beth Elohim. Outside of school, Jonah enjoys playing squash, whitewater kayaking and spending time with friends. Jonah is excited to work with JTI as the Peer Leadership Fellow working with Rashi alumni. Jonah is serving as a Peer Leadership Fellow through our partnership with The Rashi School.
Samson Cantor is a junior at Newton South High School. He is on the Leadership Council of the Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston and the president of the NSHS Cheese Club. Samson is a member of the Camp Tevya community and loves to play lacrosse. Samson is serving as a Peer Leadership Fellow through our partnership with The Rashi School.
Maya Girzon is a junior at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. She is involved in STOP (Students Together Opposing Prejudice) and MVP (Mentors in Violence Prevention), a student and faculty-run relationship program. Maya likes to hang out with friends, go to the movies, shop, bake, exercise, take pictures and play with her dog, Milo. She is a member of Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, where she is involved in the teen community and Rosh Hodesh group.
Sam Goldstone is a sophomore at Wayland High School. He is involved in student government, currently serving as class president, and loves to discuss and debate pressing political issues. He is a member of Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland.
Fiana Herscovici is a junior at Framingham High School. She is involved in the Student Council and enjoys hanging out with her friends and family, as well as traveling around the world. She is a member of the Temple Beth Am community, and loves to go to the beach.
Matt Noah is a senior at Framingham High School. He enjoys participating on the football and wrestling teams and also produces videos and creates weekly segments for his high school’s daily TV broadcast. He also recently earned his lifeguard certification. He is a member of Temple Beth Am and its youth group, BATY. He is the treasurer of the youth group and was an aide in the religious school.
Amit Shemer is a senior at Algonquin Regional High School. She is involved in the Israeli Scouts and enjoys traveling, hiking and hanging out with friends. Amit was born in Israel and moved to the United States at age 8. Her favorite subjects at school are math and gym.
Halle Sisenwine is a junior at Gann Academy, where she is a member of the volleyball and lacrosse teams. Halle is a member of Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley and is a madricha (teaching assistant) in its K-5 learning program. She spends her summers at URJ Eisner Camp and is an NFTY EIE Heller High alum. Halle has a twin sister, an adorable dog and likes to explore.
Haley Wexelblatt is a junior at Wellesley High School. At school, she dances and enjoys spending time with friends. She is a member of Temple Beth Elohim and spends her summers at Camp Tel Noar.
Ben Williams is a junior at Dover-Sherborn High School. He is involved with his school’s soccer team and likes to play guitar and swim. Ben is a member of Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland and really enjoys making new friends.
North Shore Sloane Cohort
Jennifer Bloom is a junior at The Academy at Penguin Hall in Wenham. She is involved with doing community service and is an active member within the HOBY program (Hugh O’Brain Youth Leadership Foundation). This summer, she will also be attending the World Leadership Congress with HOBY in Chicago. Jennifer enjoys baking, camping, art and babysitting. She is a member of the Temple Tiferet Shalom community and was recently confirmed in May.
Jordan Brodsky is a sophomore at Danvers High School. She is involved in the Tomorrow’s Teachers club and is a member of the field hockey and lacrosse teams. She enjoys hanging out with her friends and traveling. Jordan is a member of Temple Emanuel in Andover and spends her summers at Camp Pembroke. She last went to Israel when she was 11 years old and can’t wait to go back next summer on the Dor L’Dor trip with the Cohen Camps.
Skyler Burke is a junior at Marblehead High School, where she is involved in sports such as soccer, basketball and track. She is a member of Temple Emanuel in Marblehead and is S’ganit in her BBYO chapter. She is excited for the year ahead and can’t wait to work with JTI.
Sophie Cohen is a junior at Masconomet Regional High School. She is involved in her school’s field hockey and softball clubs and enjoys reading, singing and spending time with her family and friends. Sophie is a member of the Temple Ner Tamid and Camp Pembroke communities and will be going to Israel this summer with the Dor L’Dor program.
Alex Greenfield is a sophomore at Swampscott High School. He plays soccer, basketball and baseball and enjoys playing the piano.
Rachael Gregory is a junior at Marblehead High School. She is involved in Best Buddies club and enjoys running track and playing soccer. Rachael is a member of Shirat Hayam and has spent the last eight summers at Camp Pembroke.
Isabella London is a sophomore at Marblehead High School. She plays volleyball and tennis and likes to create art and hang out with her friends. Isabella is a member of North Shore BBYO and Temple Emanu-El, where she loves to help out during the school year as a madricha (teaching assistant).
Jasper Merrill is a sophomore at Marblehead High School. He recently started the Animal Wellness Club at school and now serves as president. Through the club, students do all sorts of events to raise awareness and money for their local animal shelter. He also plays football and runs track at school. This summer, on top of going away to Israel for two weeks, he will be a CIT at Camp Rotary. Jasper has attended Camp Rotary for eight years and is very excited to be a counselor-in-training.
Andrew Orfaly is a sophomore at St. John’s Prep, where he is involved with the school’s Jewish Student Union, Concordia Newspaper and the math team. He enjoys doing CrossFit and being with friends and family, especially his second family at Camp Tel Noar. He belongs to Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead.
Andrew Rosenberg is a sophomore at Pingree High School. He enjoys fishing, playing basketball and baseball and hanging out with friends. He is a member of Congregation Shirat Hyam in Swampscott. An interesting fact about Andrew is that he has a boater’s license and a lobstering license.
Daniel Smith is a sophomore at Marblehead High School. He is involved in Magic the Gathering Club, winter and spring track, Boy Scouts and works at a pet food store. Daniel is interested in World War II, coding (in Batch) and movies. He is a member of Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead, has been attending Camp Yavneh for nine years and can solve a Rubik’s Cube.
Ruderman Peer Inclusion Cohort
Madison Dempsey is a senior at Gloucester High School. She is a member of the National Honors Society and involved in the theater program. Madison is also a teen mentor at Pathways for Children. She enjoys figure skating (which she does competitively), art and reading. Madison is a member of Temple Ahavat Achim in Gloucester and is so excited to be joining an amazing group of people.
Abby Frank is a junior at Wellesley High School, where she swims on the swim team, participates in the varsity ceramics team and enjoys ceramics, painting and drawing and hanging out with her friends in her free time. She belongs to Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, where she is an active member of its teen community and NFTY. She just completed a year on the board of The Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston (JTFGB), a group of high school students learning the responsibility of collective philanthropy through tikkun olam and tzedakah.
Hannah Goodman is a junior at Chapel Hill Chauncy Hall in Waltham. She is involved in the cross-country, basketball and lacrosse teams at her school and enjoys hiking and learning American Sign Language in her free time. She is a member of Beth El in Sudbury and was involved in project Hibur during the past year.
Anna Levenberg is a sophomore at Swampscott High School. She is involved in the I Am That Girl club, peer leaders club, international relations club, is class secretary on student council, volunteers for Rovers Special Olympics Soccer and sings in her synagogue’s teen choir, the Chai Notes. Anna also enjoys playing on her school’s volleyball, indoor track and sailing teams. She is a member of Congregation Shirat Hayam and goes to Camp Tel Noar and is so excited to get involved with the Jewish Teen Initiative’s new Peer Inclusion Track.
Justin Lista is a junior at Natick High School. He is involved with Game Changers, Peer Advocates and a mentorship program at his school. He is also the backstage manager for his school plays and a member of the Natick High School Boys Swim Team. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with friends. Justin is a member of Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland and works there as a madrich with his twin brother.
Lily McGuirk is a sophomore at St. Marys in Lynn. She is involved in Rachel’s Challenge and enjoys being with her family and practicing her faith. She is a member of Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead and enjoys being out in nature.
Jonah Michel is a junior at Newton North High School. He is an active part of the school’s theater program and was a lead in the fall show, “Clybourne Park,” and an ensemble member of the winter show, “Cinderella.” He also was on the NNHS JV baseball team this spring. Jonah is a very active member of the TBE youth community and he loves it there. He also has been going to Camp Tel Noar for six years.
Gillian Pergament is a junior at Gann Academy, where she is a member of the Tikkun Olam Union. She is involved in NFTY Northeast and just completed a year on the Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston’s board. She is a member of Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, where she is an active member of its teen community. Gillian loves playing her guitar and piano, hiking with her golden retriever and traveling to new places. In the past, Gillian was an assistant coach for the Nashoba Valley Special Olympic ski team and is now very involved in raising awareness for kids and teens with disabilities.
Libby Rosen is a sophomore at Marblehead High School. She is on the diving team and is a part of the Leadership Council. Libby is a member and madricha at Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead. She works at Orange Leaf Marblehead and spends her summers at Camp Tevya in Brookline, N.H. She loves giving back to the community and has been involved in a lot of community outreach with both her school and temple this year.
Ella Shapiro is a sophomore at Brookline High School, where she has also worked as a preschool aide. She has been a participant in the Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston and looks forward to going to Israel this summer on NCSY’s Rescue Israel trip. Ella loves to play guitar, takes singing lessons and enjoys being with animals. She belongs to the Maimonides Kehilah in Brookline, where she often takes part in community shabbatonim (retreats).
Madison Sherman is a junior at Framingham High School. She enjoys dancing, babysitting, reading and yoga. She belongs to Temple Beth Am in Framingham. Madison spends her summers with family on the West Coast and is excited to be participating in Mitzvah Corps American South this year.
Rachel Wolf-Wagner is a senior at Framingham High School. She is involved in Model Congress/UN and student government is an avid volunteer outside of school and enjoys listening to music. Rachel is a member of Temple Beth Am and its youth group, BATY, and loves to travel and go on adventures with her friends.
Sofia Vatnik is a sophomore at Marblehead high school. She is involved in Kindness Club (a club she started at school), along with the dance team and volleyball. She is a member of Temple Sinai and the Camp Tevya community. Sofia also loves going to the beach.
*Denotes Senior Fellows.
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