Reclaiming The Mikvah: Rabbi Sara Luria, 32


In Orthodox circles, the mikvah is a ritual bath in which women immerse themselves at specific times — before marriage, after childbirth, following menstrual cycles. Going to mikvah is a mandated part of Orthodox life.

Rabbi Sara Luria

Instilling Teens With Bukharian Pride: Manashe Khaimov, 27


Many an ancient traveller and merchant took the old Silk Road to China or to the Mediterranean. Ten generations ago, the Khaimov family settled in Central Asia, eventually in the mythical center of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Manashe Khaimov

Cultivating Sephardic Pride: Lauren Gibli, 24

This proud Yemenite Jew founded the founded the American Sephardi Foundation's Young Leadership Board.


As a proud Yemenite Jew, Lauren Gibli sees herself as a bridge linking the rituals of her ancestors to future generations.

Lauren Gibli

Supporting Jews In Transition: Lani Santo, 35


When Lani Santo was 13 and living with her Modern Orthodox family in the increasingly black-hat neighborhood of Kew Gardens, her mother came out as gay.

Lani Santo

Instituting A More Inclusive Judaism: Eva Stern, 33


As a baby, Stern was given four baby naming ceremonies with traditions incorporated from the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Orthodox movements.

Eva Stern

Challenging Judaism’s Self-Image: Chava Shervington, 34


As a black Orthodox Jew, Chava Shervington is constantly being noticed. And she finds it exhausting.

Chava Shervington

Fostering Orthodox Feminism: Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, 31


According to Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, attending eight different Jewish day schools before the age of 16 has some unexpected perks.

Sharon Weiss-Greenberg

Jewish and Individualistic: Leah Vincent


Raised in Pittsburgh in an ultra-Orthodox family, Vincent was cast out as a teenager for exchanging letters with a boy, and sent to New York. After years of struggling with her identity and sexuality, she has become an advocate for young women and people in oppressed communities; along the way she attended Brooklyn College and earned a master’s at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Earlier this year, Vincent published a well-received memoir, “Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood” (Nan A. Talese).

Leah Vincent, 32

Filling a Jewish Void: Robert J. Saferstein


Robert J. Saferstein has dedicated his career to “broadening the definition of what ‘Jewish’ can look like” by building community — one of his many motivations behind starting Friday Night Lights, a series of pop-up Shabbat dinners for gay Jewish professionals that attracts people from different religious and ideological backgrounds.

Robert J. Saferstein

Inspiring Fellow Russians to Embrace Judaism: Vladimir Ronin


Growing up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Vladimir Ronin knew he was Jewish, but not what that meant.

“There weren’t channels for me to develop any kind of Jewish identity,” said Ronin, 29, an associate analyst at Moody’s Investors Service and an MBA student at NYU’s Stern School of Business. “That changed when I was 10, and my family came to America.”

Vladimir Ronin, 29
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