social justice

Crossing the Cultural Divide: Mikaela Gerwin


Despite living in New York City for most of her life, Mikaela Gerwin came to realize that she had never had a meaningful conversation with a non-Jew. “I live between the secular and Jewish worlds, and sometimes these can be hard to reconcile.”

Mikaela Gerwin, 18

The Theological Value of Privacy

Jewish Week Online Columnist
Story Includes Video: 

In recent years, debates about the right to privacy have emerged stronger than ever. Especially in light of last week’s events, there are political issues to explore, but we all also have our own introspective work to do to grow in our own sense of modesty (tzniut).

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Daniel Simkin, 22

Staff Writer
06/04/2013, @simkindaniel
Giving hope to cancer patients.

In the hospital for frequent checkups after surviving childhood cancer in his native Venezuela, Daniel Simkin found himself answering questions from other young patients — Why me? Will I ever be healthy? Will my hair grow back?


Caroline Loevner, 32

Staff Writer

With ‘pet partner,’ gladdens the infirm.

Four years ago, when Caroline Loevner brought Beau, her newly acquired Siberian Husky, to the vet, she was told that the dog had an unusually friendly temperament for his breed.

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Josh Lipowsky, 31, kosher bachelor, media

"It changes the energy in the room."
-- Caroline Loevner, 32

Amram Altzman, 17

Staff Writer

Breaking old taboos.

First, Amram Altzman, 17, realized he was gay. His parents and three younger brothers “accepted and embraced” him, but he couldn’t really be his whole self at the prestigious Modern Orthodox Ramaz School, because almost none of his peers even knew what it meant to be gay.

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Amram Altzman, social justice, LGBTQ“Nobody knew anybody who was out of the closet. It was only after I came out of the closet that the silence really hit me.”
-- Amram Altzman, 17

Molly Roberts, 14


Finding the silver lining.

Molly Roberts began making jewelry at summer camp when she was 8. “It was always my favorite activity. I would choose it again and again.” Since then, she has used her training to raise over $18,000 for Crohn’s Disease research.

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Alison Klayman, filmmaker, Chinese speaker

“Having Crohn’s disease taught me how to find the silver lining in situations. My mom is definitely my role model.”
-- Molly Roberts, 14

Michael Littenberg-Brown, 30, and Melissa Jane Kronfeld, 30

Contributing editor / blueprint editor

Littenberg-Brown: Founder/President, Save a Child’s Heart’s (SACH) Young Leadership

Kronfeld: Vice President, SACH Young Leadership
Big hearts for little people.

Michael Littenberg-Brown is a staunch Democrat, and Melissa Jane Kronfeld is an avowed Republican. But when it comes to supporting Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), a charity that enables Israeli doctors to perform life-saving heart surgeries, the friends stand united.


Loren Galler Rabinowitz, 27

Contributing editor / Blueprint Editor

Holocaust activist on skates.

Loren Galler Rabinowitz makes it look so easy.

Rabinowitz, a third-year medical student at Columbia University, is also a classical pianist, a champion ice dancer, a public speaker, and a poet.

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Loren Galler Rabinowitz, Miss Massachusetts, medical student

“When you see so many people, and the stories are sad, it’s very important to retain your humanity. A pat on the shoulder, asking about someone’s kids — it can go a long way.”
-- Loren Galler Rabinowitz, 27

The Aish Kodesh: Inflated Success and Positive Reinforcement

Jewish Week Online Columnist

Many child development books today encourage using only positive language with children. Instead of speaking with discouraging, critical, or punitive language, one should frame the direction in the positive. While there is clearly some benefit to this approach, when done incorrectly it may also further a next generation of inflated egos. There is already no lack of unearned "validation" in our culture. The authors of Switch explain:

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
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