Special Sections

Jonathan Perelman, 30

‘Building bridges’ on behalf of the Jewish community.
Assistant Managing Editor
05/09/2011 - 20:00

On his first day working on Cory Booker’s campaign for mayor of the troubled city of Newark, N.J., in 2002, Jonathan Perelman’s car was stolen. But that didn’t weaken the University of Pennsylvania graduate (’04) and Connecticut native’s commitment to helping Booker challenge the political establishment in what would be an unsuccessful first attempt.

Jonathan Perelman

Mara Yacobi, 35

Sex education — with a Jewish twist.
Associate Editor
05/09/2011 - 20:00

Growing up in Connecticut in the 1980s, Mara Yacobi had a rich Jewish upbringing: the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, she attended a Conservative day school and participated in Jewish summer camps and Jewish youth groups. But she never had a health class, let alone any sex education.

Mara Yacobi

Sara Greenberg, 23

A voice for the ‘Third Generation.’
Staff Writer
05/09/2011 - 20:00

 Sara Greenberg grew up in a Conservative home in Philadelphia hearing the stories of how her mother’s parents survived the Holocaust. But the full impact of their experiences did not hit her until she joined many members of her family on a visit to her grandparents’ hometowns and death camps in 2005.

Sara Greenberg

Matt Bar, 31

Torah rapper
Editorial Intern
05/09/2011 - 20:00

Matt Bar is a young rapper, but rather than sing about women or violence, he drops beats about Torah. “I am David/I come with the Lord/You come with the sword,” he raps, “I come with the Lord/And I’m righteous.” Bar has spent the last few years working to educate Jewish children and adolescents in a way that is expressive and relatable to a younger generation: with the art of rap.

Matt Bar

Robyn Polansky, 33

Volunteers for Israeli soldiers.
Staff Writer
05/09/2011 - 20:00

Ski team in high school in Weston, Conn. Crew at Union College in Schenectady. “I was never the best,” Robyn Polansky says. “I’m always a team player.”

Today, a New Yorker for a decade, Polansky works as a wealth management adviser at Bessemer Trust, and is a hands-on volunteer worker for several Jewish and civic causes, foremost among them Friends of the Israel Defense Force (FIDF), the New York-based organization that supports a wide variety of activities for Israeli soldiers.

Robyn Polansky

Rachel Jonas, 27

Met Council’s most valuable player.
Associate Editor
05/09/2011 - 20:00

A few years ago Rachel Jonas had never heard of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

While trying to decide where to make her year-end charitable contributions, the young investment banker, a Philadelphia native, stumbled across the group on UJA-Federation of New York’s website. Clicking on the agency’s link, Jonas (no relation to the prominent Jewish philanthropist Howard Jonas) was impressed by its range of services for financially struggling New Yorkers, Jewish and gentile.

Rachel Jonas

Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, 32

Human Rights Activist
Associate Editor
05/09/2011 - 20:00

 Even as a baby, Rachel (pronounced the Hebrew way: Rah-KHEL) Kahn-Troster was being groomed to be an activist and a rabbi wannabe.

At 10 months old, she posed for the cameras in a T-shirt that said “JTS Class of 2001” — this was back in 1980, five years before the Jewish Theological Seminary ordained its first woman rabbi (and while Kahn-Troster’s father was a rabbinical student).

Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster

Rabbi Jeremy Stern, 27

Advocate for ‘chained’ women.
Staff Writer
05/09/2011 - 20:00

As a rabbinical student at Yeshiva University four years ago, Jeremy Stern noticed an announcement for a protest rally in Queens at the home of a man who had not given his wife a get (Jewish divorce). The rally was organized by the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot (ORA), an independent group based at the school.

Stern went, protested, and became active in more ORA activities. The issue of agunot, women unable to remarry until receiving a get, interested him. “I have no personal experience with agunot” in his immediate circles, he stresses.

Rabbi Jeremy Stern

Skyler Siegel, 18

Promoting part-time vegetarianism.
Editorial Assistant
05/09/2011 - 20:00

 It took a while for Skyler Siegel to become a vegetarian. So far, the senior at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School has stuck with it for the past five months. Before that, he experimented with it a few times before falling off the wagon, and managed to avoid eating meat for an entire month, a practice known as “Veguary.”

In 2009, along with two of his schoolmates, Siegel launched the website Veguary.org, aiming to get “pledges” from people around the world to eliminate or reduce their meat consumption for just the month of February.

Skyler Siegel

Rabbi Edith Meyerson, 30

Listening to people in pain.
Staff Writer
05/09/2011 - 20:00

Thoughts of a career in medicine began at the dinner table. Edith Meyerson’s father, a cardiologist, described his healing work. Meyerson recognized “a sacred element” in medicine.

Her eventual career also began at the family’s dinner table. One college semester of chemistry “kicked my butt.” “What do you want to do now?” her father asked. Something to make people’s lives “a little better,” she answered. “What about a rabbi?” he asked.

Rabbi Edith Meyerson
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