Two weeks before receiving his diploma from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, Yoav Sivan was shaking hands with none other than the president of the United States and hugging the first lady at the annual White House Correspondents dinner.
Sivan is a journalist, political activist and gay rights proponent from Tel Aviv, and the second Columbia Journalism graduate student ever — and first Israeli — to receive a White House Correspondents Association fellowship for his studies.
Bringing spirituality to Brooklyn — hippies need not apply
For Yael Shy and Alison Laichter, sitting down together for a morning meditation was just part of their daily routine as roommates. Two years ago, nearly a decade after meeting on a Birthright Israel trip, Shy and Laichter both got jobs in New York — Shy as director of development and education at the NYU Center on Violence and Recovery, and Laichter as an urban planner for the city — and they decided to room together.
The many identities of Charlie Schwartz rarely come together in one person: Oberlin College alum, Israel Defense Forces veteran, rabbinical student, independent minyan leader and co-founder of a YouTube-like website. Last month he added another role to the list: father.
Like most professional boxers, Dmitriy Salita spends hours each day training. Though he lost a junior welterweight championship fight last year, he is hoping for another title shot. Like some boxers, he spends hours each day studying. He’s a business major at Touro College.
Most people have one turkey to worry about on Thanksgiving, but Stephen Rutman had over 500. Last November, Rutman, a senior at The Dalton School in Manhattan, helped give out hundreds of Thanksgiving meals as part of his job as co-director of the Park Avenue Synagogue soup kitchen.
Taking feminism and Judaism seriously, and putting it in print
Danya Ruttenberg grew up fiercely liberal. Her family attended a Reform synagogue in Chicago, but she says, “I was a cranky atheist ... the feminism came early and was never really questioned.” During her last year at Brown University, the death of her mother prompted her to rethink religion. She began sitting shiva, praying, asking the cosmic sort of questions that a strictly realist view of the world could not alone answer.
“I felt threatened by it,” she says of her sudden spirituality.
Several numbers structure Susanne Goldstone Rosenhouse’s life. There’s 613, the number of mitzvot that Orthodox Jews like herself observe. And then there’s 140, the character limit on Twitter, where Rosenhouse spends much of her workday.
Hindy Poupko’s life as a public figure began while she was growing up in Montreal. The middle child in a rabbinic family, born between two sets of twins — “Twins, Hindy, Twins” — she would deliver divrei Torah at Shabbat meals, join rallies outside of embassies and accompany her father, Rabbi Reuben Poupko, to interviews at TV stations.
Encouraging young Jews to care for the global community
After visiting relatives in Israel during the Gaza war, and attending four days of intensive briefings with heads of intelligence and military leaders, Daniel Pincus boarded a plane bound for Qatar. He was the only Jew to attend the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow Conference in the Islamic kingdom’s capital city.
Through his interfaith work as chair of ACCESS NY — the young leadership branch of the American Jewish Committee — Pincus has become involved with New York’s young Muslim community.