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36 Under 36 2009: Jen Taylor Friedman, 29

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 f you’re looking to learn the intricacies of writing a Torah from Jen Taylor Friedman, the first woman in history to write a Torah and adopt the title of soferet, female Torah scribe, you might want to start now, because she’s looking to leave the country.

 

 

36 Under 36 2009: Jake Spinowitz, 18

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 Born with severe hearing loss, Jake Spinowitz was fitted for hearing aids at age 1. Every few years, as technology improved, he upgraded to a new pair. Then, during his freshmen year of high school, he woke up one morning and everything was muted. "It was scary," the Woodbury, L.I., teen says. "Even with the hearing aids, I couldn’t hear anything." Three months later, he underwent a successful cochlear implant surgery.

36 Under 36 2009: Guma Aguiar, 33

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

Just as the economy began to dip further into recession and traditional funding sources were slashing their giving, Guma Aguiar appeared on the scene. The self-made businessman who divides his time between New York, South Florida, and Jerusalem has emerged as a new — and significant— force in Jewish philanthropy. He made headlines when he donated $8 million to Nefesh B’Nefesh, which promotes North American aliyah. Other big gifts include half a million to March of the Living and another $500,000 to sponsor worldwide Passover sederim through Chabad.

36 Under 36 2009: Gilad Hekselman, 26

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 Gilad Hekselman moved to the United States just five years ago, but already the Israeli jazz guitarist has drawn comparisons to young but fully formed stringed icons like the late Jaco Pastorius and Scott LaFaro. Hekselman is honored, but not quite indebted. In an interview, Hekselman said he looked to other instruments than his own for inspiration, from the ruminative piano lines of Brad Mehldau to the cerebral saxophone riffs of Mark Turner. "To be honest, jazz guitarists aren’t my main influence," Hekselman says.

36 Under 36 2009: Elizabeth Samson, 30

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 Frustrated by the way people can manipulate legal systems and demonize innocent victims, young lawyer Elizabeth Samson hopes to make free speech more of a reality in the world and crush a practice that she calls "libel tourism." Samson equates libel tourism to international forum shopping, where plaintiffs look for a court in the country that will likely provide the most favorable outcomes for their cases. Often, such cases involve terror financing.

36 Under 36 2009: Elana Stein Hain, 28

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 While an undergraduate at Columbia, Elana Stein Hain divided her day in two. Half a day, she took courses in history and other subjects. During the other half, she studied Talmud with a chavruta. "I created my own dual-curriculum," she says. "I wanted to spend the bulk of my day surrounded by Jewish texts."

36 Under 36 2009: Dr. Robert Grunstein, 35

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 Dr. Robert Grunstein has always been a car and truck guy. So when he heard that an old municipal fire truck was up for sale ("the holy grail for car guys," he says), he bought it. The fire truck cost him $5,000; converting it into a mobile dental unit and taking out the water tank set him back $50,000. "It had a new motor and perfect transmission," Grunstein gushes. It’s the perfect vehicle, he says, for combating the "tsunami of bad teeth."

36 Under 36 2009: Deena Greenberg, 22

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 As soon as she heard that the University of Pennsylvania had cancelled its program for study in Israel for the spring semester, Penn Hillel President Deena Greenberg knew she couldn’t stand still.

36 Under 36 2009: Daniel Rouach, 27

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 In recent years, the Upper West Side has seen an influx of French, Moroccan, and Israeli Jews. Daniel Rouach is one of them. He grew up in France, graduated as a computer science engineer, and came to the U.S. in 2004 to attend the International Business School at Brandeis. There, he became close with the Chabad rabbi, Rabbi Peretz Chein, who encouraged him to learn more about his Jewish heritage.

36 Under 36 2009: Daniel Max Kestin, 28

Staff Writer
04/24/2009

 By day, Daniel Max Kestin designs intricate software programs that help companies run smoother. By night, he does pretty much the same thing. For free.

Since 2001, Kestin has served as Chief Technology Officer for Hazon, a non-profit organization that seeks to increase health and sustainability in the Jewish community. He built the organization’s Web site and then helped to transform it from its original basic operation to a complex site that can be accessed by many volunteers.

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