CTL Winter Fellowships 2014
Every year, we are delighted to welcome back a significant number of alumni who choose to spend their winter break in Yeshiva.
Following last year’s successful pilot, CTL is pleased to once again provide a program specifically catering for visiting alumni currently in College as well as fellowships for successful candidates who display leadership involvement and potential.
Following a difficult selection process, we are proud to present the 2014 CTL Winter Fellows and their leadership statements:
Joey's past leadership experiences include serving as co-captain of the Model UN and debate teams in high school as well as co-editor in chief of "Ruach Seara", the SAR Judaic studies publication.
More relevant, though, are his current leadership roles and ambitions: as a student at Yale University, Joey is Gabbai of the Orthodox minyan and hopes to increase his involvement over the course of the next four years. Yale's community is a small one and it is his hope that, through communal leadership and commitment, he can work to foster an environment that values Talmud Torah and encourages students to think about their avodat Hashem in an intellectually stimulating manner. The hope is to create a community of ovdei Hashem concerned with avodat Hashem in the context of an overwhelmingly secular environment.
Joseph Benedyk has been strongly interested in, and active within, several organisations and institutions, taking on various leadership positions within them. Such activities began at JFS School, Joseph’s high school (the largest Jewish school in Europe) where he was elected to both the Head Boy/Head Girl Team and was the official JFS Israel Ambassador. He was also twice awarded the ‘Contribution to the Jewish Life of the School Award’. This was alongside being a representative on the charity committee for several years.
Outside of school, he was the head of his local branch of Bnei Akiva. While at Yeshiva, Joseph was an Editor-In-Chief of Al Kanfei Nesharim, a published book of lectures and essays written by the students and Rabbis of Shana Bet Talmidim 2014.
Studying Human, Social and Political Science at Cambridge University in England, Joseph is an active member in the Jewish Society where he is a student in the Halacha programme, hoping to take the exam on Hilchot Shabbat as part of the London Montefiore Semicha Programme. In the future, Joseph plans to make Aliyah and actively participate in leadership positions engaged with the political scene and also hopes be involved with chinuch.
After returning from his year in Yeshivat Har Etzion, Daron Biddle took on the role of being a madrich in Bnei Akiva South Africa, where he also assumed the position of sgan Rosh gurim.
Daron had previously been involved in leadership programs through Bnei Akiva South Africa. He attended Kfar in 2010 and MTA in 2013. Both of these programs are aimed at creating and educating the future leaders of the movement and the community as a whole.
During high school, Judah Eisenman was a Gabai Rishon for both his school minyan and his shul minyan.
In yeshiva, he ran the tissue gemach on the Rampah. In his first year in University he has given multiple chaburot and has many chavrutot with students at Maryland.
This year, he is also helping to organize a learning program once a week at one of his local shuls, Ohev Shalom in Washington DC.
Josh's leadership roles manifest themselves in different areas. Currently, he is a student at Cooper Union. In addition to his active roles in community, he sets aside time to learn in the NYU kollel, which acts as a beacon for the larger NYU/Cooper Jewish community.
Using his computer skills and his passion for Torah, he has created a website called TorahSummary.com, where he writes summaries of Tanach and Gemara for people all over the world to use to remember their learning. Using his summaries, he has also given shiurim helping others memorize what each Perek in Chumash is about. Additionally, using sefaria.org's Torah database (which he has helped contribute to) he is making a Torah app which will contain countless Torah texts with many English translations (it will be possibly be the largest database of Torah on a phone).
After college, Josh plans on making Aliyah, where he hopes and knows that he will find more opportunities to help the Jewish community, because our role in helping the Jewish community and working towards making the world a better place is never over.
Yair Katz is currently in his first year of Medical School at the University of Witwatersrand. After spending a year and a half at Yeshivat Har Etzion, he spent half a year at Bar Ilan University, where he studied in the kollel while studying Mathematics and Computers. Throughout his time at Bar Ilan he would constantly return to the Yeshiva as that was his "home" in Israel.
Back in South Africa while at university, he was the Johannesburg Bnei Akiva Treasurer as well as the treasurer for Winter Camp in 2014 while also being a Madrich for the Avichai shichvah.
Yair hopes to spend this [Southern Hemisphere] summer holiday both giving to his community by being a madrich on the Bnei Akiva summer camp as well as strengthening himself by returning to yeshiva for a few weeks.
While growing up in Brookline, MA, Adam Kramer led the Young Israel of Brookline Teen Minyan for two years, and organized teen laining of megillot for the main minyan for holidays. At the conclusion of his senior year, he was honored at his shul’s annual dinner with the young leader’s award. When he returned from Yeshiva in July 2014, Adam continued to contribute to his close-knit Brookline community by giving a well-received dvar Torah at seudat shelishit and laining for his shul multiple times, and plans to continue to show support and leadership for his hometown community whenever possible.
While in high school, Adam co-founded an Israel advocacy group that brought in guest speakers, and he attended many AIPAC events and conferences. From 2012-2014, he worked for the pro-Israel advocacy organization Americans for Peace and Tolerance. As both researcher and social media manager, he played a key role in many of their projects such as a film documenting anti-Semitism at a university campus and a successful campaign to expose the use of biased textbooks in public suburban middle schools.
Adam’s support of Israel and leadership in many aspects of yahadut continue to be strengthened by the strong relationships and values he developed at Yeshivat Har Etzion.
Matthew has taken numerous leadership positions in the communities he has been a part of. In high school, he headed the MJBHA Chesed Committee, served on the Student Government, and held various responsibilities in his shul, including Simchat Torah and Yom Haatzmaut programming and Shiva house laining coordination.
During his time at Yeshivat Har Etzion (2012-2014), he oversaw the student-led 'chaburas' leading up to Chanuka and Pesach, as well as the live-feed English translation project for Hebrew shiurim given in the Beit Midrash.
While he has only just started university at Princeton, he looks forward to assuming leadership roles within the Orthodox community there in the coming months and years, as well as the possibility of pursuing a position in Jewish community leadership professionally.
Matt Landes is currently studying Philosophy and Economics at Columbia University and is currently involved in the various Torah learning opportunities that are offered in Columbia.
Matt tries to have a presence in the Beit Midrash in Columbia in a way that can be welcoming for anyone who ventures in to learn. He strives to be less of someone who teaches in the Beit Midrash, but more of someone that is willing to learn with anyone. Hopefully this role can be something that does not just stay in Columbia and will something of value for many years to come.
Before Columbia and Yeshivat Har Etzion, Matt was very involved in student life in SAR High School as the president of the student body and the co-head of the Heimishe Club. He also had a stint as a counselor in Camp Moshava.
Yacov feels blessed to have spent an amazing year at Yeshivat Har Etzion where he was given the strength and the direction to foster his own Jewish life as well as those around him on a secular college campus.
He currently attends an iyun shiur thrice weekly at the Columbia Hillel, and prepares for shiur with his chevruta from Yeshiva. He also feels blessed with being able to share his Torah and Jewish passion with those around him, teaching Torah every week to unaffiliated Jews, which he hopes to foster into a fixed class geared toward an appreciation of Talmud study.
Aaron has previously worked as a liaison to his high school for Norpac, a pro Israel-America relations political action committee. He was the captain and coach of the chess team. He also helped organize and presented the program for Yom Hashoah at SAR.
Now in University of Pennsylvania, Aaron has taken a leadership position in the political branch of PIPAC, the university's pro Israel political action committee. Already a member of Tamid Israel investment group, he plans to advance to a leadership role in the upcoming years. Additionally, he will be conducting independent research for Wharton undergraduate school in his second semester of freshman year. He hopes to lead a research team as a junior or senior.
Akiva has served in a number of leadership roles. He served as President of Student Council at Westchester Day School and then in his high-school career at Torah Academy of Bergen County (TABC). He has loved his time at Camp Stone as a camper and has been involved as a staff member and counselor there for the past three years. There he has found a passion in working with teens and children as well as a love for experiential Jewish education.
Akiva has also been involved in the National Jewish Council for Disabilities for the past 6 years, last year serving as the President of the Yachad Israel branch. Currently he serves as a Yachad advisor in the New York tri-state area.
Akiva currently studies at Yeshiva University, majoring in psychology and runs the Teen Minyan at the Hebrew Institute of White Plains. He has loved all of the leadership roles he has been able to play throughout his life. While he is still unsure of the exact profession he will pursue, he hopes that through whatever he does he will be able to make a difference in the Jewish and global community.
Currently a junior at Yeshiva University, Chaim has involved himself in many different areas within the YU community. He serves as Vice President of Yeshiva University's Honors Student Council, a member of the Shabbos Enhancement Committee of both the Wilf and Beren campuses, and as a member of the Student Athletes Committee. Chaim has also been an active participant in YU’s Center for the Jewish Future, taking part in programs such as Torah Tours, bringing shiurim and ruach to communities across the country over various chagim, and Coast To Coast, where he learned about developing Jewish communities in the US.
Chaim teaches at the Friday Kollel at TABC (his former high school), helping high school students learn Gemara. Chaim spent this past summer in Israel on YU and Bar Ilan University’s undergraduate research program doing research in physics while serving as gabbai and Maggid shiur of daf yomi.
Chaim values his experiences at Yeshivat Har Etzion and whenever he has the chance to be in Israel he makes sure to spend time learning in the Gush Beit Midrash, whether he is in Israel for research or educational purposes. He aspires to do as much as he can for the Jewish community whether professionally or as a layman.
Dovi Nadel is the founder of Yeshiva University's Tanach Club, and currently the Editor-in-Chief of Yeshiva Universty's Journal of Jewish Thought, Kol Hamevaser, a board member of SHEM- Yeshiva University's Student Holocaust Educational Movement, the Undersecretary General for Yeshiva University's Model United Nations, a Madrich (and formerly a national board member) for Bnei Akiva of US and Canada, and an intern at Rabbi Fohrman's innovative Aleph Beta website.
He spends his summers at Camp Stone where he has served as madrich for many summers and most recently served as the Rosh Beit Midrash creating and implementing an innovative educational curriculum for over 400 campers.
He is currently a senior at Yeshiva University majoring in Jewish Philosophy, pursuing a Masters in Bible, and in his first year of Semicha.
Growing up in his community in London, Naphtali was heavily involved in his community’s Youth Minyan, eventually becoming Gabbai. He was a madrich at his local Bnei Akiva and became sgan of his snif, madrich on camp, and also led an Israel tour for British teenagers.
He has just started studying in Cambridge University, whose Jewish community is entirely student run. Having gained a feel for the community, he hopes in the coming term to implement ideas to improve the community. He feels privileged to have had an inspiring and enlightening time in Yeshivat Har Etzion and hopes to share that as much as possible with people in university, both in terms of the Torah he can share and the atmosphere he hopes to work towards.
In the long term, Naphtali hopes to be involved in chinuch and tzorchei tzibbur.
In the past, Gavriel has been the Head of a Charity Department, Madrich at nine camps (2008-2014), Mazkir of a Youth Movement, Youth Director of a Synagogue and held various other leadership positions.
He is currently involved in formal education as a Jewish studies teacher in a High School and a Cheder teacher in synagogue.
In the future, Gavriel plans on becoming a Community Rabbi.
Shalom Rosenbaum is currently involved in a number of leadership roles. He enjoys teaching a chabura every Friday at his former high school, DRS. Additionally, he is an advisor for the Central East region of NCSY. His goal in both of these roles is to help teenagers from different backgrounds connect with Judaism and Torah on a deeper level.
In the past, Shalom has been a shoel u'mashiv and chaburah leader at the Mesorah BMP to help more advanced teenagers refine their Torah learning abilities. Shalom hopes to use all of these experiences to refine his teaching and leadership abilities. He hopes to use these either as a professional michanech or as leader in his community.
Why is the command of "Lo Yimosh Sefer HaTorah HaZeh MiPicha..." only spoken to Yehoshua Bin Nun? An axiom that, prima facie, is so central to the ethos of Jewish existence should certainly be given attention within the first five books of the Torah. The Tosefta in Sanhedrin (4:9) cryptically articulates an explanation. Chazal say that if Yehoshua had to meditate on the Torah day and night, a fortiori, we must do the same.
Yehoshua was arguably the busiest man in Jewish history. Taking over for the awe-inspiring Moshe Rabbeinu, Yehoshua was left with leading Bnei Yisrael across the Yarden, conquering formidable foes, and settling Eretz Yisrael. His list of colossal chores was interminable. Despite the impossible constraints on his time, Yehoshua is the leader the Torah instructs to contemplate the complexity of Torah day and night. Hashem is sending every Jew in every generation a stark and profound message to follow Yehoshua's example and make rumination on the Torah a sine qua non of daily life.
Yeshivat Har Etzion has certainly used the archetypal message of Yehoshua's leadership in crafting its Yeshiva program and Center for Torah Leadership. It is my hope that as a Center for Torah Leadership fellow, I will continue to strive to reify Yeshivat Har Etzion's noble goal of bringing the supernal into all my endeavors.
Arthur Schoen has spent many Summers as a staff member at Camp Stone. He began his career there at the young age of fifteen as a shiur teacher, teaching Torah and attempting to inspire children of various ages.
The next two years he worked as a counselor, partnering and working under many proud alumni of our alma mater. Finally, this past summer he served as a "Rosh eidah", a division head, for campers entering sixth grade. He was proud to serve on an upper administration of camp in which more than half of the young leaders were alumni of Har Etzion institutions.
He also has looked for leadership opportunities outside of camp, whether it be leading a drive to pack pesach goods for an Atlanta food bank in twelfth grade as chapter president of NHS or frequently giving shiurim/Chaburos, davening, and learning when home.
Jonah Sieger is a 20 year-old alumnus of Yeshivat Har Etzion who hails from Los Angeles, California. He is currently a Freshman enrolled in the Sy Syms School of Business Honors program.
Most of Jonah's leadership roles have come at his local Shul, Shaarey Tzedek. Throughout his teenage years, Jonah was an Assistant Gabbai at the Teen Minyan. Unexpectedly, upon his Pre-Pesach return from a second year in Yeshivat Har Etzion, he was asked to be the adult overseer of the teen minyan until he left for SSSB at the end of August. There he assured that the davening ran smoothly week in and week out, and gave a weekly Dvar Torah. Furthermore, that summer, Jonah was a Head-Staff Member of Summer@Etta, a summer day experience for participants with special needs.
Jonah is leaning towards getting Semicha and pursuing a career in "Avodas Hakodesh".
Oren Smith’s aspirations for leadership began during his time in Yeshivat Har Etzion and his involvement in the MTA Program. The Yeshiva's message to undertake responsibility for your community has been an inspiration and a steadfast pillar in his life since leaving.
Oren has been a Madrich of Bnei Akiva Melbourne, the largest snif outside of Israel. In 2013 he was Director of the Limmud Program - organizing the weekly Talmud Torah activities for Chanichim ages 9- 18, Director of the largest annual fundraiser for the movement and Director of Religion on both Winter and Summer Camps. In 2014, he was Treasurer and Director of Bnei Akiva.
For the past two years, he has become a significant member of the Kollel Torah Mitzion Beit Midrash in Melbourne and focuses on bringing the youth of the community to experience Torah. He hopes to continue his leadership both in Bnei Akiva and hopefully in a more formalized role in the Beit Midrash and beyond that become a community leader within my community when he makes Aliyah.
In 2012, Elon was awarded a Bronfman Youth Fellowship. As a result, he joined a diverse community that brings together hundreds of Jews from different backgrounds in the hope that they learn and grown from one another. In this capacity, Elon has been afforded the opportunity to represent Orthodox Judaism to a wide range of Jews and to act as a leader. Elon maintains relationships with many of the community members and enjoys learning and growing with them.
As a freshman at Princeton University, Elon has the unique opportunity to contribute to a small, yet growing, Orthodox Jewish community. On an average day, Elon can be found leading a minyan, giving over a chaburah, or simply discussing Torah Judaism with another student. Elon also works together with other Yeshivat Har Etzion alumni at Princeton to improve the Beit Medrash learning programs as the Jewish community prepares to expand.
Elon occasionally participates in dialogue meetings with other student groups on campus. At such meetings, Elon acts as a leader and a representative of Judaism, and hearkens back to knowledge and skills gained in Yeshiva to make a positive impact on the larger university community.
Prior to attending Yeshivat Har Etzion, Ari helped serve the local Jewish community by actively participating in the Youth minyan of his Shul, Laining and Davening when needed. In the general community, he has served on the township youth advisory board. This is in addition to the volunteer work he conducted after Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, helping clean up the devastation.
Currently, Ari maintains his commitment to the Jewish community by continuing to provide services for the minyan in his Shul. In addition, Ari spent the summer of 2014 in Washington D.C. working on Capitol Hill. He embraced a leadership role in the community as he davened from the amud and filled an occasional void in the absence of the Rabbi by reciting the daily Halacha.
As a First Year Student at Yeshiva University, Ari serves as an assistant in a public middle school classroom in the local Washington Heights, New York community. This is an extension of the work he did while at Yeshivat Har Etzion, tutoring a student once a week at the local school in Alon Shevut. As an alumnus of Yeshivat Har Etzion combined with the continued support of the CTL program, Ari hopes to engage in further leadership positions to continue providing for the Jewish and secular communities.
During his time in Yeshivat Har Etzion, Avraham organized a program of chaburot in Tanach for shana bet students. This series inspired a Sefer titled “Al Kanfei Nesharim” with the chaburot that were produced by participants in the program as well as additional articles by the shana bet students and yeshiva staff. Avraham served as Editor-in-Chief of this sefer and also ran successful shabbatonim at an Ethiopian Absorption Center in BeerSheva.
Avraham is now a first year student at Yeshiva University and was elected to the Yeshiva University Honors Student Council where he helps organize activities for the Honors program. He is also a NCSY regional advisor in Roslyn. This past summer Avraham served as the BMP (Beit Midrash Program) coordinator and head of educational content at camp Morasha. In that context he produced educational content for chaburot and mishmar programs with the campers, as well as helping run tisches and shiurim.
Avraham aspires to a career in chinuch, and hopes to continue to grow as a leader and scholar in order to ultimately have a very positive impact on Klal Yisrael.
As a freshman in his first semester at Columbia University, Yoni Zolty has primarily spent his time adjusting to a new environment and learning to balance his secular studies with time for Talmud Torah. Nonetheless, he has had the opportunity of joining the Beit Midrash Committee at Columbia/Barnard Hillel.
Yoni, along with a few others, organized a Mishmar every Thursday night for two hours. Together, they plan on expanding Mishmar to become a nightly event.
Personally, over the next several years he hopes to be able to contribute to the Jewish community at Columbia. Primarily, this will be in the realms of Talmud Torah and the Beit Midrash, but perhaps in other areas as well such as chesed.
To see last year's Winter Fellows, click here.