18 local young men and women honored for bringing Jewish learning to life

WHIPPANY, NJ — The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life recently announced the first cohort of “18 Under 18 Who Bring Jewish Learning to Life.” The contest was open to all middle and high school students in Greater MetroWest New Jersey and challenged them to write an essay demonstrating meaningful connections between their activities, passions or hobbies and Jewish textual sources.

Fifty applications were submitted from students in grades six through 11 and were judged by Jeffrey Korbman, national campaign director of NCSY;  Abby Meth Kanter, the executive editor of New Jersey Jewish News; and Vicki Weber, partner and chief marketing officer at Behrman House.

“This contest provoked young people to consider the things that are important to them defined by number of hours that they invest in these activities, and to reflect on what Jewish wisdom has to say about it,” Robert Lichtman, executive director of The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, said in the release.  “Our goal, regardless of who actually ‘won’ the contest was to have young people engage in Jewish sources and explore their relevance to things that matter to them.”

Entrants were provided with educational coaches who helped them develop the Jewish themes and search for relevant Jewish texts to support the ideas expressed in their essays.

The 18 Under 18 Who Bring Jewish learning to Life are:

  • Cecelia Ashenberg of Livingston, an eighth-grader at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston;
  • Julia Balick of Kinnelon, a junior at Kinnelon High School;
  • Rina Blumberg of East Windsor, a junior at Bruriah High School for Girls in Elizabeth;
  • Jacob Colchamiro of Short Hills, a seventh-grader at JKHA in Livingston;
  • Sam Epstein of Randolph, a freshman at Randolph High School;
  • Stacy Fiszer, a sophomore at Morris County School of Technology in Denville;
  • Macy Gimbel, a sophomore at Morris County School of Technology in Denville;
  • Rose Ginsberg of Livingston, a junior at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston;
  • Rivki Hook, a sophomore at Bruriah High School for Girls in Elizabeth;
  • Emma Joy of South Orange, a sophomore at Columbia High School in Maplewood;
  • Quinn Joy of South Orange, a seventh-grader at South Orange Middle School;
  • Daniel Rubin, a junior at Whippany Park High School in Whippany;
  • Sam Russo of Randolph, a sophomore at Golda Och Academy in West Orange;
  • Alexis Santoro of Cranford, a freshman at Cranford High School;
  • Jason Singer of Livingston, a seventh-grader at JKHA in Livingston;
  • Sophia Sinins of Short Hills, a sophomore at Kent Place School in Summit;
  • Devora Slonim of West Orange, an eighth-grader at JKHA in Livingston; and
  • Shoshana Zeiger of Randolph, a sixth-grader at Randolph Middle School.

Each of the winners and their families are invited to a gala banquet on June 5 at which time they will be recognized by the community and will receive a certificate and an Israel Bond, valued at $250. They will also be featured in a special supplement of New Jersey Jewish News.

Their essays may be read by going to www.ThePartnershipNJ.org/18winners.

“18 Under 18 Who Bring Jewish Learning to Life” was funded by a grant of the Herb and Milly Iris Youth and Family Philanthropy Endowment of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey. The endowment turned to The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life to create a unique opportunity to honor Herb and Milly’s legacy.

The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life is the Jewish identity building organization of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey and a beneficiary of its UJA campaign.

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