Currently, OTZMA XXIII (2008-2009) has 53 participants from 27 different communities across North America. The group is extremely diverse coming from many different backgrounds.
Please see below to learn more about this years group!
Adam Resnick (Phoenix, AZ)
I am a recent graduate from the University of Arizona with a degree in psychology and a minor in Business administration. While in school, I volunteered at the University Medical Center and worked in the University of Arizona sleep lab. I am originally from Phoenix, Arizona, where my family belonged to the reform Temple Kol Ami. I have been to Israel once as a participant with Birthright in the Winter of 2007.
Aliza Gases (Monmouth, NJ/Middlesex, NJ)
Aliza is a recent graduate of the University of Hartford with a major in Early Childhood Education and Judaic Studies. During college Aliza was an active participant in both Hillel and Chabad . She was involved in the Jewish community while in West Hartford, CT by teaching Hebrew School and by being a USY advisor. She comes from a traditional conservative home in East Brunswick, NJ and as a grandaughter of a Holocaust survivor was motivated to attend the March of the Living in 2004 with BBYO.
Allison White (Atlanta, GA)
Allison is a recent graduate from Appalachian State University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. While at Appalachian, Allison was the Vice-President and then President of Hillel, as well as a coordinator for the Student Leadership Center. She has also spent many summers in Canada working at a Jewish camp called Camp White Pine. Allison has never been to Israel and is very excited to be apart of OTZMA.
Ashley Oliva (Los Angeles, CA)
Ashley just completed a year of service to AmeriCorps as literacy coordinator of KOREH L.A. She organized 150 volunteers and connected them to 30 schools serving the needs of Los Angeles public elementary school children. Ashley was an honors graduate in 2007 of Mt. San Antonio College with an Associates Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. She is a 2007 Birthright Israel alum and after OTZMA looks forward to continuing her education in the field of social sciences in Northern California.
Avi Rozman (Metro West, NJ)
Avi graduated in May 2008 from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Economics and Finance. Avi’s other interests include sports, art, travel and volunteer work. As an undergraduate, Avi spent his summers interning at several architecture and real estate firms. He is spending his post-graduate summer travelling through Israel and Europe.
Becky Segal (Philadelphia, PA)
Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Becky Graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications and a concentration in Public Relations. She went on to work in the Events and Development Department at Foundation Fighting Blindness. Becky has danced for most of her life and she is eager to share her love of and talent for dance while in Israel.
Brandon Goldberg (Philadelphia, PA)
I grew up outside of Philadelphia and graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelors of Specialized studies in Political Science and History. I was a proud member of AEII and Phi Alpha Delta Law fraternity and the representative for Greek Life in the OU Student Senate. I am currently a swim teacher and life guard but will soon be applying to either law or grad school in the Philadelphia area.
Brian Friedman (Metro West, NJ)
Brian, a New Jersey native, graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's in journalism and a minor in Spanish. During his tenure at Maryland, he wrote for his college paper and other professional publications. He spent his junior spring semester abroad in Seville, Spain, and he is interested in sports, global cultures, middle eastern history and falafel.
Carly Rosenthaler (Philadelphia, PA)
Carly recently graduated from Penn State University where she received her B.A. in Public Relations. After graduating in May, she worked as an event planner for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the Philadelphia region. Carly first visited Israel during July 2007 as a Birthright participant through the trip organizer Oranim, and in May 2008 she was a staff member for an Oranim trip. After her first time in Israel a year ago on BR, she decided she had to come back to immerse herself in Israeli culture and experience Israel from a different point of view.
Cheri Bienstock (New York, NY)
Cheri graduated from the Universtiy of Delaware with a B.S. in Animal Science and Biology. Since graduating she has been involved with the start up of a non profit teen mentoring program called Dreams in Growth. During the summer of 2007 she also spent a couple of weeks in Kiryat Shemona volunteering with Livnot U’Lehibanot.
Dana Silberstein (Boston, MA)
Dana just graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Math. While at Dartmouth, Dana was a coxswain for the lightweight men's rowing team, programming vice president for Alpha Xi Delta sorority, and studied digital animation, Hebrew, Spanish and Italian. Dana's love for travel began with a trip to Israel with the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston in 8th grade, and she has been looking forward to returning ever since.
Danielle Israel (Boston, MA)
Danielle is a recent graduate from the University of New Hampshire as a Psychology major in the university's honors program. In addition to being a Red Sox fan, she enjoys running, skiing, hiking, and traveling. At UNH, Danielle was a counselor in the student organization Freshman Camp, was part of past Alternative Break Challenge trips to Kansas City and Nicaragua, and spent her spring 2007 semester abroad in Ireland. Danielle has participated in Hillel events at UNH, and is part of her reform congregation at Temple Isaiah in Lexington, MA. Right after graduation, Danielle visited Israel on a Birthright trip.
David Kleinstein (New York, NY)
Originally from Long Island, New York, David has just completed his education at Brandeis University and received his degree in economics. This is David’s first organized trip to Israel, though he has previously volunteered with the American Jewish World Service on a mission to Honduras. David cares very deeply about helping his fellow man and believes strongly in the tenets of Tikkun Olam.
Devorah Serkin (New York, NY)
Devorah, graduated from Binghamton University in 2007 with a BA in History and Judaic Studies. She currently is a Development Associate for Hillel International in their NY office. She pursues yoga, and singing in her down time. Having never been in Israel for more than 2 weeks at a time she is excited to have the opportunity of becoming more than just an American tourist.
Diana Wilson (Chicago, IL)
Diana is a recent graduate from the University of Redlands, with a degree in Sociology & Anthropology, and a minor in music. She is originally from Skokie, Illinois, where she was active in Reform Judaism throughout her childhood and high school. Diana loves all of the arts in addition to music, and enjoys drawing and painting in particular. Diana has worked as a camp counselor and a nanny/personal assistant, as well as at Barnes & Noble, for a Jewish day school, and as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor. Diana has been to Israel twice before, on two ten-day trips, in 8th grade and during her senior year of high school.
Eilan Levkowitz (New Orleans)
Eilan graduated with a degree in Biochemistry from Ithaca College in upstate New York. After graduation, he returned home and volunteered at Children's Hospital until he accepted a job as a Forensic DNA Technician at a Genetic testing lab. Eilan has spent time traveling to India, Nepal, Egypt and Jordan. This past summer he was a staff member for Young Judaea's summer Israel program.
Elisa Herrmann (Los Angeles, LA)
Elisa is originally from Santa Monica, California and just graduated from UCLA with a degree in International Development Studies and a minor in Hebrew and Jewish Studies. While at UCLA she helped charter and served as the first President of the Eta chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi Sorority. She also was active in Hillel at UCLA's Tzedek program, attending Alternative Spring Break to New Orleans and co-leading a group of 20 students to Rural Appalachia in Tennessee for an Alternative Spring Break.
Elise Loterman (Toronto, CAN)
Elise is a graduate of York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with a double major in Psychology and Religious Studies. She was very involved in USY throughout high school and has continued her involvement with the movement as a staff member for both USY and Kadima throughout college. During university, she was involved in Jewish Student Life and was the Vice President of Hillel at York University. She also worked on swim staff at Camp Ramah in California for 3 summers. Elise loves to travel and has explored various parts of Europe, North America, Israel and even spent time in Uganda last summer!
Elizabeth Snell (New York, NY)
Originally from New York City, Elizabeth recently graduated from Lehigh University with a Bachelors of Science in Supply Chain Management and a minor in Creative Writing. While in college she served on two peer mentoring committees, as well as actively participated in her sorority, Alpha Phi. Elizabeth has been to Israel three times, most recently returning to Volunteer with Sar-El in January 2008.
Emily Saft (San Diego, CA)
Emily is a recent graduate of Chapman University with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. There she competed on the swim team and was an active member of her sorority, Alpha Phi. Since a very young age, Emily has competed in swimming and in high school, enjoyed teaching children how to swim. Emily continued her education at Cal State San Marcos, where she received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in 2007. She grew up in San Diego, California and her family belongs to a reform congregation there. Emily most recently returned from her Birthright experience in July 2008, and couldn't wait the opportunity to return to Israel.
Erica Sobel (South Palm Beach, FL)
Erica is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a masters degree in elementary education. She has had several internships at elementary schools throughout her college experience. Erica was born and raised in Langehorne, Pennsylvania but has been living in South Florida since she was 13. She has worked as a camp counselor at camp GreenLane in Pennsylvania as well as a day camp counselor in Delray Beach. She has travelled to Israel on a Birthright trip in 2004 and again the following year to be a participant for the March of the Living.
Gabrielle Nazri (New York, NY)
Gabrielle is a recent graduate of SUNY Purchase College where she majored in Liberal Arts and minored in psychology. Amongst many leadership roles, she was President of her Hillel for two years and a Senior Resident Assistant at her school for three. Gabrielle spent summers as a camper and counselor at URJ's Kutz Camp and winters volunteering with various organziations around the US and Israel. Her interests lie in volunteer work, traveling, performing, cooking, and yoga.
Hillary Bailey (Hartford, CT)
Originally from New York City and currently residing in Manchester, CT, Hillary Bailey is recent graduate from Yale University with a double major in Economics and Classics. At Yale, Hillary became involved in many organizations and clubs including her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, in which she served as Treasurer, VP of Recruitment and Panhellenic Officer as well as the campus tabloid, The Rumpus, for which Hillary served as a Managing Editor. Hillary served as a student coordinator for Pan-Greek Shabbat dinners including Jewish members of Greek organizations at Yale and also as Jewish Life fellow for her residential college. A member of the National Maimonides Leadership Fellowship, Hillary is thrilled to return to Israel with OTZMA 23.
Ian Zucker (Denver, CO)
Ian M. Zucker graduated from Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff in May 2008. He majored in Political Science with a double minor in History as well as Women’s and Gender Studies. He will continue his education at the University of Birmingham, England for postgraduate studies in International Relations Theory in Fall 2009. Ian has given several lectures on “Jewish Feminism: Reform and Orthodox Concerns and Approaches to Change.” Additionally, he volunteered and gave a lecture at the inaugural “Limmud-Colorado.” This will be Ian’s second trip to Israel.
Ilana Arnowitz (Miami, FL)
Ilana just graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in English. Throughout her undergraduate career, Ilana was involved in promoting Israel activism on campus, as well as Jewish awareness. After Otzma, Ilana hopes to continue serving Israel by practicing international business law, with an emphasis on the development of joint-venture projects for Israeli start-up companies. She will continue her education at New York University's School of Law in Fall 2009.
Ilana Bonan (Miami, FL)
Ilana is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland with a degree in Government and Politics. She worked for the first campus based Homeland Security consortium on the study of terrorism and responses to terrorism. In her last semester, Ilana interned with the United Jewish Communities' office in Washington D.C., and just couldn't get away! In addition to law and politics, Ilana enjoys cooking, biking and reading. She was a member of her campus Hillel and Chabad and her family belongs to an Orthodox congregation.
Ilene Bloom (Wilmington, Delware)
Ilene is a recent graduate from the University of Delaware where she majored in Communication and minored in Jewish Studies and Leadership. While at school Ilene served as the president of KOACH, the conservative Jewish group on campus, was active in Hillel, and served as the philanthropic chair for Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority. In addition she taught 4th grade at Congregation Beth Shalom’s Hebrew school for three years. In her free time Ilene enjoys going to concerts, going to the movies, hiking and spending time with her friends.
Jackie Goldberg (New York, NY)
After graduating from Lehigh University in 2008, Jackie decided to take a year in Israel before entering the workforce full-time. Throughout high school she was involved in Bnai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO) and attended a Jewish camp for many years, Camp Kinder Ring. In 2004 she was a participant on Birthright and pledged to herself she would soon be back. Her most recent trip to Israel was in December 2008 when she volunteered for the army with Sar-el. Jackie loves to travel, stay active, and spend time with her family and friends.
Jackie Schreiber (New York, NY)
Jackie is a recent graduate of Emory University with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Journalism. During college, she studied abroad for a semester at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and interned for the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta during her senior year. She spent many summers with the URJ's Eisner Camp, and was an active member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority and Hillel throughout college. She also spent a summer in South Africa reporting for the Cape Times, Cape Town's morning newspaper.
Jamie Hoffberger (Baltimore, MD)
Jamie graduated in May from the University of Vermont with a Bachelors degree in Social Work. She spent the last year interning at a community center that helped refugees from Africa integrate into Vermont. This summer Jamie was an assistant teacher for a preschool program to give refugee children a chance to go to school and learn English. She has been to Israel twice and is very excited to go back and immerse herself in Israeli culture.
Jared Weinman (San Diego, CA)
Originally from San Diego, California, Jared is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, concentrating in history. Jared went to Israel on birthright in 2006 and is excited to return to Israel. He has spent time working at a summer camp, law firm, and internet start-up company in Silicon Valley. Jared is interested in nature, reading, traveling, world politics, sports, and music.
Jessica Robins (Detroit)
Jessica graduated from the University of Michigan in 2006 with a degree in Psychology and History of Art. While a student in Ann Arbor, Jessica was active in the Jewish community and spent her summers working at a local Jewish sleepover camp called Tamarack. Following university, Jessica moved to New York City where she taught in the South Bronx through Teach for America. Jessica taught both fifth and second grade.
Julia Resnick (Chicago, IL)
Julia is a recent graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine where she majored in Sociology with a focus on public health. As Hillel co-president she arranged for Bates College's first American Jewish World Service Alternative Spring Break trip, which took her group to do community service in Honduras. Julia visited Israel for the first time on a Birthright trip In December 2007. Growing up in Highland Park, IL, Julia was involved in Congregation Solel, a Reform synagogue. Julia also loves hiking and the outdoors, especially leading backpacking trips in the Colorado mountains
Justine Slovin (Phoenix, AZ)
Justine recently graduated from the University of Arizona, where she received a Master of Education degree, secondary teaching certificate, and B.A. in Spanish and Psychology. She has a passion for teaching, and spent much of her time during college working and volunteering as a tutor, teacher, and mentor for diverse groups of young people. Additionally, Justine was involved in Hillel as a student group co-chair and intern. Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, she has family and friends all over the world. Justine loves to travel, learn languages, and experience different cultures first-hand.
Kira Moskowitz (Minneapolis, MN)
Kira recently graduated from the George Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in sociology. While in college, she volunteered at a preschool for homeless children, worked as a fundraiser on behalf of her university's annual fund and also was a member of the campus Hillel. She studied abroad in Costa Rica and Argentina. She has been to Israel once before on Birthright in 2008.
Lara Greenberg (Dallas TX)
Lara recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Jewish Studies. Growing up, Lara was very involved in the Jewish community, attending the Solomon Schechter Academy of Dallas and holding several leadership positions in USY. While at UT, Lara volunteered extensively at Texas Hillel, serving as a Conservative Minyan chair for two terms as well as helping to plan the Traditional Pesach Seder three years in a row. Upon returning from Israel, Lara hopes to earn a graduate degree in clinical psychology.
Michael Bernstein (New York, NY)
Michael is recently graduated from Amherst College, where he majored in geology, swam on the swimming and diving team, and sang with the choral society. Michael decided to apply to OTZMA after an amazing first trip to Israel in January and is excited for his future, extended stay in the upcoming year.
Molly Chadis (Boston, MA)
This is Molly's first trip to Israel and she is looking forward to living, learning and working in Israel. Additionally, she is excited by the prospect of dedicating a year of service. Molly is a recent graduate of Smith College, where she studied Spanish and American Studies.
Nicole Miller (Detroit, MI)
Nicole recently graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Psychology and Specialization in Jewish Studies. In college, Nicole was active at Hillel and with the Jewish womens forum. Nicole was a member of Phi Sigma Pi and was involved in a variety of volunteer opportunities. Nicole was very excited by her birthright trip last summer and is excited to go back and give back.
Rachel Adams (Milwaukee, WI)
Rachel graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in Hebrew, Political Science, and International Studies. While in Madison, Rachel could be found on the synchronized skating team, teaching figure skating, or at UW Hillel. She is a past president of UW MadPAC (Madison-Israel Public Affairs Committee) and served on the Holocaust Remembrance Coalition. Rachel studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem during Spring 2007
Rachael Sonntag-Bloom (Sacramento, CA)
Rachael has been to Israel 4 times, and is looking forward to her fifth. Rachael graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Political Science in Spring 2006. Since then, Rachel has been living in Los Angeles and working at a Foundation that focuses on Civic Engagement.
Rebecca Tresarfreund (Los Angeles, CA)
Becca left her sunny LA hometown to brave the bitter winters at Northwestern University where she graduated with a major in Radio/TV/Film. At NU she split her time between racing back and forth on film sets and escaping to distant countries to do volunteer work and hopefully improve her tan. While in rural Ghana she danced to native drumbeats while teaching teens about HIV/AIDS and in Montivedeo, Uruguay she assisted in setting up a Hillel center. As much as she has enjoyed her international travels, Israel has always had a pull for her. And thus, she returns.
Rena Most (Philadelphia, PA)
Rena graduated this year from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Fine Arts. Upon her return home from Israel, she plans to attend the Joe Blasco School of Special Effects in NYC to become a Special Effects makeup artist. In high school Rena taught dance classes at the local YMCA and has always loved working with children. She is so excited to start her journey with her fellow OTZMA participants and explore the beautiful Israel.
Rina Gluckman (Metro West, NJ)
Rina graduated from New York University in May 2007 with a BA in Economics and a minor in Business. Throughout college, she participated in various marketing internships including SONY/BMG and NBC Studios. Rina also volunteered with NYU's Hillel and attended the 2005 Alternative Spring Break to Montivedeo Uruguay where she and 10 others built a community center for a local village and helped out at the Jewish Elderly Home. After graduation Rina worked for a large management consulting firm for 8 months until she quickly realized the corporate world was not for her. Rina enjoys pursuing entrepreneurial business ideas to help others, and leisure traveling.
Sarah Beckerman (Phoenix, AZ)
Sarah attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst and received a BA in history and political science. In high school she was extremely active in NFTY having served as programming and membership vice presidents on her temple youth board. In college, she was a member of Phi Sigma Pi National Co-Ed Honor Fraternity and served as my local chapters secretary, as well as the public relations and entertainment chair for the American Cancer Society's, Relay for Life. Growing up in an extremely Zionist home, and her father having been raised in Israel, and with a large extended family living there, she have always held a deep connection to my true homeland and she am very excited to finally have the opportunity to give back something to a place she hold so dear.
Suzanne Hyman (Baltimore, MD)
Suzanne recently graduated with High Honors from Emory University. She had a double major, one in English & Creative Writing and the other in Philosophy & Classics. Suzanne spent her junior year in Israel studying at Hebrew University and went on Birthright with her school's Hillel during her sophmore year. She attended Camp Tel Yehudah and later worked at Camp Young Judea Sprout Lake in New York before attending Emory.
Tamara Maltiel (Silicon Valley, CA)
Tamara just completed her studies at De Anza College as a political science and economics major. She was active in Hillel of Silicon Valley and served as president of the club Jews, Israelis and Friends at De Anza and worked at a local Jewish day school. After being a part of OTZMA 23, Tamara plans to continue her education at American University.
Tanya Singer (New York, NY)
Tanya Singer was born in Jerusalem and raised in New York City. An equestrian and avid softball fan Tanya also loves traveling to far off places and has been to France and South Africa as well as Israel. She has been an active member of various Jewish communal organizations. She attended and worked at a variety of Ramah Summer Camps in the New York area as well as participated on USY on Wheels: Mitzvah Mission and USY Israel Pilgrimage. She was in the youth group of Congregation Rodeph Sholom, and an active member of Hillel while a student at the University of Connecticut.
Warner Asch (Cincinnati, OH)
Warner graduated from Ohio University where he majored in philosophy and minored in music and Spanish. After graduating Warner received a Fulbright student research grant to study Hindi poetry in Varanasi, India. He lived, studied, and volunteered in Varanasi for two years. This is Warner's third trip to Israel.
Zara Friedman (Seattle, WA)
Zara graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Spanish. She then moved to Spain for 14 months, where she practiced Spanish and taught English throughout Madrid and Barcelona. Upon returning to Washington, Zara moved to Seattle, where she worked at the Stroum JCC as a preschool teacher for two years. She comes to OTZMA with interests in emergent curriculum, language development, good books, and delicious food.