Profile of OTZMA 2011-2012 Participants
Currently, OTZMA XXVI (2011-2012) has 20 participants from 19 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!
Alana Weber (New York, NY)
Alana is a recent NYU graduate with a BS is Applied Psychology. After graduating a semester early Alana worked as a receptionist in a law office. During this time she learned that she has a natural talent for minesweeper as well as a deep need for excitement. Given her love of Judiasm, Zionism, and hummus, Israel was the natural adventure of choice. She hopes to spend her time on OTZMA growing professionally and individually, and just genuinely having fun before attending law school. Alana's goal is to eventually work with victims of gender based violence towards empowerment and justice.
Alex Willick (New York, NY)
"A bona fide child of the Tri-State, Alex was born in Bergen County, NJ, was raised in Connecticut, and lives in New York City. He graduated from Colgate University in 2009, where he studied music and philosophy, both of which continue to be passionate areas of study. He has spent the last couple of years working in the Jewish community in New York City, including a year and a half at UJA-Federation of New York. He's happy to have the opportunity to live and serve with the people he loves, in the country he loves."
Arielle Greenberg (Princeton, NJ)
Arielle graduated from Skidmore College in 2011 with a
major in Economics and a minor in Spanish. In college Arielle was the captain of
my ultimate frisbee team. For the past three years Arielle has been working for
Young Judaea's Camp Sprout Lake, which is a Zionist camp. Arielle's biggest
passions are sports and hiking. After a year in Israel, Arielle hopes to attend
nursing school. Arielle is really excited to be coming to Israel!
Arielle Tieger (Silicon Valley, CA)
Arielle has just graduated from the University of Oregon
this past June with a degree in Speech Pathology. The past three summers, she
has spent working at a clinic for children that have communication disorders.
Although she enjoyed her four years in Oregon, she decided this was a good time
to take a year off of school before heading to graduate school, and what bettter
place to be than Israel. She has been to Israel a few times but has always left
knowing she wanted to come back and spend a longer period of time there. This is
a year that she is looking forward to exploring Israel, meeting new people and
giving back to the community!
Billie Hirsch (Boston, MA)
Billie recently obtained her BA in English Communication, Media and Cultural Studies from Emmanuel College in Boston, MA where she graduated Cum Laude and concentrated in gender and women’s studies as well as critical pedagogy. An avid jigsaw puzzler, Smith fan and environmentalist, she enjoys being outdoors, tells bad jokes, and likes to ride her bicycle. While in college she interned with the Mass. National Organization for Women (NOW), as well as the Boston Women’s Fund. Her interest in non-profit work coincides with her desire to be involved with grassroots efforts working to pursue systemic change and social and economic justice for women and girls across the board. When she traveled to Israel on Birthright, she was immediately drawn to the community, politics, culture and land, and made sure to investigate on her part viable ways to return to live and volunteer. She is inspired by the stories of past Otzmanikim and thrilled to have the opportunity to create her own.
David Friedman (Seattle,
Davey Friedman recently graduated from Whitman College in
Walla Walla, Washington with a degree in history and a minor in music. During
his college studies, Davey discovered his love for Jewish history and the
history of Israel. Though Davey has been involved in many aspects of
Jewish life - working as a Bar-Mitzvah tutor, a Jewish summer camp counselor,
and an Israel advocate – he has never had the opportunity to live in
Israel. He is determined to learn Hebrew fluently and have an amazing time
David Froimson (Cleveland,
David graduated from Miami University in 2011 with a major in Marketing and a minor in Bioethics. He was elected Treasurer of Sigma Nu Fraternity and was involved in Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and St. Jude's Childrens Research Hospital. He enjoys playing hockey, soccer, and baseball whenever he gets the opportunity. In the fall of 2009 he studied international business in Differdange, Luxembourg and discovered his love for traveling and immersing himself in other cultures. In Israel, he hopes to continue learning about international business while gaining first-hand experience along the way.
David Korenthal (Chicago, IL)
David graduated from Ithaca College in May 2010 with
a degree in History. Afterwards David did a semester of graduate work at
the American University in Cairo, studying International Human Rights Law. David
spent 13 summers at Camp Interlaken JCC, where David was a camper, staff member,
and unit head. David is very excited to spend a year in Israel, learn some
Hebrew, and to volunteer and make a difference!
Evan Salzberg (Hartford, CT)
Evan Salzberg is from West Hartford, CT. Evan recently graduated the University of Vermont with a degree in English and Environmental Studies. Evan is an avid hiker, mountain biker, skier and enjoy many outdoor activities. Evan was a member of the Chabad organization at UVM. Evan chose OTZMA because he felt as though it was a great opportunity to reconnect with his roots in Judaism as well as give back to the communities in need.
Gabrielle Mervis (Boston,
Gabriella is a recent graduate from Goucher College with a degree in Dance Administration and minors in Psychology and Management. At Goucher, she served as the Hillel President, as well as the Overnight Coordinator for the Ambassadors Organization and Admissions Counselor Assistant. During her Hillel presidency she was sponsored to attend the 2010 Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in New Orleans, where Goucher was awarded the Philip H. and Susan Rudd Cohen Hillel Campus Exemplar of Excellence Award. Additionally, she spent the spring semester of her junior year studying at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She loves to dance, learn, and be silly. While she looks forward to working in the Arts Administration field, she is excited to spend a year in Israel, giving back and focusing on one of her other passions, Israel.
Grace Goodblatt (San Diego, CA)
Grace was born and raised by amazing parents and two beloved older siblings in Encinitas, California. As a three year old she spent a year in Jerusalem with her family for her father’s sabbatical. In May 2011 she graduated from University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Political Economy. She is interested in international relations. Throughout her time at Berkeley she was an active member at Hillel. She served as co-chair of the Israel Action Committee, a Hillel intern, and a member of the Hillel Executive Board among other activities. She was an AIPAC Diamond Summer Intern and now works as a legislative intern for California State Senator Mark Leno. Most recently she was a Tikvah Israel Fellow at the Ein Prat Institute. She hopes to travel for a couple of years before going to law school.
Jacob Markey (Milwaukee, WI)
Jacob is a recent graduate of the University of
Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in political science and certificates in business
and Jewish studies. This past summer, he interned as a legislative assistant
with the Anti-Defamation League in Washington DC. After studying abroad at The
Hebrew University of Jerusalem last fall, he is excited to return to Israel. He
looks forward to helping out others, improving his Hebrew, and meeting some
awesome people. During his free time, Jacob likes to read, travel, and of
course, cheer on the Packers and Badgers.
Julie Marsden (Philadelphia, PA)
Julie graduated from Temple University in the spring of 2011 where she studied public relations. Julie went to Israel for the first time on birthright in May of 2009 where she fell in love with the country and people. Since Julie's first visit to Israel she has been excited to get back. In college Julie was very involved with her sorority and many different volunteer projects. Julie is looking forward to spending the year in Israel volunteering, exploring, and strengthing her relationship with Israel and her Jewish identity.
June Elgudin (Cleveland, OH)
June recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Psychology. At Penn, June was involved in the Jewish Renaissance Project and volunteered at the Hillel Soup Kitchen on Sundays. June is very interested in human rights and social justice, and hopes to help at least one person during her year in Israel. She is excited to travel with old and new friends, write poems, and completely immerse herself in Israeli culture.
Laura Berke (Broward County)
Laura Berke graduated from Florida State University in April 2011 with a B.A in International Affairs and Creative Writing. During her time in Tallahassee, she was an active brother of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, as well as a board member of Chabad at FSU. Laura has only been to Israel once in 2006 on Ramah Israel Seminar. Upon returning to the states, she promised herself that she would go back to Israel for an extended period of time after her collegiate studies to give back in a meaningful way. While in middle and high school, her steadfast connection to Israel and to Judaism was fostered during her summers at Camp Ramah Darom and over the course of many years spent at her synagogue’s HaNegev Kadima/USY chapter, BAUSY. She loves Chinese food, working with children, orchestral performances, and anything related to FSU. Because she is a diehard Seminole fan, she is very sad about missing an epic football season, but is incredibly excited to be spending a year in Israel; she hopes to learn a lot and significantly improve her Hebrew.
Perry Bindelglass (Northern New Jersey)
Perry has been doing volunteer work most of his life. He
ran a very successful food drive from 1998-2005, and was awarded the Raul
Wallenberg Humanitarian Award in 2004. Perry graduated from Penn State
University in 2008 with a B.S. in Political Science. While there, he continued
his community service, becoming founding president of a branch of the Blue and
White Society and fundraising chair at the University Park campus chapter.
Perry is very proud of the work he has done with THON at Penn State, which is
the largest student run philanthropy in the world, raising $9.5 million in 2011,
and almost $80 million since 1977, for pediatric cancer research and for the
families affected. Perry is also an accomplished photographer, having covered a
wide array of different assignments and has been published many times, including
in national publications. Recently, he covered the Nexus: Global Youth Summit on
Innovative Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship. Perry also recently
finished his first year of law school, with plans to continue his legal
education in the future. In 2006, Perry participated in Birthright Israel and
has been counting down the days since he left, eager to return in a meaningful
way. While living in Washington, D.C. he was very active in Birthright
IsraelNEXT, and other similar programs, including being part of an Israeli
Diplomacy Fellowship. He is very excited for OTZMA and all that he will
experience while in Israel.
Samantha Prince (New York, NY)
Samantha graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in
May 2011 with a BA in history and a minor in Hispanic Studies. During college,
she was active in the Jewish Heritage Programs (JHP) as a lead intern. Through
JHP, she organized weekly community service, such as volunteering at local
nursing homes, shelters, and the Jewish Relief Agency. In the fall of 2009,
Samantha studied abroad in Barcelona, where she took all of her courses in
Spanish, furthering her love for other languages and cultures. Samantha is an
avid hiker, swimmer, and biker, and enjoys outdoor and adventure activities.
While doing all of that, she loves to travel and take photographs along the way.
Having been to Israel once for her brother's bar-mitzvah when she was 9, she is
excited to now live in Israel by focusing on social change, activism, and
Sarah Cort (St. Louis, MO)
Sarah Cort graduated in May of 2011 from Indiana
University in Bloomington with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood
Education. In Bloomington, she was an active member of her sorority, Phi
Mu, as a member of the executive board. She also participated in
alternative break trips with Hillel to the Gulf Coast and with AJWS to
Nicaragua. This past summer, Sarah worked at Jewish Council for Youth
Service's Camp Henry Horner in Ingleside, Illinois as the senior village unit
head of overnight camp. Sarah first experienced Israel as a participant on
Birthright with Israel Outdoors in the winter of 2009. Since then, she has
been involved in events with Birthright Israel NEXT, has spoken at a Birthright
Shabbat event in St. Louis, and is eager to return to Israel as a member of
Stevye Marder (Los Angeles, CA)
Stevye Marder (Los Angeles, CA) Stevye attended Santa
Monica college and eventually fulfilled her dream of being a makeup
artist. She graduated Cinema Makeup School in February of 2011. She
lives in Santa Monica, ca and enjoys doing makeup and being a free spirit.
She is excited to spend a year in Israel exploring all about her jewish history
and identity as well as learning about the history of the places she will be
staying in Israel.