Meet the Fellows
2022-2023 Rising Voices Fellows
Nora Auburn is a junior at the Bronx High School of Science in New York City. She is the secretary of her school's Model UN team, where she enjoys researching global issues and debating geopolitical conflicts. She worked with her peers to plan 2022’s NYC Climate Strike, where tens of thousands of students walked out of school to protest climate inaction. Nora loves playing guitar and producing music with her friends and family. You can probably find her studying Russian, creating an elaborate sandwich, or talking a walk in the park with her friends.
Samantha Berk is a junior at Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. One of her greatest passions is writing, and she is an award-winning opinion writer for her school’s independent newspaper as well as a peer writing tutor. On Saturdays, she can be found sleeping late, playing goalie in field hockey or lacrosse, or competing for Milton’s Speech Team, where she is the Public Address Chair. She is co-head of her school’s Jewish Student Union, and sits on the boards of RYFTI, a Jewish youth group in Boston, and the Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston, a philanthropy initiative. In her rare moments of free time, she is often puzzling through the New York Times crossword, walking her dog, Kensie, or playing guitar.
Tessa Cooperstein is a senior at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto, California. She was also fortunate to spend last fall at an art school in Napa, California. Tessa has been a CIT at the local JCC summer camp and a madricha (youth counselor) at her synagogue. She volunteers for Days for Girls, an organization that provides sustainable menstrual health solutions to girls who would otherwise miss school during their monthly periods. Over the last few years, Tessa has done service work in Guatemala, such as doing projects with children at an orphanage, delivering bunk beds and stoves to people in rural areas, and providing health education to young women. In her spare time, Tessa enjoys listening to music, doing art, or watching true crime documentaries.
Sonia Freedman is a junior at Menlo-Atherton High School in Northern California. At her school newspaper, she started “The Music Moment” and “Dear Bearby,” an advice column. She is also co-president of her high school’s book club and holds a part-time job at an independent bookstore. Sonia is the sh'licha (community service organizer) for her chapter of BBYO, where her focus is on sustainability, and she was a CIT at Camp Tawonga last summer. In her free time, she makes elaborate Spotify playlists, spends time with friends and in nature, and browses thrift shops.
Adina Gerwin is a senior at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York. She spent her junior year living in Hamburg, Germany as a Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) Fellow. Adina is a contributing writer and editorial board member of the youth-led international interfaith magazine KidSpirit. She also co-leads her high school interfaith club and is involved in the peacebuilding organization Seeds of Peace. She has published articles with KidSpirit, JGirls Magazine, and Fresh Ink for Teens, and was a Bronfman Fellow this past summer. Adina loves playing with her dog, studying Talmud, listening to music, and going on long walks.
Olivia Gnad is a senior at Quaker Valley High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the senior captain of her mock trial team and loves anything related to law. She is also president and founder of the debate club and is the education leader of her school’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance. She is a cellist, an Irish dancer, and a painter. When not arguing about something, she can be found studying Jewish history, making a Spanish omelet for her friends, or poring over the newest book in her collection.
Noa Karidi is a junior at Milken Community School in Los Angeles, California. She is the assistant editor of her school's literary magazine and head of the creative writing club. Noa is a member of the Girl Talk Planning Team and the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, which both work to create an environment of equality. She is a part of Global Beit Midrash which brings together Jewish schools around the world. She's a theater lover and a member of the International Thespian Society. Noa enjoys writing poetry, listening to music, painting, and hanging out with friends and family.
Sam Mezrich is a senior at Madison West High School in Madison, Wisconsin. She is a captain of her school’s forensic speech team, as well as a member of Model UN. At her synagogue, Sam is president of her synagogue youth group. Sam loves reading, biking, and playing bass guitar. In her free time, she can be found listening to Phoebe Bridgers, walking her dog (Phoebe, like Phoebe Bridgers), and drinking boba.
Miriam Niestat is a junior at Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois, where she is a member of the girls’ lacrosse team and plays trumpet in the jazz band. Miriam serves as president of Kenwood’s Best Buddies Chapter and is an officer of Youth and Government. As a 2020-21 Or Tzedek intern with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA), she learned about the intersection of Judaism and social justice and has continued her activism with the JCUA’s Youth Organizing Caucus. Miriam is always up for a meaningful conversation and loves hanging out with her dogs, Pointer and Mordechai.
Leila Nuri is a junior at Emery Weiner High School in Houston, Texas. She is on the board for her school’s Students Demand Action Club and is a part of the Black Lives Matter and feminism clubs. She is greatly passionate about social justice and human rights and uses writing to advocate. She is active in her mother’s Judaism, as well as the mix of various other religions in her family. Outside of this, Leila likes to play and listen to music, and remains in touch with her artistic side.
Irene Y. Raich is a senior at Fayetteville High School in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She is a member of her school’s quiz bowl and science bowl teams and competed in the Science Bowl National Championships in the spring of 2022. Irene is active in AP Advocates, a service-learning group that strives for more inclusive and diverse Advanced Placement classes and curricula. Irene has lobbied her state AP teacher representatives for more attention to and awareness of antisemitism in Arkansas high school courses. She is passionate about Judaism, equity, and intersectionality. She also enjoys swimming and music and is teaching herself guitar and ukulele.
Judy Ruden is a junior at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she is a mentor on her school's Speech and Debate team. She is a member of BBYO, tutors students for their b’nai mitzvot, and leads services on a regular basis at her local synagogue. In addition to writing, Judy enjoys painting and drawing as well as carefully curating Spotify playlists (usually featuring Harry Styles.)
Aviva Schilowitz is a junior at the Ramaz School in New York City, where she writes for the school newspaper, The Rampage, and the school medical journal, RamMD, is an active member of the Feminist and Business Investment Clubs and plays on the varsity soccer team. Outside of school, she writes for Fresh Ink for Teens, is an Einayich Yonim Fellow, a UJA-Federation of New York Belfer Fellow, and has occasionally contributed to 929 English. Aviva spent seven summers at Camp Moshava IO and spent the past summer touring Israel with Mach Hach Baaretz. In her free time, Aviva enjoys baking, skiing, swimming, music, and spending time with friends. On the other side of the ledger, she is not very good at tennis or keeping her room clean.
Clara Sorkin is a senior at Hall High School in West Hartford, Connecticut. She is the co-editor-in-chief of her school's newspaper, a member of her school's orientation program, and a player on her school's field hockey and golf teams. Outside of school, Clara is on the board of her local BBYO chapter, volunteers with children with special needs through Friendship Circle, writes for a teen-led nonprofit organization, and interns at her local newspaper. Clara loves to read, go to the beach, listen to music, and spend time with friends and family.
Miriam Stodolsky is a senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a part of her school’s Model UN team, school newspaper, Consent Club, and Jewish Heritage Club. She is also passionate about politics and community organizing: ahead of the 2022 elections, she is interning for Nichole Mossalam’s campaign for MA state representative, organizes with Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville, and is the hub coordinator of her city’s chapter of the Sunrise Movement (a youth climate movement). When she’s not reading about Emma Goldman or sustainable agriculture, she enjoys surrealist memes and peanut butter.
Maya Viswanathan is a junior at University of Illinois Laboratory High School in Champaign, Illinois. She participates in her school’s math team and is a co-leader of a club at school that aims to encourage younger students, especially girls, in math. She also loves languages, and is learning German at school, and Yiddish, Hebrew, and Hindi outside of school. At her synagogue, she is one of the youth group leaders. In her free time, she loves spending time with family and friends, playing Klezmer and classical music, Israeli dancing, reading, and biking.
Ava Weinstein is a sophomore at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has written three novels and numerous short stories since she started writing in fourth grade. Ava is passionate about technical theater, and designs and creates costumes for her school’s Theater Society. She has won two Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild technical excellence awards for her costumes. She is an active participant in Boston Workers Circle’s Teens Acting for Social Change and her school’s Jewish Heritage Club. This year she is working to revive the high school literary magazine. In her spare time, she loves listening to records, studying the labor movement, scouring vintage shops, and reading old books.
Rosie Yanowitch is a senior at University High School in San Francisco, California. She is deeply passionate about the intersections of feminism, Judaism, revisionist history, and racial justice. Accessibility within education has always been a priority for Rosie, and she helps direct a financial aid team at an education technology startup, Curious Cardinals, as well as a Bay Area-based nonprofit, Tipping Point Community, to address the intersections of education, poverty, and racial justice in her own community. In school, Rosie plays field hockey, works on building and implementing restorative justice systems, and is a member of various feminist and female empowerment initiatives. She is also a madricha (youth counselor) at her local synagogue. In her free time, you can find her trying a new coffee shop, hiking or backpacking with friends, lounging at the beach, or letting her two dogs run circles around her.
2021-2022 Rising Voices Fellows
2020-2021 Rising Voices Fellows
2019-2020 Rising Voices Fellows
2018-2019 Rising Voices Fellows
2017-2018 Rising Voices Fellows
2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellows
2015-2016 Rising Voices Fellows
2014-2015 Rising Voices Fellows
2013-2014 Rising Voices Fellows