Young Judaea is proud to have our first ever all female Mazkirut. These strong young women represent the kind of leadership that the Jewish and Zionist American community can be proud of and be hopeful of the future
Kayla Lesch, Chicago, Illinois - Mazkira
Hi! I’m Kayla Lesch from Chicago, Illinois. I go to Evanston Township High School where I am co - president of our Israeli Culture Club - one of the biggest in the country! - and participate in the gymnastics and diving teams. I started going to Young Judaea camps when I was in sixth grade. I became involved in year round Young Judaea my freshman year when I represented Young Judaea on a board of Jewish teens in Chicago who planned Jserve. For the past two years I have been the vice president of the Midwest Mazkirut.
This year I am so excited and honored to be serving as the National Mazkira. As mazkira, I want to focus on the connections in and between regions. A couple of my ideas to do this include initiating calls between all national and regional counterparts on mazkirut and by possibly starting a pen pal system between the Bogrim age campers at all junior camps. By increasing communication between regions I believe we can strengthen Young Judaea as a national movement.
Young Judaea has been such a huge part of my life ever since I was 11 years old. It’s given me confidence, values, a strong Jewish identity, amazing friendships and unforgettable memories. I can’t wait to spend this year giving back to a movement that’s given me so much. :)
Noa Krakow, Ambler, PA - Administrative Vice President
What’s Krak-Lakin Young Judaea? I'm Noa Krakow and I'm extremely honored and excited to be the upcoming National Administrative Vice President! I am from just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in Upper Dublin. There, you can find me dancing, hiking, or of course planning Young Judaea events. I first became a part of the movement when I was eight years old at Camp Sprout Lake. I instantly fell in love with the atmosphere and people, that I continued to Camp Tel Yehudah. Since then, I have been a part of the Eastern Pennsylvania Region’s leadership team and I am currently overseeing the the region.
This year I want to focus on connecting and rebuilding Young Judaea. By creating online fundraising campaigns through social media, the Maz members and I will be able to create more national events. I would also like to create a Chai campaign, a Young Judaea week, and inspire the others to become active through region time at Camp Tel Yehudah. In general, by increasing fundraising and communication I will be able to create a better sense of a kehila.
Young Judaea has helped me to create and express my opinions. It has truly changed myself as a person and has shaped me to become who I am today. I want to pass on the impact that Young Judaea has given to me, to inspire others.
Mikayla Carno Harf, Beachwood, Ohio - Bogrim Programmer
Hi, My Name is Mikayla Carno Harf I am from Cleveland, Ohio. I have been involved with Young Judaea for 8 years, I went to Camp Young Judaea Midwest for 6 years and Tel Yehudah for 2 years. I have serve on the Midwest Mazkirut for the past 2 years as both the Social Action Programmer and Bogrim Programmer. Also over the past 4 years I have serve in many different position on my Temple Youth Group board as 8th grade liaison, Membership and Communications VP, Religious and Cultural VP, and I currently serve as the President. I have been involved in theatre over the past 10 years, some of the favorite shows that I have been in include: Bye Bye Birdie as Mae Peterson, Seussical the Musical as a Bird Bird,
And Where There’s a Will as Emma Willard-Powell.
Just this year I was accepted into the Saltzman Youth Panel, a Jewish Teens Philanthropy Panel through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. Additionally, I was one of two scholarship recipients of Hadassah's Leaders of Tomorrow for Young Judaea's Machon in Israel Trip. As you can probably tell, I like to stay busy. Young Judaea has been a huge part of my Life in all of this and I’m excited to serve this year as Young Judaea’s National Bogrim Programmer.
Eliana Sarfati-Magill, Brooklyn, NY - Ofarim/Tzofim Programmer
My name is Eliana and I’m from Brooklyn New York. I’ve been going to Young Judaea camps for six years and I can’t wait to be able to my experience with Young Judaea on National Maz. I went to Sprout Lake and TY each for three years and spent second session of last summer at sprout in H+ as a CIT. This fall I was Rosh Fall Camp and I had an amazing experience planning the weekend for the campers and working with the rest of the staff.
Young Judaea is important to me because it is where I have met some of the most important people in my life and have been able to grow up and learn about who I am as person and as a leader. The love and support that comes with the YJ community is something that I feel so lucky to be a part of and I want more kids to have the opportunities that I have had with YJ.
As OTP, Offie Tsofie Programmer, my role on National Maz will be to organize and facilitate programming for younger Judaeans during the summer as well as during the year. Some of my goals for my term are to create smaller regional events for kids during the year, incorporate more Young Judaea related programming into summer camps, and generate more awareness among parents what Young Judaea is and the amazing opportunities and life experiences that come with being a Judaean.
Rachel Powell, Monville, NJ - Social Action Programmer
I’m Rachel Powell from Montville New Jersey. I have now been involved in Young Judaea for ten years and am grateful for every second of it. Young Judaea has shaped me into the person I am today. Young Judaea has given me the space to be myself and has made me question just about everything in life. That’s the thing about Young Judaea, you always leave an event with more questions then you got there with. Young Judaea has a way of challenging you to think outside of the box, and thats what I love about it.
I have served on New Jersey’s regional Mazkirut for 3 years and decided I wanted to make a different kind of impact for the 2016-2017 school year, this time on the National Mazkirut. I have always had a passion for volunteering and truly diving into the issue of homelessness and hunger. One person can do a lot but together hand and hand we can do more. And that is how I plan to serve as Social Action Programmer. I plan to use Young Judaea’s connections and community to their fullest and make a real change in this world.
Daniela "Dasha" Gorenshteyn, Atlanta, GA - Russian Teen Liaison: Havurah
My name is Daniela (Dasha) Gorenshteyn and I'm currently a junior at Pope High School in Marietta, Georgia. Growing up in a house that is primarily Russian speaking had definitely shaped me into who I am today. Being Russian and speaking Russian at home as well as at TY's Havurah program has taught me more about myself than anything else ever has. In the summer of 2012, I attended Young Judaea's junior camp in Wisconsin and the two following Summer's were spent at in the Havurah program where I embraced being Russian and was surrounded with Jewish-Russian speaking teens who shared the same background and values as me. Just this past summer, I attended Young Judaea during first session and my eyes were opened even wider. I learned what it meant to be Jewish, what it meant to be a Zionist, and most importantly; I learned what it meant to be me.
Young Judaea has taught me many important things such as the importance of the state of Israel, the impact of social action and the meaning of true friendships. I would definitely not be who I am if it weren't for YJ. Being elected as the Havurah programmer for the 2016-2017 year, I hope to open up the Havurah kids eyes to the core values that Young Judaea holds and has shown me and shaped me into being who I am today. As of right now, the two programs are very separated and I hope to change that. A big issue I see is that the parents of the Russian teens aren't being informed as much on what YJ is really all about so as Havurah programmer, I take it upon myself to enlighten the parents and explain to them how beneficial and life changing Young Judaea is. I hope to change some of the programs that go on during second session for the Havurah campers and gear it more towards Israel-based discussions and not to only focus on being Russian. After this year, I hope more Russian speaking teens urge to be involved in all that Young Judaea has to offer year round and I hope they bring what they learn about social action and leadership to their home towns and begin spreading their values to young teens around them.
Raccia Abramson, White Plains, NY - Pirsum (Communications)
Hey! My name is Raccia Abramson and I am going to serve as Pirsum on Young Judaea’s National Mazkirut. I first became involved in Young Judaea in 2008 when I attended my first summer at CYJ Sprout Lake, following in my mother’s and brother’s footsteps. Starting my first summer there, I knew I had found myself a place in a very special community.
Over the years attending Sprout Lake, Tel Yehudah, and year-round Young Judaea events, I have developed a love for the Jewish people and culture, a sense of self-confidence, and honed my leadership skills. YJ has helped me become the person I am today, and for that reason, I am devoted to doing everything I can to give others amazing experiences similar to my own. As Pirsum, I hope to strengthen the national Young Judaea community through social media, including keeping all the regions aware of what happens in all of the other regions. A goal of mine is to create an up-to-date, accurate alumni network so that people who are out of the movement can still be informed about YJ happenings.
I believe that strengthening communication throughout the movement and alumni network will help the movement rise to its full potential. I also want to talk to people who would like to be involved in Young Judaea help them figure out how YJ works and help them find their place in year-round programs. Additionally, I want to get more people to attend regional and national events. I am so excited to work with the rest of the Mazkirut to oversee an amazing year for Young Judaea and do everything I can to support rising leaders and encourage involvement throughout the movement.