Alternative Winter Break AWB 2018: Meet the Staff

By Year Round Programs

Itamar Bliman

I’m Itamar Bliman and I’m the Young Judaea Shaliach in South Florida and CJ. I was born in Haifa, Israel. I was an active participant and leader in the Israeli scouts in Haifa, and then I was a scout on the Young Judaea Year Course during my additional year of service before the army. In the IDF I was a combat soldier and a commander in infantry.

I was a counselor in CYJ Midwest and CYJ Texas, and this summer I was in charge of Israel education in CJ.

Last year I was a Madrich on AWB in Charleston. It was an amazing experience to be involved in the hard work of our teens that want to make a difference and help build a better world. Ezra Lazulat (help to those in need) and Mitzva are values I learned in the Israeli Scouts and Young Judaea. I look forward to translating these values into action and change on AWB 2018. See you in Puerto Rico!

Adam Cooper




My name is Adam Cooper and I am a 2nd year at the University of Virginia. I am intending to study public policy and leadership with a double major in music with a performance concentration. I am the President of Hoos for Israel at UVa, play in the Charlottesville Symphony, sing in a co-ed a cappella group, and am a member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. I am excited to be a madrich on AWB this year because I want to connect chanichim to meaningful acts of tikkun olam that they will continue after the trip. I want to inspire each chanich/a to find their own connection to the work we do on the trip, and be able to sustain the change they make during the trip in their hometowns.

Michaela Davenport

Hello everyone! My name is Michaela Davenport, I’m from Tucson Arizona, and am currently a Junior at the University of Arizona. I study Politics, Philosophy, Economics and Law. I also work for my university’s food pantry which works to alleviate food insecurity on my campus. This will be my second time staffing AWB and I couldn’t be more excited! As a chanicha, AWB opened up my world-view and inspired me to get more involved in my own community. I can only hope to pass along that message to my chanichim this AWB! See you all in Puerto Rico!

Adina Gitomer

Hello friends!! My name is Adina and I’m currently studying computer science and social theory at Wesleyan University. Outside of that, I organize havdalah every week (some call me the havdalah queen), teach a hebrew school class to extraordinarily loud 4-6 graders, and work at the campus grocery store, which is like a Whole Foods condensed into the size of a convenience store (i.e. a magical place). I can’t wait to be madricha on AWB after having done it for 3 years as a participant; I’m super looking forward to learning, growing, and taking action with the AWB team!

Ethan Gertzman

Hey everyone! My name is Ethan Gertzman and I am incredibly excited and honored to be staffing Alternative Winter Break 2018! I am junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Political Science and Psychology, along with Nonprofit Management. Before going to Pitt, I went on Young Judaea Year Course in 2015, and I have worked at Camp Tel Yehudah for the past few summers as well. It has been a while since I myself have been on AWB; I was on AWB Los Angeles and AWB New Orleans back in 2013 and 2014, and had an incredible experience! The memories and experiences I made on those trips without a doubt opened my eyes and changed my life. Alternative Winter Break is among the best programs that YJ has to offer, and I can’t wait to spend this December in Puerto Rico!

Ariel Glueck

Hey all! My name is Ariel and I’m thrilled to be staffing AWB for the fourth time. This past May, I graduated from Hunter College with a major in political science and a minor in educational policy. Now, I’m a teacher’s apprentice with an Americorps program called Blue Engine which focuses on team teaching and small group instruction. I teach 10th grade in a public school in the South Bronx. I’m so grateful to have Young Judaea as a constant in my life through all the changes of graduating college and starting a new job. I was and advisor for NJYJ

Rayna Landa

HI! My name is Rayna and I’m a junior at Penn State University! My major is Education and Public Policy with a minor in Political Science. At school I’m involved in my sorority AOII, Hillel, and THON which is the largest student run philanthropy in the world and raised over 10 million dollars last year in the fight against childhood cancer! I’m so excited for my first year as a madricha for AWB after having done it all four years of high school! Each of my AWB experiences were some of the best weeks of my life and I CANT WAIT to be a part and help create the best week possible for all of you!

Kareem Rabbat

Hello! My name is Kareem Rabbat and I am currently studying Environmental Engineering with a certificate in Engineering for Humanity at the University of Pittsburgh. I am the co-president of Engineers for a Sustainable World and The Aquaponics Project, both striving to implement sustainable solutions to some of Pittsburgh’s most pressing issues. This past summer I studied abroad in South Africa and did a two month internship in Brazil. I participated in AWB LA in 2013 and had such a positive & impactful experience. Being a madrich on AWB is important to me because I want to facilitate that same experience for this year’s chanichim. Staffing this trip is important because I want to do all I can to heal the world and this is a small stepping stone on the path to doing just that.

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