Alumni in the News


After AJWS alumni complete their programs, the impact of their experiences unfolds in a myriad of ways. In this section, we are pleased to feature a sampling of articles written by or about alumni whose time in the developing world continues to significantly influence their personal, professional and volunteer lives.

Have you been in the news lately? Please e-mail and let us know so we can include your article here.

Josie Lehrer (AJWS Bay Area Delegation 2005, Uganda; AJWS Alternative Break group leader, 2008) is the founder of the Men's Story Project, a public performance and community dialogue project that explores social ideas about masculinity. Read Josie's article on the necessity of an initiative like the Men's Story Project in On the Issues.

Elise Loterman (AJWS Alternative Break 2007, Uganda) discussed her group's visit to the Ugandan Jewish community—the Abayudaya—and her own connection to other Jewish communities around the globe in an article in the Jerusalem Post.

Shani Mintz (AJWS Volunteer Summer 2009, Uganda) and Shmuly Yanklowitz (Rabbinical Students' Delegation 2009, Senegal) discuss the Orthodox community's growing commitment to social action in an article published in JTA.

Jordan Namerow (AJWS Volunteer Corps 2008, Uganda; AJWS Alternative Break 2004, Nicaragua) co-authored an op-ed about the relationship between Jewish young adults and the Federation system with three other participants in the Kivun Intensive 2009, a professional development program for young Jewish professionals committed to strengthening the Jewish community. Read "Where the blogosphere meets the boardroom" in JTA.

AJWS-AVODAH Partnership program officer in Washington D.C., Jessie Posilkin, spoke to the Washington Jewish Week at a food justice BBQ this past August co-sponsored by the Partnership, Moishe House Silver Spring, Jews United for Justice, and Shomrei Adamah in which kosher, organic local meat was provided by D.C.-based KOL Foods.

Arielle Rosenberg (AJWS World Partners Fellowship 2006-2007, Honduras) has been an organizer with the Worker Defense Committee of Casa Latina—a group of immigrants and allies that works to claim unpaid wages—in Seattle, Washington,. Read CNN's article on the organization's work, featuring Arielle.

Jacob Siegel (AJWS Alternative Break 2009, Guatemala) created and directed a program this past summer called "Inner City, Inner Peace," offering students in downtown St. Louis non-violence education through the martial art aikido. The program is highlighted in the West End Word.

Avi Smolen participated in AJWS Alternative Break in Nicaragua in 2007 with Rutgers University. He was recently selected as one of the fellows of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and will be involved in its work against the spread of malaria in Africa. Read about it in the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Last winter, the AJWS-AVODAH Partnership held a series in the Bay Area called Tikkun Olam TeamWorks: Jews in the Garden. In collaboration with HandsOn Bay Area, led by alumna Dana Blecher (Alternative Breaks to El Salvador in 2002 with Columbia University), the program combined hands-on gardening work with learning about food justice and sustainability. Similar programs took place the following fall in D.C. and NYC. Read about it in the

Sarah Leiber Church participated in an AJWS Delegation to Mexico with Congregation Emanu-El in 2007. She talks to the about creating meaningful Jewish practices for young adults. Sarah is currently the program director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance, an organization that educates, advocates and organizes around issues of peace, equality, diversity and justice in California, where she often collaborates with the AJWS-AVODAH Partnership.

Tanya Fredman participated in AJWS Volunteer Summer in Ghana in 2006. She is an AJWS-AVODAH Double Impact Social Justice Grant recipient. She is using her grant during the 2009-10 year to volunteer with youth villages in Israel and Rwanda through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Read her interview with the St. Louis Dispatch.

The AJWS-AVODAH Partnership hosted approximately 1300 people across the U.S. at our Debate Watch parties on October 7th, 2008 the night of the town hall style presidential debate. Parties were held in Boston, Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. Read more about the NY party or SF party, and see photos and highlights from all six parties at

Jocelyn Berger participated in AJWS Volunteer Corps in India in 2007. Benji Holzman participated in AJWS World Partners Fellowship in India in 2007. During their time there, they regularly visited the Chabad house in Mumbai. Read Jocelyn's reflections following the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks from the Cleveland Jewish News and also read Benji's reflections from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Avi Zellman participated in AJWS Alternative Break in Thailand in 2008. He is currently a senior at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he is continuing to work on issues of global sustainability. Read an article about Avi on his school's website.

The Atlanta Jewish Times - Building Bridges In Guatemala

Baltimore Jewish Times - Journey Through Jewish India

The Jewish Week - Shedding Light On A 'Hidden War'