The Helyn B Reich Memorial Scholarship Committee announced the recipients of awards for the Fall of 2011. There were only two scholarship winners selected in this round, as committee members unanimously agreed that each was the outstanding applicant in the given category.
Alex Willick will be participating in the Otzma program beginning this fall. Alex graduated from Colgate University with a major in Music and a minor in Philosophy. After graduation he interned at Atlantic Records and Heeb Magazine. He currently works at UJA-Federation New York as an Administrative Assistant. Alex plans to use his Otzma experience to better prepare him for growth in his chosen profession of Jewish community work. In Alex’s own words, “I intend to parlay my experience with the Otzma Fellowship by enhancing my career within the Jewish philanthropic world. I currently work on the fundraising side of the UJA-Federation, and I am happy in my professional endeavor thus far. However, my interest also lies on the allocations side. By living in Israel and working with some of the same types of organizations and agencies to which the UJA-Federation allocates grants, it would enable me to speak authoritatively and first-hand about our work.”
Read Alex’s personal essay on his connection to Zionism.
The second Helyn B Reich winner is Jessica Leitner from Chico, California, a town about 3 hours northeast of San Francisco. Jessica will be attending Tel Aviv University during the 2011- 2012 academic year. A committed Israel advocate, Jessica has visited Israel on several occasions and has demonstrated great initiative in educating others about Israel and Zionism. Her studies in Israel will include classes modern Jewish and Israel studies, as well as work in her professional field, kinesiology. Thinking about how spending the year in Israel will impact her, Jessica writes “Growing up in Chico I was usually the only Zionist in my classes, and this trend has continued
in college career. I use the word Zionist, not Jew, because there have occasionally been other Jewish students in my classes, but most of them have had little or no knowledge of Israel and many of them have not been Zionists. I have tried my best to educate these fellow Jewish students, encouraging them to join me in Israel advocacy work. The thought of going to a school where almost every student is Jewish and Zionist is beyond exciting for me. I appreciate being around other Zionists immensely. Celebrating holidays, and talking about Jewish values are things that I can’t do with most people at my at my university. Studying abroad at Tel Aviv University will help me grow as a contributor to the Jewish community and as an Israel advocate.”
Read Jessica’s personal essay on Zionism.