Yanna Begelman, 34


What you do:

I am a real estate salesperson in New York City and the director of development for TiKVA Children’s Home, a Jewish nonprofit rescuing and providing education for homeless, abused and disadvantaged Jewish children in Odessa, Ukraine, and surrounding regions of the former Soviet Union. 

Unexpected fun fact:

I’ve traveled/backpacked to 62 countries so far and often make it a point to contribute to the country with some philanthropic/charitable initiative during my trip. For example, on my trip to Uganda, my friend and I sponsored school supplies for the entire village, where we volunteered teaching children.

How you got here:

I was traveling around the world, finding meaningful projects to get involved with, when I heard about TiKVA, which rescues and gives hope to Jewish children in the forgotten part of the FSU — Odessa. I immediately connected with their mission, as my grandparents were lucky to leave and survive. In joining this initiative, I sought to give back and pay it forward, as my family was lucky to have support when we needed it most. 

How does your Jewish identity/Jewish values influence the work that you do?

Tzedakah is one of Judaism’s core values, and it is my life goal to inspire others to find fulfillment in giving tzedakah and making a difference for the less fortunate. 

Best advice you received:

I’ve learned in life that what makes the biggest difference is to be proactive instead of reactive. My motto is “actions speak louder than words.”

What Jewish source, person, book, etc., has inspired your work?

“Man’s Search for Meaning,” by Viktor Frankl. 

Fondest Jewish memory:

Passover food package deliveries to Holocaust survivors for over the last 10 years. One specific memory that comes to mind is when one sweet old lady tried to feed me chocolate as a “thank you,” and one old man sat me down to share his life’s journey.

Follow me: @Yannstagrammm