Meet the New York Jewish Week’s 36 to Watch 2024


It’s been an unprecedented and difficult year for the Jewish community and, in times like this, tradition can be a comfort. That’s why we’re especially honored to present this year’s 36 to Watch, our annual list spotlighting remarkable New Yorkers for their contributions to our city and its Jewish community.

For the past 17 years, the New York Jewish Week has identified local Jews making outsized contributions in the arts, religion, culture, business, politics and philanthropy — and so much more. As always, our aim is to identify the innovators who are remaking the Jewish community, or contributing to society in ways that draw upon their diverse Jewish identities and sensibilities.

This year’s class of “36ers” includes a 22-year-old basketball star and a 93-year-old philanthropist who has made a Bronx medical school tuition-free for the foreseeable future. There are also activists and creatives, rabbis and public servants. They form a group of individuals, including some you may know and others you should, who together paint a portrait of a Jewish community addressing and responding to a difficult chapter in Jewish life in unique, important and innovative ways.

Keep scrolling to learn more about these 36 individuals and their achievements this year!

Elizabeth Abel, 34

Thought leader in Jewish philanthropy

(Taylor Davis Photography)

Throughout her career in Jewish philanthropy and nonprofit fundraising, Elizabeth Abel has raised more than $1 billion for Jewish education, healthcare, advocacy and arts and culture organizations in New York City and across the globe. Since Oct. 7, “my Jewish identity and philanthropic leadership have become more deeply interconnected,” says Abel, who is a senior vice president at CCS Fundraising, a nonprofit consulting firm based in New York. Since Hamas’ attack on Israel, Abel has helped several Jewish non-profits launch emergency response campaigns totaling more than $200 million. “Growing up in Westchester, I was raised with a strong Jewish identity and sense of connection to our extended family members that were killed during the Holocaust,” says Abel. On Fridays, you’ll find Abel baking challah with her daughters using her great-grandmother’s recipe. “It’s a joy to celebrate our Jewish heritage together and continue this special family tradition,” she says.

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I am an avid hiker. While it was the longest 16 miles of my life, I successfully summited Half Dome at Yosemite National Park.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? Balaboosta in the West Village. Not only is the food amazing, but since becoming a mother of two, I have a deeper appreciation for all that it means to be a balaboosta!

Beejhy Barhany, 48

Innovative chef promoting Ethiopian Jewish cuisine

(Ohad Kab)

Beejhy Barhany is the proprietor of Tsion Cafe, an Ethiopian-Israeli restaurant in Harlem that recently shifted to an all-vegan and kosher-certified menu. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Israel, Barhany moved to New York more than 20 years ago. “My encounter with New York City was love at first sight,” Barhany tells us. “I always wanted to be part of this vibrant city.” In 2003, Barhany launched the nonprofit Beta Israel of North America Cultural Foundation, promoting Ethiopian Jewish culture. “Food quickly became a cultural staple at these showcases,” says Barhany, adding that the response inspired her and her husband to open Tsion Café in 2014, near their Harlem home where they’ve raised two children. “I believe that when people break bread together there is hope for unity, dialogue, and understanding,” Barhany says. “There is a need for acceptance and acknowledgment of Jews from different backgrounds and identities, as well as with Jews and non-Jewish communities.” Barhany is also launching a Tsion-branded line of Ethiopian spices and sauces, and is writing an Ethiopian Jewish cookbook to be published next spring.

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I’m currently training for the 2024 New York City Marathon so wish me luck.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? Old Broadway Synagogue has been in Harlem for over 100 years. It’s a historical space where it connects us to the history of old Harlem and the history of Jews.

Kaia “Chaia” Berman-Peters, 22

Klezmer musician and innovator

(Jess O’Donoghue)

Kaia “Chaia” Berman-Peters is a fifth-generation New Yorker and the creator of a new music genre, Kleztronica, which combines traditional Yiddish music with house and techno beats. “I use the radical roots of house and techno to create a radical dance floor, one that embraces queerness, diasporism and solidarity,” she says. “I play anywhere from techno clubs to synagogues, and, in the last year, have really enjoyed touring and playing for new audiences who have never heard Yiddish music and/or techno before.” In addition to hosting concerts and raves across the city, Manhattan native Berman-Peters has two albums coming out this year: The first, “Yibaneh,” is inspired by Jewish mystical texts that she studied with her father (Nathaniel Berman, a Brown University professor specializing in Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism); the second, “Shtey,” is a “full-blown techno album,” she says, where each song “is a Yiddish folk song that I turned into a techno track.”

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? Sammy’s Roumanian! A New York staple: Come for the schmaltz on every table and stay for Dani Luv’s beautiful musings about Jewish life in New York.

Daniella Bessler, 22

Yeshiva University basketball star

(Celine Eskenazi)

Originally hailing from Brookline, Massachusetts, Daniella Bessler plays for the Yeshiva University women’s basketball team. Earlier this year, the senior — who is majoring in psychology and minoring in studio art — received the DIII Skyline Player of the Year award, as well as a first-team all-conference award. “Not only do I play basketball because I love and enjoy the sport, but I believe in doing so I have the opportunity to represent something greater than myself,” Bessler says. “It is my responsibility as a Jewish athlete to ensure that I accurately and positively reflect what a Jewish person’s values and behaviors are both on and off the court. To me, this means playing with modesty, humility, respect and kindness.” Bessler — who got married this year and now wears a tichel, or head scarf, on and off the court — says she’s grateful to have landed at New York’s Modern Orthodox flagship. “Yeshiva University offered me something that no other college program could provide: allowing me to play the sport I love while accommodating for Shabbat and other Jewish holidays,” she says. “My goal is to help build the women’s basketball program at YU into one where all young Jewish women feel they have a place to remain committed to their religion and play competitive, high-level basketball.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I love collecting quotes and traveling/exploring the world. Also, I have a cone of ice cream each day.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? I love Noi Due Cafe, I always get their spinach artichoke pizza. In my opinion, it is the best pizza in NYC.

Joseph Borgen, 32

Fighting antisemitism and pursuing justice

Joseph Borgen.


Manhattanite Joseph Borgen was on his way to a pro-Israel rally in Times Square in May 2021 when he was assaulted by five men who shouted antisemitic epithets at him. The attack on Borgen, who was wearing a kippah, was widely condemned by local and national politicians and Jewish groups. Eventually, all five of Borgen’s assailants were arrested, charged and found guilty. Through the many-year ordeal, Borgen, 32, was relentless in his pursuit of justice and accountability — speaking at rallies, testifying before Congress, appearing on cable news. “Jewish blood isn’t cheap and all hate crimes, for that matter, shouldn’t be treated lightly,” says Borgen, who works in real estate. In speaking out against rising antisemitism, Borgen’s aim, he says, is “improving the outlook for Jewish people both domestically and abroad.”

Danielle Dardashti, 53 and Galeet Dardashti, 50

Sharing a Persian Jewish legacy in songs and stories

(Roni Sarig)

Sisters Danielle Dardashti and Galeet Dardashti are storytelling powerhouses: Danielle is a storyteller and documentarian, and Galeet is an anthropologist and musician who released an album, “Monajat,” in which she sings with remixed samples of her Jewish grandfather, Younes Dardashti, who was once a renowned singer in Iran. Earlier this year, the pair released “The Nightingale of Iran” a six-episode podcast about their grandfather and their Iranian roots; it’s been described as “a master class in storytelling, music and identity.” (The Jewish Telegraphic Agency presented the podcast.) “I love talking to people, asking them questions, and hearing their stories,” Danielle tells us. “I literally walk down the street, looking at a stranger going by, thinking, ‘That guy is the main character in his life story. I want to know about it.’” Galeet, meanwhile, has studied Mizrahi Jews in Israel for more than two decades. “I’ve been very inspired to see the ways in which young Jews of Middle Eastern and North African backgrounds here in the U.S. are now seeking to connect with their family heritages,” she says. “Their hunger to learn more has motivated my continued work.”

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? Chinese food in Chinatown on Christmas day!

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? A walking tour of the Bukharian Jewish community in Queens.

Moshe Davis, 27

A mayoral aide aiming to build a stronger Jewish community

(Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

Upper West Sider Moshe Davis is the Jewish liaison for community affairs for Mayor Eric Adams. “I work to ensure the Jewish community’s interests are represented at City Hall,” he says. “There are about 1.1 million Jewish people in NYC but 5 million opinions. My job is to listen to everyone and work with City Hall to get stuff done.” Such “stuff” includes creating a sidewalk on a dangerous road outside a Bronx Jewish day school and, since Oct. 7, helping to organize rallies for Israel and the hostages. But working for the mayor’s office is not the only hat that Davis, 27, wears. He’s also a co-founder of New York Jews in Politics, which he describes as “a space for Jews in politics to get to know one another, network and grow their careers.” On the weekends, he and his wife work at the Manhattan Jewish Experience, an Orthodox synagogue, “teaching and creating a community for young Jewish professionals on the Upper West Side,” the third-generation New Yorker says. “What inspires me is the ability to help so many people and build a stronger Jewish community in New York, from hosting Shabbat at our apartment to a ribbon cutting in Williamsburg — and especially starting ‘New York Jews in Politics,’ the ultimate convergence of my passions.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I am an ordained rabbi and I have completed the Talmud.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? The Great Lawn in Central Park on Shabbat afternoon … a truly unique Jewish cultural experience that my wife and I deeply appreciate.

Ezra Feig, 33

Creating Jewish community through social runs

(Andrew Werner)

Five days after the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7, Brooklynite Ezra Feig started Nice Jewish Runners “to bring Jewish runners together and create a much-needed community for people to find comfort and solace during tough times.” Every week, a group of a dozen or so runners meet at Fifth Avenue and 90th Street for a three-and-a-half-mile loop around Central Park. The runs, says Feig, “are designed to be easy, social runs and always end with the group running to a local coffee shop afterward to build camaraderie.” Over the past eight months, the group has expanded to more than 20 cities around the world. “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors who lost the majority of their families, I believe I owe it to them and their family members who had their lives taken away from them,” Feig says. “After Oct. 7, like many people, I felt like I needed to do something impactful. Jewish pride and strength is something that we really needed and I wanted to put my thoughts into action.” And yet, starting a Jewish running group wasn’t exactly Feig’s lifelong dream: “Running and exercise isn’t something that was a part of my life until my mid to late 20s,” said Feig, who grew up “a quiet, unpopular and shy kid” in the Hasidic community in Borough Park. Now chief marketing officer at Care365 Homecare, he says, “You don’t need to be a loud or extroverted person to show up for your community and make a difference.”

Who is your New York Jewish hero? Fred Lebow. He was a Holocaust survivor and the founder of the New York City Marathon. Fred did so much for the sport of running and deserves a lot of credit for what the sport is today. He was a proud Jew and believed that running was for everyone. I know he’d be proud to see Nice Jewish Runners be a part of the community he built.

Reuven Fenton, 43

Journalist and novelist

(Robert Miller)

Reuven Fenton is a longtime general assignment reporter for the New York Post. Until recently, Fenton’s biggest claim to fame, he says, was when a Hunter College professor who engaged in an altercation with anti-abortion students was caught on film holding a machete to his neck, “making us both instant stars for 15 minutes.” Fortunately, Fenton is now in the spotlight for something less dangerous: His debut novel, “Goyhood” — about a middle-aged Orthodox Jewish man who discovers that he’s not actually Jewish — hits bookshelves this month. (Pulitzer Prize-winner Joshua Cohen calls it a “remarkably funny and compassionate novel.”) “Working on a novel for three years was grueling, but had a surprisingly positive effect on my overall quality of life,” says Fenton, who is Modern Orthodox, grew up outside Boston and has degrees from Yeshiva University and Columbia Journalism School. “It gave me something to strive for, and I enjoyed the challenge of making the intricacies of Judaism accessible to the masses.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I like to carve intricately detailed walking sticks.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? To one of the many Bukharian restaurants in Forest Hills and Rego Park, because they’re all excellent.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? The 1920s synagogues of the South Bronx and East Brooklyn that are now churches. There are hundreds of them, and many still have Jewish symbols and Hebrew words on the facades.

Temim Fruchter, 45

An emerging literary voice

(Leah James)

Temim Fruchter’s first novel, “City of Laughter,” is “a tale of a young queer woman stuck in a thicket of generational secrets” and was a New York Times Editors’ Pick when it came out earlier this year. Fruchter, who was raised Modern Orthodox, describes herself as a “queer, non-binary, anti-Zionist Jewish writer” who loves “Outfits with a capital O and Schemes with a capital S.” As she tells us: “I’m inspired by the eccentricities of Jewish lore and tradition, the expansiveness of queer possibility, the contours of uncommon desire, the messiness of family, and the Bundist idea of doykeit, or ‘hereness’ — that a thriving and beautiful Jewish future is not located in a faraway nation-state, but is about about solidarity, presence, and mutual aid in the diaspora.” Fruchter spent nearly a decade as the drummer for The Shondes, a Jewish rock band, and now lives in Brooklyn “where I write, make queer mischief, [and] host extravagant holiday dinners whenever I can,” she says.

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I am an aspiring (and sometimes actual) queer Yenta [matchmaker]; I still watch “Grey’s Anatomy” and I am an Ashkenazi Jew who hates cream cheese.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? I feel true New York Jewish euphoria when I am standing underneath the Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery sign.

Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, 32 and Benjamin Goldschmidt, 36

Founders of NYC’s chicest new synagogue

(Daniel Landesman)

When we last featured Rabbi Benjamin Goldschmidt and his wife, Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, as “36 to Watch,” nine years ago, the pair, newly married, was feted for their outreach with New York’s Russian-speaking Jewish communities — Avital taught Torah classes and published articles about feminist issues and Jewish emigré life, while Benjamin worked with Russian-speaking Jews as an assistant rabbi at Park East Synagogue. Nearly a decade and three children later, the couple is continuing that legacy: After leaving Park East in 2022, the pair founded The Altneu Synagogue, aimed at creating a new space for a traditional Jewish community with a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere. After two years of itinerant Shabbat services they moved the 400-family congregation into a permanent home in an Upper East Side townhouse this spring. Avital says that, so far, their greatest accomplishment has been “for Jews to feel that they have a place to come. The type of place that we’ve specifically built that is unique and that is different in a time of sorrow and struggle — has taken real community.”

Who is your New York Jewish hero? Benjamin: All the great rebbes who lived and taught in NYC — the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Moshe Feinstein, Yitzchak Hutner. Avital: Esther Jungreis.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? Abaita, a kosher dairy restaurant on the Upper East Side. We order everything, every item is amazing. We can’t say a meat restaurant because we love them all equally.

Ruth Gottesman, 93

Making medical school free in the Bronx

(Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images)

Future doctors studying at Bronx’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine will no longer have to pay tuition thanks to a $1 billion donation to the medical school earlier this year from Ruth Gottesman, a longtime faculty member and the chair of the board of trustees. In February, the Jewish philanthropist made her generous gift, saying the donation will help students “find new ways to prevent diseases and provide the finest health care to communities here in the Bronx and all over the world.” In a statement, the college called the donation “the largest made to any medical school in the country” and shared footage online of students leaping out of their seats and cheering as Gottesman announced that tuition will be free starting in August. Gottesman is the widow of the wealthy financier David Gottesman, a prominent Jewish philanthropist who died in 2022 at 96; in 1965 they launched the Gottesman Fund, continuing a long family tradition of Jewish philanthropy. Gottesman, who at the college’s Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center developed pediatric screening and treatment protocols, said in statement: “I feel blessed to be given the great privilege of making this gift to such a worthy cause.”

Shany Granot-Lubaton, 33

Rallying for Israeli democracy and release of hostages

(Omer Kaplan)

When the Israeli government announced its judicial overhaul in January 2023, “I was furious,” says Shany Granot-Lubaton, who had just moved to New York with her husband, Omer, so he could pursue a degree at Columbia University. Granot-Lubaton, who had previously worked in the Israeli political arena saw the protest movement unfolding in Israel and thought a similar scene could coalesce in New York. “At the first demonstration, I thought maybe five people would show up,” she says. Instead, 100 came, and the movement spread to other cities. “After a while, there were thousands in our WhatsApp groups and participating in our activities each week — a grassroots movement of Israelis and Jews working together out of a profound love for Israel emerged, striving to preserve it as independent, democratic and strong country.” Then, after Oct. 7, Granot-Lubaton’s group, UnXeptable, quickly pivoted to responding to the attack and advocating for hostages held by Hamas, changing its motto from “Saving Israeli Democracy” to “Saving Israel.” “Overnight we redirected all our efforts to other avenues,” she says, citing fundraising for life-saving equipment, assisting evacuated families, establishing the New York chapter of the Hostages Families Forum — and raising some $1.5 million. Nearly eight months into the war, Granot-Lubaton has remained unflagging in her efforts. “As long as the hostages are still there, as long as the Israeli public still does not trust its government, I don’t feel like I’ve achieved what I want yet,” she says.

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I was born on the 4th of July! So the United States and I are just meant to be.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? When we miss Israeli food, we either go to Miriam (for their amazing shakshuka) or to Gazala’s, which is a great Druze restaurant that has also suffered from anti-Israeli attacks. Whenever we can, we go there to support them.

Baruch Herzfeld, 52

Protecting New Yorkers from e-bike battery fires


A born-and-raised New Yorker, Baruch Herzfeld has traveled to nearly 50 countries, but, he says, “I never ever want to leave the city.” Over his lifetime, Herzfeld has launched a series of ventures across the city he loves; his latest, Popwheels, is an e-bike battery swap network that allows riders, including delivery workers, to swap out spent lithium-ion batteries — the leading causes of fires in the city — for safe, fully charged replacements. Herzfeld grew up in an Orthodox community in Staten Island and now lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The former operator of the Traif Bike Gesheft, which distributed used bicycles to Satmar Hasids in Brooklyn, Herzfeld said he and his Popwheels colleagues are “working with city government, industry and community organizations to make New York City safe from battery fires, while also helping expedite the transition away from fossil fuels.” A father of four — his wife gave birth to triplets in 2018 — Herzfeld said his mission is “making a better world for my children, making sure New Yorkers are safe in their apartments.”

Who is your New York Jewish hero? Larry David, and my wife.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? All of Brownsville, but start at the Rolland Theatre, and end at the Midnight Rose Candy Store.

Bess Kalb, 36

Giving (hilarious) voice to Jewish women’s anxieties

(Lucas Foglia Photography)

Bess Kalb is, in her own words, “an author and TV writer and screenwriter and mother of the two most objectively beautiful children in New York. Please print that.” Emmy Award-nominated for her work on “The Jimmy Kimmel Show,” Kalb is also the author of the bestseller “Nobody Will Tell You This But Me” — in which she turned her Jewish grandmother’s voicemails into a rollicking, moving memoir — and a popular Substack newsletter, The Grudge Report. This year, ​​with illustrator Erin Kraan, Kalb published a best-selling children’s picture book, “Buffalo Fluffalo.” She says that “my family and the cost of stepping out the door in New York City” are what motivates her work — that, and making people laugh, of course. “I was born in New York City, so what brought me here was an epidural,” says Kalb, who now lives in Brooklyn after a stint in California. “And hopefully I will die in New York City, just like my great-grandfather before me, who was hit by a bus at 96 years old walking home drunk from synagogue.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I have ulcerative colitis! (Am I doing this right?)

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? My parents’ apartment in Morningside Heights, because they live right near one of the last remaining Ollie’s Noodle Shops in NYC.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? It’s not technically a “Jewish site,” but I consider the whale in the Museum of Natural History to be culturally Jewish. I grew up considering it a holy site, and now I take my oldest kid there most weekends. The dolphins, however, are not Jewish.

Arielle Krule, 32

Creating a spiritual community for people in recovery 

(Klavallee Photography)

Last summer, Arielle Krule, a therapist and community organizer, gathered with a small group of Jews in her Prospect Heights living room. They began exploring, through what she calls “the prism of Jewish text and recovery principles,” questions like, “How do I get through this week of recovery?” or “Where is God in all of this?” By Rosh Hashanah, the group had outgrown her Brooklyn apartment, and Krule officially became the founder and director of Selah, a “participation-celebrated, perfection-averse, everyone-welcome community of people in recovery and those who love them, grounded in Jewish tradition.” Since its founding, Selah has hosted holiday celebrations, weekly groups and a national Narcan Campaign, “in which we are aiming to train 1,000 Jewish professionals in how to save a life by the end of 5784.” “I know firsthand the effect that addiction can have on someone and the people around them,” says Krule, who moved to New York in 2010, teaches at Luria Academy in Brooklyn and is completing her rabbinical ordination at Yeshivat Maharat, an Orthodox seminary. “I can only imagine how my family would have benefited from a religious community where they could bring their whole selves — not a ‘perfect’ version that didn’t exist.”

Who is your New York Jewish hero? Fran Drescher — she’s a woman from an outer borough, hustling, prioritizing her inner life, and looking fabulous while doing it.

Yaakov Langer, 32

Making podcasts and YouTube shows for Orthodox Jews

(Naftoli Goldgrab)

“The Torah is the blueprint for the world,” says Yaakov Langer, the Brooklyn native who created and runs Living Lchaim, a network of podcasts and YouTube shows designed to “enhance the lives of Orthodox Jews” and everyone else. “I believe we have so much to share with podcasts, videos and social media. Whether someone is Jewish or not, I’m excited to help give them a different perspective.” With some 1.2 million subscribers and seven podcasts, the network claims to be the largest Jewish YouTube channel. Langer, who now lives with his wife on Long Island is the host of one of them, “Inspiration for the Nation,” where, he says, “I get to meet the coolest Jews in the world” — including Hasidic superstar Lipa Schmeltzer and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? Barack Obama follows me on X. I don’t know why! But I’ll take it.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? I have family who work in the Diamond District. It’s fascinating to see how that industry works. I don’t get it. But definitely a cool process.

Brad Mahlof, 35

Award-winning chef honoring his Sephardic heritage

(Maria Givens)

Brad Mahlof is an award-winning chef who recently won the PBS competition series “The Great American Recipe” — where he put a spotlight on his Libyan Jewish roots. “My food honors both my Sephardic and Ashkenazi heritage and emphasizes the importance of quality, seasonal and local ingredients,” says Mahlof, who was born in Brooklyn, raised in New Jersey and now resides in Manhattan. “I am well known for hosting epic Shabbat dinners that showcase my Libyan, Israeli and European roots as well as other global culinary influences inspired by my love of travel.” As an undergraduate at Brandeis University, Mahlof said he would occasionally skip classes for two or three days at a time to make a giant Shabbat dinner for 50 of his friends. Currently, Mahlof hosts popup dinners and “exceptional cooking experiences,” as he calls them, for private clients. “I’m passionate about representing my Jewish heritage through food,” says Mahlof, whose paternal family hails from Libya while his mom’s family is from Europe. “My mixed background has given me a well-rounded Jewish experience that heartily influences my food. I want to memorialize the beautiful flavors of my culture through my cooking and use my art as a way to express my Jewish identity and honor tradition.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? Opera and classical music are my favorite genres of music and Lincoln Center is my happy place in the city.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? I love Shmoné in Greenwich Village. The food is incredible and it’s always a fun time.

Aija Mayrock, 28

Poet and influencer who feeds Holocaust survivors

(Anthony Tran)

Aija Mayrock is a bestselling author and poet, a spoken word performer, a recent MBA graduate from Columbia University, and a social media influencer with more than 500,000 followers combined on TikTok and Instagram. Among her uplifting posts and videos, Mayrock regularly delivers Shabbat meals to Holocaust survivors in New York, sharing snippets of their stories with her audience. “I love to create projects and tell stories that make people think differently and look at the world and people in a new way,” says Mayrock, who published her first book, “The Survival Guide to Bullying,” in 2015, and her second, “Dear Girl,” in 2020. “We are on this planet for a limited amount of the time and we have the ability to make an impact. The things we say and do matter. I want to leave the world a little better than when I got here.” Mayrock —  who was born in New York and moved to California with her family when she was 13 before returning to New York at 19 — has performed her poetry at venues like Madison Square Garden, the Forbes Summit, the United Nations and SXSW. Up next? “I have a TV show I wrote in development at the moment,” she says.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? I love Israeli food and two of my favorite spots are Balaboosta and Laser Wolf.

Adina Miles-Sash, 36

Orthodox feminist activist


Known to her 72,000-plus Instagram followers as Flatbush Girl, Adina Miles-Sash grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn — a neighborhood she describes as “rich in Jewish culture with numerous synagogues, schools, kosher groceries and restaurants” — and is raising her family in the neighborhood today. An activist within the Orthodox Jewish community, “I focus on critical issues such as the lack of female representation in print, where women’s faces are often omitted from local publications under the guise of modesty, a practice that diminishes their visibility and voice,” she says. “Additionally, I address injustices in the Jewish divorce process, where women can face extortion or be compelled to relinquish legal protections to obtain a get (religious divorce).” Recently, Miles-Sash made headlines for orchestrating a “sex strike” among observant women to help a community member obtain such a divorce. (“Jewish women are not property,” she says. “They deserve the freedom and respect accorded by our laws and traditions.”) But her activism doesn’t end there: She’s also a volunteer for an all-female ambulance corps, which provides emergency services to Orthodox women. “My inspiration stems from my education at an all-female Orthodox Jewish school, where I was taught by brilliant and empowered women” who nonetheless were required to defer to male rabbis on most issues, Sash says.

Who is your New York Jewish hero? New York Supreme Court Justice Rachel Freier, the first female Hasidic judge and the first in the Supreme Court. She founded Ezras Nashim, the first all-female ambulance corps, breaking significant barriers within her Hasidic community.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? I highly recommend visiting 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch community. While I don’t personally identify as Chabad-Lubavitch, I am deeply impressed by their commitment to outreach. While there, take a stroll down Kingston Avenue to experience the vibrant culture, visit kosher bakeries and restaurants, and witness the bustling life of a community that skillfully blends modernity with tradition.

Itamar Moses, 46


(Andrew Eccles)

Itamar Moses, a Berkeley, California native, moved to New York in 1999, two weeks after he graduated from college, intending to become a playwright. The move paid off: In 2018, Moses won a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for “The Band’s Visit,” about an Egyptian band stranded in a hardscrabble town in Israel’s Negev desert. Earlier this year, Moses opened not one but two off-Broadway productions within two weeks of each other: the musical “Dead Outlaw” at the Minetta Lane Theater, as well as Moses’ most personal work to date, “The Ally” at the Public Theater. The latter centers on Asaf (played by “How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor) who, like Moses, is a 40-something playwright who grew up in Berkeley, the son of Israeli parents. As “The Ally” unfolds, Asaf becomes embroiled in conflict after he signs a letter that tangentially criticizes Israel; the show’s themes address many timely topics — including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, campus activism, racism and antisemitism — while offering no tidy answers. What inspires his work? “The desire to share things that confuse, or trouble, or move, or obsess, or in some other way compel me, in order to feel less alone,” the Brooklyn resident says, adding: “Seeing great work by others. The totally fruitless pursuit of having something someday come out exactly the way it felt in my head.”

Who is your New York Jewish hero? Does Sandy Koufax still count? [Editors’ note: Yes.]

Alissa Platcow, 31

Making Jewish burial traditions accessible to all NYC Jews

(Miriam Hoffman)

Back in 2021, Alissa Platcow was a rabbinical student touring Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, the Upper West Side funeral home, when she learned a startling fact: Only four Jewish burial societies in all of New York City were non-Orthodox, and all were associated with synagogues. That meant that the vast majority of the city’s Jews had no avenue for participating in the rituals and rites associated with burial — at a time when the pandemic had exposed many to death. “I saw an incredible need for something tangible that sanctified life in this time of loss,” Platcow recalls. And so, Platcow teamed up with other rabbis to create New York’s first progressive chevra kadisha, or burial society, which now includes 100 volunteers from nine congregations, and some who are not affiliated with any at all. Platcow, whose Hebrew Union College thesis involved translating ancient texts related to death and mourning, created new rituals and language appropriate for burying people who were nonbinary or not Jewish. The work isn’t what Platcow expected when she moved from Massachusetts to New York a decade ago to pursue a career as a jazz singer. But the newly minted Manhattan-residing Reform rabbi, who will soon begin working at a Westchester synagogue, says she finds great meaning in sharing more inclusive burial practices: “When we interact with the world of the dead, we actually become more intentional about the way we move through the world of the living.”

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? On the east side of Madison Square Park is a courthouse that’s topped with nine large statues of people who have presided over law and justice over time. One is Moses; another is said to pay homage to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A small Holocaust memorial on the northwest wall serves as a pillar of the building and symbolizes not only our value as Jewish Americans, but the responsibility we carry to uphold the values of justice, truth and life as Jews and as Americans.

Ross Perlin, 41

Preserving New York’s endangered languages 

(Cecil Howell)

“I’m here because of Ellis Island,” says linguist Ross Perlin, who earned rave reviews for his latest book, “Language City: The Fight to Preserve Endangered Mother Tongues,” published earlier this year. Perlin, who identifies as a fourth-generation, born-and-raised New Yorker, is also the co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance, a nonprofit that supports linguistic diversity in NYC and beyond — and which has been working with the Hebrew Union Col­lege-Jew­ish Insti­tute of Reli­gion Jew­ish Lan­guage Project to document Iranian Jewish languages spoken in the Los Angeles Persian Jewish community. Perlin, a linguistics professor at Columbia University who once documented his travels in China for the Yiddish Forward, says his “love of languages, passion for cities [and] sheer curiosity” are what inspire him to do the work that he does. As he writes in “Language City”: “Languages represent thousands of natural experiments: ways of seeing, understanding and living that should rightly form a major part of any meaningful account of what it is to be human.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I don’t have internet at home, and I love it.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? Smoked fish from Acme — go to the source!

Tova Plaut, 54

Fighting antisemitism in NYC public schools 

(Shayna Smulivitz of Shayna Purim Photograhy)

“I’m driven by a profound sense of responsibility to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, have access to a safe and equitable education,” says Tova Plaut, an educator and the founder of the NYCPS Alliance, a grassroots organization dedicated to fighting antisemitism in the city’s public schools. Formed in November 2023 after an unruly protest at Queens’ Hillcrest High School during which a Jewish teacher was targeted, NYCPS Alliance “was born out of a collective determination to break the silence and provide support for those who may be afraid to speak up individually,” says Plaut. “Ensuring the safety, security, and respect of the Jewish community is not just a cause I believe in — it’s a fundamental part of who I am, ingrained in my DNA through the experiences and values passed down by my parents.” Plaut, who lives on Long Island, is an instructional coordinator for District 2 in Manhattan. She also was involved in helping to expand the Kosher Summer Free Meals Program, “ensuring over 30,000 children across New York State have access to government funded nutritious kosher meals during the summer months.”

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? The Eldridge Street Synagogue (Museum at Eldridge Street). I can’t walk by this magnificent, restored synagogue without stopping and taking a few moments to admire it.

Diana Rachnaev, 37

Providing mental health resources for Queens’ Bukharian community

(Schneps Media)

As a child of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Diana Rachnaev says she understands firsthand the way that intergenerational trauma affects her Bukharian Jewish community, which has seen an uptick in substance abuse and domestic violence cases. Along with her siblings, Rachnaev founded Yesodot, a nonprofit social services agency working with youth and families reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Since its founding five years ago, Yesodot has worked on nearly 400 cases, and works with anyone in need of help, regardless of whether they are Bukharian or Jewish. “We don’t have to continue suffering in silence just because this is something that we were taught or brought up to believe is the right way,” Rachnaev says. “In order to make sure that we have a successful future ahead of us, we want to make sure that there’s a solid foundation, and that starts with the children.” This summer, Rachnaev hopes to continue her advocacy work as she runs for State Committee for Assembly District 28 representing Forest Hills and Rego Park. Rachnaev says she is driven by “a genuine passion for addressing social issues and making a difference in the lives of individuals and communities,” and is committed to “empowering others, fostering community well-being, and promoting social justice.”

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum — located in the Lower East Side, this synagogue and museum highlights the unique history of the Romaniote Jews, a community with roots in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean. Also, the Bukharian Jewish Museum in Rego Park, Queens — a 2,000-year-old tradition encaptured in a beautiful place to give you a glimpse of the history of the Bukharian Jewish people.

Morgan Raum, 27

Creating Shabbat experiences for cultural Jews

(Jessica Eu)

Online food influencer Morgan Raum is a “full-time content creator in the food and restaurant space” with 10 years’ experience. More recently, the Greenwich Village resident founded Shabbat Club, which she describes as “an exclusive culturally Jewish community where I host intimate, curated dinners and after parties primarily at Jewish-owned restaurants and businesses in New York City.” These events range from intimate dinner parties with 20 people to raucous after-parties with hundreds. “I have been so inspired by the Jewish community in New York City and their resilience after Oct. 7 — it’s been very easy to do the work that I’m doing because everyone wants to be together and we’ve really rallied together after the attacks,” says Raum, who grew up on the Upper East Side. Shabbat Club, she says, is partially inspired by her love of food — but also her grandmother, who died two years ago. “She was born in Tel Aviv before the State of Israel was even official,” says Raum, who helped fundraise $100,000 for Israel after Oct. 7. “She absolutely loved her friends and family. She was always cooking and she was always singing, listening to music and dancing.”

Who is your New York Jewish hero? Larry David. He’s a brilliant, iconic, hilarious comic, but also, I think the way that he’s uniting both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities over such New York Jewish humor and messaging is so inspiring.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? If we’re talking about Israeli food, my go-to spot is 19 Cleveland. It’s perfect for every occasion. If I want deli food, though, I’m probably hitting Pastrami Queen or a Katz’s Deli if it’s late at night.

Ari Richter, 41

Author and illustrator

(Daria Carmon)

Growing up as a “nebbishy” kid in Tampa, Florida, Ari Richter had a comics-themed bar mitzvah where he “gave a speech conflating the vigilante justice of my favorite superheroes with the world-healing ideals of tikkun olam,” he says. Now raising his own children in Queens, Richter will make his debut as an author and illustrator when his book, “Never Again Will I Visit Auschwitz: A Graphic Family Memoir of Trauma & Inheritance,” is published by Fantagraphics this summer. “It’s an intergenerational story narrated by four generations of my family from prewar Germany to post-Trump America,” Richter says. “It’s part Holocaust testimony, part memoir, part travelogue, part tragedy, part comedy.” Five years in the making, the graphic memoir draws upon Richter’s own multidisciplinary art practice — he is a professor of studio art at CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College — as well as a trove of recorded Holocaust testimonies and “late-in-life memoirs” from his survivor grandparents and great-grandparents. “I often describe this process as an intergenerational collaboration, even though my part of the work began long after their deaths,” he says. “My ancestors left their stories for the historical record, and this project is a way for me to honor that intention.”

Who is your New York Jewish hero? The two Arts: Spiegelman and Garfunkel.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? Russ & Daughters Cafe on Orchard Street. I like to squint my eyes and imagine I’m a turn-of-the-century immigrant noshing some chopped liver and pickled herring in between shifts at the garment factory. To stay in character, I continue blurring my vision when the check comes, since it’s probably as much as I’d make in a year.

Tziporah Salamon, 74

Timeless fashion icon

(Photography by Gigi Stoll)

According to her website, Tziporah Salamon is “a designer, raconteur, author, model, and legendary New York style icon-about-town” who began her career modeling for Lanvin. These days, she may be best known for her Instagram presence, where she has nearly 130,000 followers, as well as for her seminars, The Art of Dressing Masterclass. As Salamon says, “I use my vast collection of antique clothes to teach the principles of design and how to elevate dressing to an art form.” These seminars, says Salamon — who moved from Israel to Brooklyn when she was 9 — is a way of honoring her Holocaust survivor parents: Her father, Izak Izidore Salamon, was a master tailor “who survived the camps by sewing the Nazi uniforms.” Her mother, Ida Dina Berner, could sew, knit, crochet and embroider. “They made all my clothes so from day one I was swathed in couture clothing expertly executed to fit my body at all stages,” Salamon says. “The bar was set very high!” Salamon, who has lived in the same Upper West Side apartment since 1982, is also the author of a book, “The Art of Dressing,” and she continues to model: She recently did a campaign for Tiffany and just completed a shoot for the Four Seasons Napa. A self-described “proud Sabra and a proud Jew,” Salamon says “celebrating Shabbat and the Jewish holidays always makes me so happy and swells my heart.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I love nothing more than riding my bicycle throughout the city dressed to the nines and blasting Hebrew music on my speaker.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? There is a statue of a Jewish tailor in the Garment District. It reminds me of my father.

Jeff Schoenfeld, 66

Allocating $800 million-plus in post-Oct. 7 donations to Israel

(Michael Prince)

As of March, Jews in North America had donated nearly $800 million to local Jewish federations to support Oct. 7 recovery efforts in Israel — a fundraising drive on a scale not seen in more than 50 years. The man in charge of allocating those funds? New Yorker Jeff Schoenfeld, who co-chairs the Israel Emergency Allocations Committee of the Jewish Federations of North America. Recently, Schoenfeld has helped direct money to kibbutzes in the south of Israel, whose infrastructure was destroyed by Hamas, as well as to a small business loan fund which provides “vital credit support to small and micro businesses [in Israel] that can get back on their feet and prosper again once the crisis abates,” he says. A retired investment banker, Schoenfeld led diversity and LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts at Brown Brothers Harriman; he’s also a past president of UJA-Federation of New York. “I have served as a lay leader in the Jewish world for more than 30 years, and this journey has delivered a range of deeply fulfilling experiences and milestones,” he says. “I see the role of philanthropy as positively changing people’s lives… one at a time.” As for the Jews of New York, in particular: “I am constantly amazed at the diversity, vibrancy and generosity of our community,” Schoenfeld says. “The future of Jewish New York is as bright as ever, soon to be led by the next generation of extraordinary leaders who will build on the foundations of all who came before them.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I have been known to tear up the dance floor — for hours at a time — something folks find very surprising as I am more often seen in a serious leadership capacity at not-for-profit board tables or in professional settings.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? NYC was built on the shoulders of immigrants, Jewish and other, so to understand NYC and its unparalleled diversity, there is no better place than Ellis Island. This is where it all began for so many.

Eyal Shani, 64

Expanding kosher and Israeli cuisine in NYC 


Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani may not live in New York, but his innovative Israeli restaurants have had an outsized impact in the city over the past year. Shani, who was born in Jerusalem, operates more than 40 restaurants around the globe and, in November 2023, he made headlines when he opened Malka on the Upper West Side, his first kosher establishment outside of Israel. That same month, his Greenwich Village restaurant, Shmoné, was awarded a Michelin star, and in January this year, he made the news again when he gained kosher certification for the Times Square location of his fast-casual chain Miznon. These days, Shani operates eight restaurants in Manhattan, and he’s not shy about the impact he’s made when it comes to introducing Israeli food to New York City and the world. “I’m the godfather of Israeli cuisine,” he said. “The main structure of Israeli food was built by me.”

Ari’el Stachel, 32

Promoting Jewish diversity, onstage and off

(Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Ari’el Stachel is an actor, singer, writer and activist. Although he’s probably best known for his Tony Award-winning role in “The Band’s Visit,” more recently the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, resident had the world premiere of his solo show, “Out of Character” — which “explores the intersections of race, mental health, and survival” — in his hometown of Berkeley, California. Stachel came to the city in 2009 to study acting at New York University, and when he’s not performing he is an outspoken advocate for Jewish diversity in the arts and spotlighting Jewish communities of color. When the New York Times featured a spread of exclusively Ashkenazi Jews on Broadway, Stachel endeavored to highlight Mizrahi participants like himself. “The erasure of our diversity has created an image of Jewish people that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he wrote in a recent Instagram post featuring a photo of his Yemenite Jewish family. “We are NOT white. And most of us are not even white passing.” As Stachel, who is currently filming his first lead role in a feature film, says, “I feel extra responsibility to create visibility for my people — I felt pretty alone as a Yemenite Israeli Jewish American kid.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I dreamed of being in the NBA until I realized that my genes felt otherwise.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? I go to 12 Chairs on the weekend to get jachnun — because I’m Yemenite!

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? The Yemenite Synagogue of Manhattan. They have preserved such an ancient culture and tradition; it’s breathtaking.

Shaina Taub, 35

Broadway’s buzziest singer-songwriter

(Shervin Lainez)

Jewish singer-songwriter Shaina Taub wrote the book, music and lyrics for “Suffs,” a buzzy new Broadway musical about the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Taub is nominated for a Tony for best book of a musical and best original score, and she also stars in “Suffs” as activist Alice Paul. A native of rural Vermont, Taub first came to New York to study theater at NYU, where she graduated in 2009; 10 years later she won a prestigious Kleban Prize for promising lyricists. “Musically, I’ve always been so drawn to musical theater and the more I do it, the more I’m like, yeah, this is a deeply Jewish tradition of music that dates back to Yiddish theater,” she told our colleagues at Hey Alma. “So many of the great writers of the form are Jewish … I hadn’t gotten into it because of anything Jewish, but now I am realizing that, on some level, I made a pilgrimage to the mecca of New York City where I’m now living among all the Jews and working in theater with all the Jews. It can’t be an accident.”

Richie Taylor, 42

Barrier-breaking NYPD deputy chief 

(New York Police Department)

Brooklynite Richie Taylor was recently promoted by the New York City Police Department to deputy chief — making the 42-year-old the youngest deputy chief in the NYPD. But his accomplishments don’t end there: He’s also the commanding officer of the Community Affairs Outreach Division, where he oversees some 300 community affairs officers and supervisors. “I pride myself on establishing and maintaining a close working relationship with all communities across New York City and beyond,” Taylor says. Over the course of his long career — Taylor passed New York’s EMT test when he was 17 — he’s served in more than 10 commands and responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11, arriving there before the towers collapsed. “I am the highest-ranking NYPD officer in history to wear a yarmulke in uniform as my usual appearance,” Taylor says. “As the mayor says, no one should fear wearing any religious garment in New York City. Always be proud of who you are!”

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? The Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights. The museum was founded by Devorah Halberstam and is dedicated to the memory of her son Ari who was killed in a terrorist attack on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Mark Treyger, 42

A bridge-builder for the city’s Jews


Mark Treyger is a former New York City Council member representing Southern Brooklyn who, more recently, worked as senior education advisor to Mayor Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks. In March, Treyger began a new role as the CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, which represents Jewish concerns to government officials, ethnic and religious communities and the media. “My term in the council started in the aftermath of one of the worst storms in our City’s history [Superstorm Sandy] and my tenure ended in a middle of a global pandemic,” Treyger says, noting that such experience is especially relevant in a time of conflict over the war in Israel and rising antisemitism. “I am crisis-tested and have seen firsthand the power of bringing people together to overcome common challenges.” Since assuming his role at JCRC, Treyger has spearheaded numerous projects, including an “ambitious education agenda” to help combat antisemitism in the city’s public schools — Treyger was an educator before turning to politics — as well a model Passover seder that brought together Holocaust survivors and local politicians. “Never underestimate the strength, heart and the resiliency of the Jewish people,” says Treyger, a first-generation Brooklynite whose parents came from Ukraine, and whose grandmothers were Holocaust survivors. “Wanting to help and serve people is at the core of who I am,” he says.

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I love to cook, bake, watch the Knicks and find cool New York nature trails to explore! Something that might not be known about me is that I lost over 125 pounds by committing to a better diet and exercise.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? For the memory of my loved ones and for all those affected by the Holocaust, I visit each year Holocaust Memorial Park in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn to pay my respect and to never forget.

Phylisa Wisdom, 38

Helping liberal New York Jews navigate a post-Oct. 7 world

(Ray Singh)

Phylisa Wisdom is the executive director of New York Jewish Agenda, a four-year-old Jewish nonprofit that does advocacy, organizing and education in New York. A San Diego native who now lives in Brooklyn, Wisdom started her position last July — just months before the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel upended the Jewish world. Since the Israel-Hamas war began, “We have played in a key role in helping liberal New York Jews navigate the complexity of this very difficult post-Oct. 7 world, where many on the political poles are trying to divide us and insisting that one must be simply pro-Israel or pro-Palestine,” Wisdom says. “I’m proud of how NYJA has demonstrated that we can care about self-determination and safety for both peoples, and in fact that’s a very popular but sometimes silent position in our community.” Though antisemitism and responses to the war may have taken center stage, Wisdom’s organization also takes on “issues we know many pluralistic, liberal Jews care about,” she says, including welcoming migrants and criminal justice reform. “I am inspired by playing a small part in ensuring that thriving, 21st-century liberal Judaism is an influential force for good across our city and state,” she says, “contributing to a New York Jewish politic rooted in social justice.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? I had a brief stint as a food and restaurant writer.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? B&H Dairy in the East Village. I love that it’s one of the only kosher dairy restaurants left, and that its now longtime owners aren’t Jewish but are deeply devoted to its origin story and roots. It’s a very New York restaurant story, and their smoked whitefish sandwich is perfect.

If you were to recommend one must-see Jewish site in NYC, what would it be? The Tenement Museum, which helps us and our neighbors understand how Jews fit into the fabric of this immigrant town.

Alana Zeitchik, 38

Outspoken advocate for hostages held by Hamas

(Seth Harrison/USA Today)

Israeli-American advocate, speaker, writer and media professional Alana Zeitchik considers herself a “half Yemenite-Israeli and half Brooklyn Jew, because my mom is from Israel and my dad is from Brooklyn.” On Oct. 7, six of her family members in Israel were taken hostage by Hamas. “I dropped everything to advocate for their release,” Zeitchik tells us. “Since then I have written op-eds, made countless news and press appearances and given speeches at the United Nations and March Against Antisemitism in Washington, D.C.” Now that five of her relatives have returned home, “My focus has shifted towards advocating for Jewish identity in America in addition to pro-peace and pro-democracy solutions for the Middle East,” she says. Among the West Orange, New Jersey, native’s current projects is “growing” the non-profit Narrow Bridge Project, which Zeitchik describes as an effort to help young Jewish Americans “have more courageous dialogue to increase consensus and cultivate a deeper sense of belonging across their differing views.”

What is a fun or surprising fact about you? My last name means bunny or “little rabbit,” which is a term of endearment in Russian.

If you’re going out to eat Jewish food in NYC, where are you going and why? As much as I love a bagel and lox, my palate is partial to my Middle Eastern side. You can find me at 12 Chairs on the weekend eating Yemenite jachnun with grated tomato and schug.