Empowering Peer Leaders
These 12 individuals form a diverse group of leaders—they have varied backgrounds and experiences, they come from communities across the Metrowest and North Shore, and they each have unique Jewish journeys. They also all have one thing in common: they’re ready to help redefine what mainstream inclusion can be in the Jewish teen community, helping to connect with and support peers at local, regional and national events. Fellows will work to remove many of the stumbling blocks that prevent teens from feeling comfortable and connected at teen programming by acting as a buddy for their peers.
Sophie Backer, Weston High School:
Sophie Backer is a sophomore at Weston High School. She is a part of the swim and lacrosse teams. She is involved in Best Buddies, Student Council, and the community service club at her school. She is a member of Congregation Or Atid in Wayland. She spends her summers at Camp Robindel in New Hampshire. She also loves to travel!
Judy Dicker, Swampscott High School:
Judy Dicker is a sophomore at Swampscott High School. She plays volleyball and swims for her high school team and the JCCNS. Judy teaches swim lessons at the JCCNS and is also a Madrikha at Temple Emanu-El. She enjoys playing piano and drawing and going to Camp Chimney Corners every summer.
Abby Frank**, Wellesley High School:
Abby Frank is a senior at Wellesley High School, where she swims on the swim team, participates in the varsity ceramics team, and enjoys ceramics, painting, and drawing, and hanging out with her friends in her free time. She belongs to Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, where she is an active member of their teen community and NFTY. She served on the board of The Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston – a group of high school students learning the responsibility of collective philanthropy through tikkun olam and tzedakah.
Rachel Fredman, Westborough High School:
Rachel Fredman is a sophomore at Westborough High School and is involved in Best Buddies and Rangers for a Cure, and enjoys playing field hockey for the school. They are a member of Beth Tikvah and Camp Young Judea community and is excited to be spending five weeks in Israel this summer.
Harleigh Gastman, Newburyport High School:
Harleigh Gastman is a senior at Newburyport High School and loves hanging out with friends and family and playing with her pet ducks. She is a member of Congregation Ahavas Achim in Newburyport, MA.
Anna Levenberg**, Swampscott High School:
Anna Levenberg is a junior at Swampscott High School. She is involved in the I Am That Girl club, Peer Leaders club, International Relations club, is involved with student council, volunteers for Rovers Special Olympics Soccer, and sings in her synagogue’s teen choir, the Chai Notes. Anna also enjoys playing on her school’s volleyball, indoor track, and sailing teams. She is a member of Congregation Shirat Hayam and attends Camp Tel Noar and is so excited for year 2 with JTI’s Ruderman Peer Inclusion Track!!
Rachel Loren, Cambridge School Of Weston:
Rachel Loren is a senior at the Cambridge School Of Weston. They are involved in Model UN and enjoys playing soccer, painting, and reading. They are a member of the Shir Tikva in Wayland, and one more interesting thing about them is that they play the cello.
Lily Mcguirk**, St. Marys High School:
Lily McGuirk is a junior at St. Marys in Lynn. She is involved in Rachel’s Challenge and enjoys being with her family and practicing her faith. She is a member of Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead and enjoys being out in nature.
Jonah Michel**, Newton North High School:
Jonah Michel is a senior at Newton North High School. He is an active part of the school’s theatre program, enjoying roles in both the fall and winter shows. Jonah plays on the baseball team and is a very active member of the Temple Beth Elohim youth community. He also has been going to Camp Tel Noar for seven years.
Samantha Oberlander, Marblehead High School:
Samantha Oberlander is a sophomore at Marblehead High School. She is a member of Team Harmony and plays volleyball and softball. Samantha is a member and Madricha at Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead and enjoys traveling and hanging out with friends.
Annie Overbaugh, Swampscott High School:
Annie Overbaugh is a sophomore at Swampscott High School. She is on the high school volleyball team and is a member of the Student Council. Annie enjoys art, reading, music, and spending time with friends. She is a member of the Temple Emanu-El community and BBYO.
Sofia Vatnik, Marblehead High School:
Sofia Vatnik is a sophomore at Marblehead high school. She is involved in Kindness Club (a club she started at school!) along with dance team and volleyball. She is a member of Temple Sinai and the Camp Tevya community. Sofia also loves going to the beach.
**Denotes Year 2 Fellow.