Kol Koleinu 2023-2024 Capstone Projects

An important component of the Meyer-Gottesman Kol Koleinu Feminist Teen Fellowship is the development of capstone projects in which groups of fellows tackle an issue that affects them or the people they care about and work to educate their peers, the Jewish community and the larger world. With appreciation to the incredible mentors who guided them, Moving Traditions is pleased to present these 2023-24 social change projects.

Clothing Drive

Fellow: Lauren Zweibach
Kelly Kossar

“For my project, I did a clothing drive with an organization called Catie’s Closet. I made fliers and infographics to hang around school, as well as have an announcement be posted on our school’s online platform to promote the drive. The drive lasted three days, and we got a few donations. Many people also told me they will personally donate clothing later to Catie’s Closet. Even though I didn’t get many donations, I was still able to spread the word about the organization. I am most proud of how the project overall was completed. I worked hard and it goes to show how it pays off. I am also proud of how many new people were able to hear about Catie’s Closet.”

The Compost Commitment

Fellow: Elyse Reznik & Maddie Gross
Gail Zatz

“We created a website designed to help students create a composting program at their school through outlining a step by step guide that they can follow. The website is up and running and we are currently reaching out to different schools, clubs, and government officials to spread the message. This is the first time we have ever made a website and we are really proud of how it came out. We really enjoyed every detail, like making the logo and changing the layout.  We learned a lot about the process of composting, we now know many bills that have recently passed regarding composting, and we’ve scratched the surface of website building.”

Euphoria Torah

Fellow: Julia Karsner & Sylvie Markel
Merissa Nathan Gerson

“Our project is a graphic collage magazine that explores parallels between the themes of sexualization and objectification of women in modern media narratives, such as the show Euphoria, with biblical and Talmudic stories. We aim to shed light on the stories of women from these ancient texts, highlighting their experiences. Our project’s audience is those interested in exploring the intersection of media, gender, and religious narratives. We wanted to teach people, specifically younger audiences, about these important and fascinating biblical and Talmudic concepts, many of which remain largely unknown to the majority. Through interactive and engaging graphic collages, we aim to educate about concepts of gender and sexuality within Judaism and how they intersect with contemporary media portrayals. We are most proud of our creation of compelling graphics collages and our ability to unlock our creativity to develop something we feel deeply connected to through taking an unconventional approach to the capstone as we’ve taken abstract ideas and transformed them into tangible, engaging content that not only educates but also entertains in a fun way. In the process of researching and creating, we delved into numerous biblical and Talmudic concepts, such as harems and sotah, and their profound implications on gender roles. We gained insights into how double standards are deeply ingrained in theological discourse. This journey has enriched our understanding of religious narratives and their intersection with contemporary issues of gender and society.”

Feminist Biblical Poetry

Fellow: Katriela Nelkin
Paige GoldMarche

“I wrote a poem about the Biblical story of David and Batsheva from Batsheva’s perspective. I submitted the poem to JGirls+ for consideration and am waiting to hear back. I hope this poem will show people a different way to think about the story. I am proud of the way I blended the story, backed up by the original text, and the emotions that I imagined Batsheva was feeling. I learned how to adapt a story through a feminist perspective.”

Genetic Testing Access for Low Socioeconomic Status Patients

Fellow: Drew Siegel & Cameron Weismer
Steph Black

“For our project, we crafted a presentation to show at our school’s Non-Sibi (not for oneself) Day. Our presentation discussed the issue of inequalities created by socioeconomic barriers to breast and ovarian cancer genetic testing. We used data collected by a gynecologic oncology to demonstrate how the implementation of health information technology could potentially tighten the gap. We’re most proud simply about the fact that we researched this more. Both of us know people that have been affected by breast cancer and know the damages it can cause on families. So, we were really proud of ourselves for presenting others with ways we can help everyone get tested. We learned about the lack of knowledge of such an essential issue that can impact so many.”

Get-Out-The-Vote Letter Writing

Fellow: Miriam Weiler & Edie Zeldin
Mentor: Lizzie Meister

“We collaborated with Postcards to Swing States to draft a template for a postcard – it had to be as non-partisan as possible, but we tried to get across that we were passionate about reversing laws in NC like Don’t Say Gay and antiabortion. We hosted parties at shul to get postcards written, and I ended up with around 20! I’m proud of the wide age reach I got. My party had a 2 year old in attendance as well as some of the congregation’s elders.”

Holocaust Education

Fellow: Maayan Seltzer
Paige GoldMarche

“I planned for a local Holocaust survivor to come talk to my school and share her life story. I’m hoping this will help educate my school’s community on the topic, and encourage my school to have better Holocaust education. I’m hoping that this will at least educate a few people more on the topic of the Holocaust, and help clear up misinformation people have surrounding the Holocaust. There’s a lot of things that go into planning an assembly like this, but it’s easy enough for me to do again in the future.”

International Women’s Day Panel

Fellow: Serena van der Hulst
Annie Fortnow

“I hosted two panels of distinguished women in STEM at my school for students and teachers to attend. It helped to promote women in STEM my community. I am proud of how many people the panels touched, as I received many messages from students and faculty raving about how inspiring the event was.”

Media Literacy Workshops

Fellow: Talia Boren
April Goldman

“I hosted two 90-minute media literacy workshops at my school. I taught two separate 8th grade English classes how to navigate today’s digital world. All of the students were very engaged and loved the interactive material. There were some students who were more vocal than others — but nonetheless, it was overall very successful. As the culminating activity, I handed out excerpts from my own journalism articles and they applied the knowledge and tools I taught them to detect and sift through my article. I was really proud of the overall content of my Powerpoint. I thought it was adapted well to the students’ age and demographic. I became more familiar with Powerpoint and following up on emails without sounding too pushy.”

Mental Health Awareness

Fellow: Lucy Letven-Stanton
Hillary LaMarche

“I talked to my counselor at school and tried to spread awareness about mental health resources at my school. I’m most proud of helping other people get the help that they might need but don’t know how to get. I learned that it’s hard to get things out to my school.

Not Skinny Enuf

Fellow: Carly Abrams & Lila Gold
Melo Taylor

“We sought to raise awareness for the unachievable body standards put on girls in society. To do this, we partnered with the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) on a fundraising walk to bring attention toward resources to help individuals with eating disputes and let people know they are not alone in their bodily struggles. We are most proud of are commitment to this walk, despite the harsh rainy and windy weather conditions and inconvenient location of the walk. We learned that there is a community out there to support disordered eating. One thing we would do better is work farther ahead to generate money on our fundraising page so we could donate more for the non profit.”

Op-Ed: An Inside Look: Jewish Teens’ Mental Heath in the Face of Antisemitism

Fellow: Zahava Brenner and Sylvie Simmons
Lindsay Davidman

“We wrote an op-ed about the effect of post-October 7th antisemitism on Jewish teens’ mental health. The op-ed’s goal is to show the gravity of the impact of antisemitism and hate on mental health. It was also to help teenagers understand what they can do in light of the recent increase in hate I am most proud of how we put together a survey and successfully collected data from almost 40 Jewish young adults. We learned how important coordination is when working in a group.”

Op-Ed: Respect for Every Ref

Fellow: Sierra Anthony
Shira Muroff

“My op ed advocated for the equal treatment and respect of all referees regardless of age and/or gender. I wrote about some of my own experiences and included a witness report from a licensed social worker who witnessed me deal with an aggressive coach. I have plans to submit it to a prominent Michigan news source in the future. This is the first half of my op ed so far: ‘Hey sweetheart, do you think you could blow the whistle? he jeers from across the painted field. He is a middle-aged soccer coach for eight year old boys. I am a sixteen year old female referee. Sportsmanship means nothing without respecting everyone in the game.’ For so long, I’ve ignored the unjust ways I’ve been treated by parents, coaches, and players- just because of my gender and age, not to mention being a soccer referee in general. Writing this op-ed has inspired me to stop putting up with and accepting hate I don’t deserve — and to do something about it for myself and other referees. I learned how to effectively communicate with those I am collaborating on projects with from my op ed.”

Op-Ed: Where My Star of David Necklace has Brought Me

Fellow: Quintessa Frisch
Haley Schulman

“For my project, I wrote an op-ed on why I wear my Jewish jewelry and the connection it has to antisemitism. The audience was a Jewish audience, or more broadly, anybody who would be interested in reading it. I think that it went pretty well as I used my time effectively, carried out a lot of research, and referred to me mentor and peers for help. On me, the effect that it has was that it allowed me to more deeply about my identity. For others, I am not entirely sure, but a major goal of it was raising awareness on antisemitism. I am most proud of the creativity behind my idea and the personal connection I was able to incorporate into it. I learned a lot about my Jewish identity, specifically about the impact that my Jewish jewelry has on me.”

Sex Education Op-Ed

Fellow: Livnat Brody & Lily Block
Lindsey Garfield

“We researched and wrote an op-ed on sex education. Our audience was intended to be schools who don’t prioritize or teach comprehensive sex education. We learned a lot, including how to communicate to get things done.”

Shabbat Shalom Book

Fellow: Shira
Ellen Zieselman

“I wrote a children’s book for diaspora Jewish children. I am proud that I managed to finish my book within the time parameters. I learned that visions change as you complete a project, and that’s not a bad thing.”

Their Stories

Fellow: Callie Boren and Zoe Handelsman
Lauren Silva

“We spent a lot of time finding Jewish stories and female stories, while also dedicating a space for other stories of those who faced discrimination. We created a website by compiling a variety of books on these stories, some of which were banned. The audience was anyone who was a book lover or curious to learn more about others’ experiences. Though our website is newly launching, we hope that people find that it is a useful place to find important stories. We are most proud of the impact it will have because as the two of us are readers, we want other young girls to find someone to look up to in another person’s story. We learned about the importance of collaboration because without each other, the website would not have been assembled in the same, meaningful way.”

Unhoused in Boulder Community

Fellow: Ada Frankel
Hilarie Lieb

“I created an interactive poster for my school and my peers to understand more about unhoused people in my community. The poster informs people about a project taking place in my area. It’s a interactive poster to help keep teens aware. I learned how to communicate with adults or people with power in order to share important knowledge. I’m proud of how I was able to educate myself and my friends or peers on a topic I care about. I learned how to communicate with adults or people with power in order to share important knowledge.

We Need to Talk About Gaza: An Op-Ed

Fellow: Eliza Goldstein
Emily Besthoff

“I wrote an Op-Ed about the necessity of having  conversations between Jewish and Middle Eastern/North African students and co-edited it with my mentor. Then we sent it out to various people and advisors to further edit it, while at the same time advocating within my school to have this exact type of conversation. I am the most proud of articulating everything I wanted to say, and am proud of my dedication to making sure all voices and DEI were included.”

Young Voters Education

Fellow: Inessa Berman & Allegra Lief
Laura Hemlock-Schaeffer

“For our project, we hosted a Young Voters Education Night for our high schools to stress the importance of voting, give an oversight of the voting process, and get people registered to vote! We decided to change the format into a video that we could share out instead, so that way we could reach more people, without having them take time out of their day to attend our event. We hope that through our project we empowered young people to get involved with the democratic process and increase their civic engagement. I am proud that I was able to organize an event that was hopefully impactful for young people. I was also proud that I was able to create a project that I was truly passionate about.”

Watch the Kol Koleinu Closing Event

Want to see more?

Take a look at the social change projects from previous years’ Kol Koleinu fellows: