Kol Koleinu 2022-2023 Social Change Projects

An important component of the Meyer-Gottesman Kol Koleinu Feminist Teen Fellowship is the development of social change projects in which groups of fellows tackle an issue related to sexism 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 2022-23 social change projects.

Abortion Advocates of New England

Fellows: Inessa Berman and Hannah Fremmer
Mentor: Kelly Kossar

“We created a social media page that is geared toward educating people around abortion rights and policies around the New England area. We have created a series of posts that contain resources, facts, and policies that will hopefully spread to a wide variety of people and increase their education around abortion. We learned a lot about specific policies that we didn’t know before doing this project which expanded our education and knowledge around reproductive/abortion rights. Educating ourselves will help us be more effective in educating others.”

Abortion Through Lenses of Judaism and Civil Disagreement

Fellows: Talia Polish and Rachel Penzner
Mentor: Michele Scher

“For our social change project, we created a presentation to teach other teenagers how to have civil disagreements about reproductive rights. This was done through studying Jewish text related to abortion, and providing steps and explanations of how to have conversations with people who have differing opinions. We presented this during our final Kol Koleinu retreat at a “Lunch & Learn” to other Kol Koleinu fellows and teenagers from NFTY Chicago. This presentation was very successful! We were able to have reflective, engaging conversations while practicing the skills learned through role-play.”

Birth Control Resource Sheet

Fellows: Luciena Gunderson & Rosie Smith
Mentor: Ellie Goldstein

“We researched and designed a birth control resource sheet aimed at teens looking for easy and accessible information about birth control methods. It was distributed through posters mainly at school bathrooms. This had the effect of informing teens about how to prevent unwanted pregnancy and reduce and prevent STIs. We learned how to effectively communicate with a wider audience, gather and organize information in an understandable way, and work together.”

Clothing Swap

Fellow: Avivah Mitchel
Mentor: Lucy Marshall

“I held a clothing swap at my local YMCA. I got many large bags of donations of gently loved clothes from the community (my school, YMCA members, etc) with the help from YMCA staff and my friends, I sorted the clothes and held an event. On April 29th I opened the swap to the public and people came and took clothes for free! Attendees didn’t have to donate in order to take as many clothes as they wanted. More than 50 people attended, all ages and genders. I had about 30 bags of clothes left over, I donated them to the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop, a local second hand store that works with the Delonis Center (a local homeless shelter) and allows the people who use the Delonis Center to “shop” for free at this store. I am extremely proud of the participation in this event! So many people donated and came to the event!”

Composting in Wilmington / A Plant-Based Difference

Fellow: Lillian Berger
Mentor: Lucy Marshall

“I presented a slideshow about composting at a feminist club I’m in at school, and held a discussion there about how we could start composting at our school and the challenges that come with that. I also hosted a “green oneg” after my synagogue’s Friday night service with the help of my Hebrew school class. We cooked vegetarian food and used all compostable utensils for the dinner. During the service, I gave a speech about how I became interested in composting and why I care about helping the environment. In my speech, I also connected composting to some very important Jewish values, like Bal Taschit and Tikkun Olam.”

Gender Equity Panels

Fellows: Alyssa Feinberg and Serena van der Hulst
Mentor: Annie Fortnow

“We held panels hosting women speakers in education. These speakers were both teachers and special guests who each brought an outside perspective and their life experiences related to gender inequality in education and the work place. Hearing such perspectives, allowed for conversations drawing awareness to inequalities and a comfortable environment for students and speakers to share their experiences. These panels may also become an annual event, which would provide the entire student body with such discussions. There was a turnout of 15-30 high school students at each panel. We were able to hear the opinions of the speakers and learn new things about faculty and people we’ve worked closely with in the past. This opened up our minds and broadened our perspectives, while inspiring us to continue fighting for gender equity.”

Girls Empowering Girls: A Period Supplies Drive

Fellow: Serena Harris
Mentor: Juliana Karol

“I addressed the problem of a lack of affordable period supplies by preparing and delivering a presentation and organizing a collection drive for period supplies (pads and tampons) through my volleyball club where 200+ high school girls play. I shared information about my drive in-person and through social media. I am proud that more people are aware of the serious impact a lack of period supplies have on girls / women. I am hopeful that they will be more mindful of the struggles many people have to afford basic hygiene items – and will consider more regular donation of these products to local nonprofits.”

Gun Violence Awareness

Fellows: Talia Gordon Wexler, Sophie Finkelstein, and Nadine Katz
Mentor: Haley Schulman

“We researched different student run organizations and took their ways to help and spread awareness. We created a flyer that we shared with our school communities on facts and also ways they can help. The ways to help included participating in events to signing up to vote in the next election if eligible. I am most proud of the research we have done, we reached out to a lot of places and never got down on ourselves when someone didn’t answer.”

High School and Sexual Harassment

Fellows: Emily Levine
Mentor: Amee Wurzburg

“I wanted to explore the reporting and handling of sexual assault and harassment at my high school. I decided that working directly with my school government was the most effective way to handle this big problem. I ultimately joined a committee working with the school social workers and psychologists to create posters to put up in the bathrooms of my school. While these posters have not yet been put in place, the committee is continuing to meet and work to create change.”

LGBTQ+ Language and an Approach to Being Comfortably Uncomfortable

Fellows: Frieda Belasco and Katriela Nelkin
Mentor: Em Besthoff

“To research for the guide, we created and distributed a survey that asked our peers about their relationship with LGBTQ+ language. With our resource guide we hope to elevate our peers’ voices and experiences while also educating those who don’t feel they have the language & tools they need to have conversations surrounding LGBTQ+ topics. We did a lot of personal outreach for the survey. We received one bad response (very homophobic), but it inspired a great conversation among our group. We learned that there is a wide range of perspectives and experiences, even among the LGBTQ+ community. We are proud of creating a resource that we hope will lead to more understanding and awareness of LGBTQ+ culture and experiences.”

Stand up for Reproductive Rights!

Fellows: Lucy Ginis and Rachel Zacky
Mentor: April Goldman

“Our project was to get in contact with representatives about reproductive rights. We did this by directly reaching to representatives and by posting stickers around our towns so that other could do the same. The audience for the letters were specific US Congressmen, and the audience for the stickers was the general public. It went well and hopefully made an impact on the voting patterns of representatives.”

Students for Mental Heath

Fellows: Dhara Greenberg and Izzie Lehman
Mentor: Beth Rosenfeld

“We made a website compiling resources to help kids with mental health problems in the education system. The audience is mainly students going through mental health challenges and school counselors who could give the resource to those kids.”

Tackling Achievement Culture

Fellows: Hallel Abrams Gerber and Cameron Weismer
Mentor: Ashley Netanel

“We created an informative method of discussion for navigating the pitfalls of achievement culture. We’re most proud of the wealth of knowledge and level of research we conducted. We learned a lot and found many resources.”

The Banned Book Blog

Fellow: Esmé Goldman
Mentor: Rebekah Farber

“I made a website called The Banned Book Blog to share resources on the history of banned books in America and ways to find banned books in your area. I then reached out to people I know to spread the site into communities other than my own.”

Watch the Kol Koleinu Closing Event

Want to see more?

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