Posted by: ZOA Staff
September 14, 2016
News Press Release

ZOA Announces High School Fellowship Program in Florida

From left: Avi Bryan, Jordana Zackon, Yehudis Benhamou, Abigail Winograd, Sharona Whisler

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is proud to announce its first ZOA High School Fellowship, being piloted at Scheck Hillel Community School in North Miami Beach, Florida. In addition to ZOA’s tremendous work and involvement on college campuses, the ZOA High School Fellowship aims to prepare students-before they get to college-for what they will encounter, arming them with the facts to combat hatred of Jews.

The fellowship has been launched with three exceptional Scheck Hillel seniors. ZOA and Scheck Hillel congratulate Avi Bryan, Abigail Winograd, and Jordana Zackon on being the inaugural team of ZOA High School Fellows. Over the course of the year-long program, ZOA High School Fellows will be tasked with a rotating authorship of a weekly written or video blog on a pertinent topic regarding Israel or the Middle East, to be shared on ZOA Florida’s webpage and Facebook.  Each Fellow will teach three class sessions of their Middle East conflict class, part of Scheck Hillel’s Capstone Senior Seminar, a cross-disciplinary approach to examining definitional topics that transcend academic areas.  Fellows will choose a discussion or workshop from ZOA’s Israel Advocacy Training Guide or one of ZOA’s power point topics. In addition, ZOA High School Fellows will be tasked with organizing one event per quarter, either for their fellow students at school or in their communities or synagogues.

“We are blessed to be able to partner with an organization like ZOA in arming our students with the knowledge, wherewithal and confidence to be strong and passionate advocates for the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

ZOA Florida Executive Director Sharona Whisler expressed her excitement about the launch of the fellowship, saying, “I am so glad to be partnering with the Scheck Hillel Community School as we launch what I hope will become a sought after opportunity for high school students for years to come. Having already met the inaugural team of ZOA High School Fellows, Avi, Abby, and Jordana, my expectations are high for what they will accomplish this year.”

ZOA’s Director of Regional Affairs, Eytan Sosnovich added, “Today, more than ever, it is critical for students to be equipped with the facts about Zionism and to be told the truth of the Arab and Islamist war against Israel. We’ve seen that when students have a real sense of Jewish and Zionist history, they go on to become leaders on their campuses and in their communities. We’re confident that this pilot program will serve as an example for us to replicate in ZOA chapters around the country.”

“It is an incredible honor for our Capstone Senior Seminar students to partner with ZOA. It will further raise their high level of Zionist activism and involvement.  We hope to continue this program for many, many years to come,” said Department Chair of Scheck Hillel’s Capstone Senior Seminar, Yehudis Benhamou.

Joshua Spodek, the head of Scheck Hillel’s Upper School Judaic Studies Department added, “As a school, we understand that anything and everything we can do to prepare our students to be able to combat the anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on a college campus is a must and is our ultimate responsibility. We are blessed to be able to partner with an organization like ZOA in arming our students with the knowledge, wherewithal and confidence to be strong and passionate advocates for the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Hillel’s ZOA High School Fellows have also expressed their excitement and anticipation for their roles this year.

Avi Bryan stated, “This year I hope to achieve so much with ZOA, both contributing to the organization and becoming a better advocate because of it. I look forward to planning numerous exciting and impactful events for my peers and taking part in educating others on the issues that Israel faces today. Through these activities that include everyone in Israeli affairs, we can create a generation of Zionists, and there is nothing I would want to be a part of more than that.”

Jordana Zackon stated, “I was really excited to be chosen as a ZOA High School Fellow, as the organization embodies my beliefs and values. I look forward to planning many meaningful and inspiring events along with my peers. I can’t wait to make a noticeable contribution to the Zionist cause.”

Abigail Winograd shared her excitement by saying, “First, I’d like to state that I am incredibly excited to begin my journey with ZOA as a High School Fellow. Israel was my home this summer, and it would mean so much to me to gather more skills and understanding so as to better advocate and support a country that I so proudly stand for. I look forward to a great year of learning from ZOA and educating others through ZOA’s guidance. And hopefully I can represent ZOA in Israel one day!”

To read the ZOA High School Fellows’ first blog submissions, visit florida.zoa.org.

For more information contact Sharona Whisler [email protected].