Meet some of our alumni from previous years’ institutes:
A native of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Pamela Brenner (’14) attended Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School in Teaneck, New Jersey. A proud alumna of the Tikvah Institute for High School Students, she credits Tikvah with connecting her to a community of passionate thinkers and innovators. While being exposed to new ideas and opinions, whether the topic was eighteenth century politics or Judaism and abortion, she connected with other participants, many of whom are now her closest friends. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano, soccer, reading and laughing with friends. Pamela is currently in Israel learning in the Stella K. Abraham Beit Midrash for Women – Migdal Oz of Yeshivat Har Etzion, after which she will attend Barnard College.
Jonathan Ellison (’12) is currently a junior at Yale University studying Economics and Political Science. He grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, in a nonconventional Jewish community and immersed in the wider community of the city. Leadership has always been important to Jonathan, and the Tikvah Institute for High School Students at Yale helped channel this passion and provided him with a more nuanced understanding of what leadership means from a Jewish perspective, overlaid with the classics. He has taken this understanding to his activities at university where he has been involved in groups such as the Yale Political Union, Yale Friends of Israel, or the water polo team. In retrospect, Jonathan is very grateful for the Tikvah Institute for the role that it has played in his development, especially as he looks to what lies ahead.
Dore Feith (’13) is a sophomore at Columbia University majoring in History. His interests include politics, international relations, current affairs, and American and Middle Eastern history. In addition to his major, Dore studies Arabic, and hopes to use the language to work in business and in national security policy. He enjoys serving on the board of Aryeh, Columbia Students for Israel, and also playing tennis and squash with classmates. At Tikvah, Dore learned to appreciate the study of political and moral philosophy. Since then, he has frequently channeled the knowledge and skills taught at Tikvah in speaking and writing about the texts assigned as part of Columbia’s Core Curriculum.
Born in Brazil but most recently from Florida, Yael Lilienthal (’13) attended a community elementary school, a Modern Orthodox/B’nei Akiva middle school, and an all-girls Chabad high school. She spent two years learning at Migdal Oz where she engaged with various Jewish texts, specifically Gemara, and a few goat herds. Yael is studying at Princeton University where she is exploring linguistics and philology as well as continuing her Torah studies in hopes of pursuing Jewish education professionally. Since participating in the Tikvah Institute for High School Students, Yael has been in the Overseas Program, the “Thought, Literature and Politics” program, and the Campus Fellowship, and returned to intern for the high school program. She loves word games, ice cream, singing, making coffee, and throwing random Hebrew expressions into her conversations. Yael appreciates Tikvah for the exposure to new texts as well as the wonderful network of peers with whom she maintains a strong relationship.
Celeste Marcus (’14) is an intellectual history major in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a columnist for The Spectrum, the campus Government and Politics Association newspaper; founder of the Jewish and Western Thought Fellowship at The University of Pennsylvania; founder and editor in chief of Sanhedrion, a new undergraduate intercollegiate journal; and a member of the Tikvah Campus Fellowship. In her free time Celeste can be found reciting the entire Hamilton Broadway soundtrack. Before attending the high school institute, Celeste participated in a Tikvah course offered at her school, Kohelet Yeshiva High School. This was the first in a series of Tikvah experiences which have provided her with a world of fervent and sincere study; a peer group of learners committed to mutual respect and honest inquiry; and the remarkable depth and solidity of engaged, devoted and wise mentors and teachers.
Benjamin Simon (’15) is a senior at Gann Academy, a pluralistic Jewish high school in Waltham, Massachusetts. In school, he enjoys studying history, biology and Talmud. Outside of the classroom, Ben plays guitar in the school’s jazz band, sings a cappella, leads the mock trial team, and serves as editor-in-chief of the school’s weekly newspaper. Additionally, he volunteers at Gateways, a Hebrew school for children with special needs, and co-leads Gann’s Yachad chapter. He attended Tikvah’s Summer Institute for High School Students last summer. Ben found Tikvah to be intellectually rigorous and stimulating. In addition to illuminating the Jewish and Western texts being studied, the professors encouraged debate and engagement with each other. This dialogue often spilled out of the classroom into meal-time discussions and late-night debates in the dorms—moments that generated meaningful friendships.