Social Action Exchange
About the Fellowship Program
The Social Action Exchange connects young Jewish adults from Israel, New York, and Hungary to each other and to a serious and interdisciplinary Jewish and non-denominational social justice curriculum through group meetings and two exchange missions between Jerusalem, New York City, and Budapest. The program provides the framework for real action and partnership on social justice projects in all sites.
Through a combination of local and global learning, action, connection, and reflection, the participants of the Social Action Exchange will have a positively altered moral fabric and will care for, and contribute to, the global Jewish world. Additionally, global Jewish peoplehood breeds respect and empathy for Jews around the world, and strengthens individual identity.
New York participants will meet four times a semester to study Jewish texts and to gain insight into the worlds of Hungarian and Israeli Jewry to be better prepared for each exchange. This year's participants will organize, facilitate and participate actively in the exchange in New York City in May. Participants will also have the opportunity to plan and organize various service projects during the year.
Dates and Costs
Total participation cost: $300, travel to and from Budapest included
Fall meeting dates: October 25th, November 8th, November 29th, December 13th
Spring meeting dates: TBD
Budapest Exchange: January 2013
New York Exchange: May 2013
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis but are due no later than September 28, 2012. Interviews will be conducted through October 4th and students must formally commit to the program by October 10, 2012. A participant agreement form and deposit of $150 are due then to secure your spot.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA Ayal attended Jewish day school and high school before moving on to UCLA and graduating magna cum laude with a BA in Political Science. Ayal is currently a third year law student in NYU Law School's JD program, and looking forward to starting work in the corporate department of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in the fall. While in high school Ayal founded DSTM Entertainment, a company which provides entertainment for occasions such as bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, and school dances; which he still owns and manages today. Ayal and DSTM have donated their services to a wide-variety of charity fundraisers. While at NYU Ayal was President of the West Coast student organization and is currently Co-President of the Jewish Law Student Association. Ayal is a jiu-jitsu brown belt, rabid Clippers fan, and an admitted travel and food snob.
Alexander Denker is a past participant of The Social Action Exchange and recent graduate of The Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU with a concentration in "The Neuroscience of Art." His undergraduate career focused on exploring the cultural importance of art and music as well as outside neuroimaging research examining the neural bases of aesethetic perception. After participating in the 2011-2012 Social Action Exchange, Alexander is delighted to assist in the coordination of this year's exchange. He is both an avid photographer and musician and enjoyed documenting the exchange as part of a photography component included in last year's program. Alexander was heavily involved in participating in Bronfman Center programming as an undergrad and is very excited to give back to both The Bronfman Center as well as The Social Action Exchange program in order to provide communal and personal opportunities to explore issues surrounding the cross-cultural study of Jewish communities, their challenges, and their histories.
Chelsea Garbell is a senior at New York University working towards a Bachelor of Science in Media, Culture, & Communication at the Steinhardt School, with minors in Public Health & Policy and Hebrew & Judaic Studies. Garbell is President and founder of the club Bridges: Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Dialogue at NYU, and was named one of the Top 15 Most Influential Students at NYU 2011 by the Washington Square News for her work with Bridges. She is also a member of the Planned Parenthood of NYC Activist Council, and co-founder of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood at NYU. Previously, Garbell interned for the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance and the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, and she served as the 2010 Arts & Culture Chair on the board of Hillel at NYU. She has been a member of the House Staff at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts since 2009. Most recently she interned in the DC office of United States Senator from Washington, Patty Murray, in the summer of 2012 as a fellow of the NYU John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress.
Billie graduated cum laude from Brandeis University in 2007 with a degree in international studies and economics, holds a TESOL Certificate from The School of International Training, and is currently pursuing her MA in international education at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is from beautiful Lake George, New York and currently lives in Brooklyn. As her two strongest passions are travel and cross-cultural exchange, she has lived, studied, and worked abroad on numerous occasions in Spain, Ecuador, and Italy, and is the founder of an English summer camp for children on the island of Mallorca. She has traveled extensively internationally, at last count she had visited 36 countries. Highlights of her travels abroad include watching a volcano erupt in Costa Rica and wake boarding in Singapore. Billie's other interests include Catalan language and culture, Mediterranean beaches, efficiency, chocolate, and her two sisters. She is honored and excited to be a part of the Social Action Exchange New York cohort and is looking forward to the cross-cultural opportunities this year's exchanges will provide!
Joe is currently an undergraduate student at NYU pursuing a double major in Economics and Judaic studies. He is originally from Manhasset, NY, and is currently residing in NYC.Joe had the privilege to study for one year at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, where he was able to observe Israeli culture across the spectrum. This goes in hand with his passion of learning about the identities of Jews from different countries. This semester, Joe is serving as a Lipper Intern and tour guide at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park, where he teaches public school students about the Holocaust. In his academic studies, he is currently writing a thesis on the Jews of Mashhad, Iran, where his ancestors were from. He looks forward to building meaningful and long lasting connections with his cohort on the Social Action Exchange trip to Hungary.
Eric is currently studying for a Master's of Public Administration and Master's of Arts in Jewish Studies at NYU. He received his BA in political science from Rutgers University in 2011. Erichas studied for a semester at Hebrew University and for a year at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He is looking forward to visiting Hungary with the Social Action Exchange. He has previously worked/interned at the Orthodox Union, American Jewish Committee, and Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Michael is finishing up his senior year at New York University’s Stern School of Business, with a major in Finance and minors in Math and Jewish History. He currently teaches the second-grade at Town and Village Synagogue’s Hebrew School and was previously a tour guide at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Michael loves to travel, having spent time living, studying, and exploring in Israel and Australia, and his interest in Jewish History (specifically the Holocaust era) has sent him to various long-standing Jewish communities throughout Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Portugal. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, running, playing poker, reading non-fiction, and solving Rubik’s cubes. Michael is excited to be part of this year’s Social Action Exchange Fellowship and can’t wait to learn more about Hungarian Jewry.
Justin currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Goddard Residential College at New York University in which he works with first year students. He loves how much fun he has every day! He previously worked as the GLBTQ Outreach and Engagement Program Director at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center as well as a part-time therapist at So Others Might Eat (SOME). He is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in the State of New York and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in Washington, DC. He holds a BA in Psychology and an MSW from Washington University in Saint Louis. He is currently enrolled in the part-time Executive MPA program in nonprofit management at the Wagner School of Public Service. Justin was born and raised in Omaha, NE. He loves discussing the intersectionality of identities within social justice work. Justin is also passionate about vegetarian food, math, budgeting, walking, meditation, board games, theater, yoga, and anything outside.
Hilah is a second year MA student at Columbia University getting her degree in the History of Art and Archaeology. She graduated from Boston University in 2011 cum laude with a degree in both Classical Civilizations and Art History. She is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, and though she likes New York, she misses the mountains and small town feel of the suburbs. Her father is from Israel, and her mother is from New York, so she got the best cultural combination to grow up with. Because of the strange concurrence of cultures she grew up with, she has a keen awareness of other cultures and really enjoys exploring them. She has spent time in Israel and Sicily and is very excited to learn about more cultures and especially how they pertain to her own. She likes to run and read in her spare time (though graduate school made her forget what that means), and wishes she could cook--she has over 2,000 recipes saved on her computer even though she has no intention of trying to make them. She is very excited for this opportunity to explore both her Judaism and Hungary and is very honored to be able to participate in this awesome program.
Rose Mardit is a junior at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, pursuing a degree in Music Business and Journalism along with a minor in the Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology. She is passionate about domestic and international politics, electronic music, and a good slice of vegan cheesecake. Rose is just as excited to visit Budapest as she is for the Hungarian and Israeli participants to experience New York City.
Ilya Schwartzburg is a second-year J.D. student at the NYU School of Law. He is passionate about legal theory and practice, art, philosophy, and vinyl records. Ilya originally hails from Moscow, Russia, but has become an enthusiastic proponent of the United States. Nevertheless, he is very excited to explore the confluence of Judaism and identity with international acquaintances.
David Zandi is a second year student at Cardozo School of Law with a concentration in Real Estate. When he isn't neck-deep in casebooks, he loves photography, yoga, and is an avid traveller. David is excited for the unique opportunity to engage the New York, Israeli, and Hungarian communities to share their differences as well as their similarities from cultural, religious, and geopolitical standpoints. See you in 2013, Budapest!