The JN, JCC and JFamily selected 18 Rising Stars in Metro Detroit who are shining bright in our community.
When the Jewish News partnered with the JCC’s JFamily and its Youth Professional Network to recognize young members of the community in grades 6-12, we knew we were going to find some terrific people to highlight, but we couldn’t have predicted the sheer number who deserve to be honored and the huge impact they’re having on Detroit’s Jewish community. The six local judges were challenged to choose just 18 talented young individuals. Read about them all here and in this week’s issue!
Sam Arnold of Farmington Hills, a senior at North Farmington High School, belongs to Congregation Shaarey Zedek, BBYO and USY. His goal is to one day be ordained a Conservative rabbi.
Sam’s goal is to “live a life full of passion and meaning.” He has volunteered at Forgotten Harvest and, as a member of the Jewish Fund Teen Board, helped allocate grants totaling $50,000. He’s volunteered at the JCC, working with kindergarteners and first-graders and at the Hillel Early Childhood Center Day Camp as a counselor. He also serves as chair of the J-Serve Teen Board Committee.
He runs cross-country and plays the viola in the school orchestra. He attended the JustCity Leadership Institute at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the AIPAC Policy Conference and the Schusterman Conference as a USY representative. He was the Torah Bytes Fellow for USY Central Region and Shaarey Zedek’s representative for Motor City USY.
Sam has worked at CSZ, Aish Detroit and Adat Shalom teaching Hebrew to third-through sixth-graders, and recently helped a congregant learn to read Torah and Haftorah for her 50th bat mitzvah anniversary. He is a regular Torah reader, Haftorah reader and Megillah reader at CSZ. He started his own blog on Times of Israel so he could share his love of Torah and his thoughts with the world.
Will Bloomberg of Farmington Hills is a junior at Frankel Jewish Academy and a member of Adat Shalom Synagogue; he excels at sports and uses his athletic ability to help others.
Will is captain of the FJA varsity soccer team. He was named “All-Catholic” for the FJA soccer team by the Catholic High School League for the 2018-19 season and played for the FJA varsity basketball team in his sophomore and junior years. He was named “All-Academic” for the FJA basketball team by the Catholic High School League for the 2018-19 season. He did all this while maintaining a 4.1 weighted grade point average in a dual-curriculum high school.
Will is a certified soccer referee and worked during the spring 2018 soccer season and plans to do the same this year. He also volunteers for Peace of Pizza and Bookstock. Will and two friends created a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, open to all high school students, that took place in March at Friendship Circle to raise money for FC and Friends of the IDF. He’s also a member of the National Honor Society.
Matthew Chayet of West Bloomfield is a champion for inclusion and overcoming obstacles, inspiring everyone around him with his positivity. The Bloomfield Hills High School senior has been dealing with multiple medical conditions throughout his entire life, including epilepsy, tracheomalacia and heart defects — conditions that have required more than 30 hospitalizations. Despite the physical and emotional challenges he faces due to these conditions, he is an energized, charismatic and outgoing teen who strives to spread happiness to everyone around him.
He is an involved member of Temple Israel’s youth group, YFTI, and recently received its Youth Group Citation Award and the Rabbi Leon Fram Award. He also is an active volunteer for organizations including Make-a-Wish and Friendship Circle.
Matthew treats others with pure kindness and is always looking to lend a helping hand. He is welcoming to everyone and has created positive change for his peers and the community. Matthew has overcome adversity and will be attending college next year, which is a wonderful achievement for him because of all his medical challenges.
Emily Feldman of Farmington Hills, a Hillel Day School graduate and junior at Frankel Jewish Academy, belongs to Adat Shalom Synagogue. She volunteers at her shul and at Yad Ezra.
Emily is an advocate and social justice warrior. She sees social injustice in this world and speaks up — through her words and actions — not only to advocate for those with a smaller voice, but also to help inform and educate her community. Emily organized the student walkout protesting gun violence at FJA, where she has a 4.0 GPA. She founded the Social Justice Club at her school and leads the Girls to Women Club, where she advocates for equality and education. Emily was chosen by her administrators to head a task force regarding changing her school’s curriculum and schedule.
Twice Emily has been nominated for the David Hermelin Scholarship Award. She excels at Hebrew. For her bat mitzvah at Adat Shalom, Emily conducted the entire service, beginning with Shacharit. She chanted all the readings from the Torah and gave a d’var Torah that was thoughtful and truly related to her own life’s lessons. Since then, Emily has chanted Torah on many occasions at Adat Shalom, including Yom Kippur services each year. She truly loves her Yiddishkeit.
Jenna Friedman of West Bloomfield is a junior at Walled Lake Central and a member of UMatter.
Jenna has been an active volunteer at Friendship Circle for four years. Every Tuesday, she volunteers at Social Circle with her buddy, Leila. Over the years, they have developed a deep connection and friendship. Jenna has also volunteered at many Friendship Circle camps and respite programs, logging more than 200 hours of volunteer service.
She has overcome her own mental health and social obstacles and is now using her journey to empower other teens to do the same. She is proudly 600+ days clean from self-harm and has found solutions for her own OCD, depression and anxiety, which has made her a great role model for her peers.
Jenna is a teen leader on the UMatter board, where she is an advocate for mental health awareness. She helped lead her high school’s UMatter Week, ensuring the whole school was represented and included. Jenna noticed hallways with classrooms in the special education department were not decorated like the others, so she assembled a committee to make sure they were. Jenna also prepared special activities for those students to take part in during UMatter Week.
Jessica Goldberg of Farmington Hills is a junior at North Farmington High School and belongs to Adat Shalom Synagogue. She is on the executive leadership board of UMatter and Teen Volunteer Corps, which runs volunteer projects.
She is also part of the Youth United program, a cross-denominational group focused on improvement projects in her home community.
Jess is also founder of Sib4Sib, a nonprofit support network for individuals who have a sibling who struggles with mental health, whether it’s a learning disability or serious depression. She saw resources for parents, but not for siblings — so she created her own network. Now there are three groups: teens, kids ages 8-12 and a boys-only group. She secured a licensed social worker to lead discussions and fundraised and sought grants to enable kids to participate and enjoy the group dinner without cost.
She organized a fundraiser recently, bringing in significant funds to grow the program and offer services at a very subsidized rate or free.
It was not easy for Jessica to create this group because it meant “outing” her brother’s mental health challenges, and she worried about him being stigmatized. However, she, he and her parents recognized by doing so she could help so many others.
Stacey Hirsch of West Bloomfield is a junior at Bloomfield Hills High School; she belongs to Temple Israel.
Stacey was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November 2016. Pediatric MS is very rare, and she has handled her diagnosis and accompanying physical limitations with grace and maturity.
Stacey has embraced this life challenge by becoming a strong advocate for pediatric MS, raising money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) and creating a Walk MS team — FAMS (Families Fighting Against MS) — to help secure funds to find a cure. She is a founding and active board member of FAMS, a Michigan nonprofit.
Stacey is determined to pursue a career in medicine, particularly neurology, focusing on pediatrics and multiple sclerosis.
She is completing her second year as a board member of YFTI, Temple Israel’s youth group. She attends Monday night school and YFTI meetings weekly as well as all YFTI trips and events.
She is also a founding board member for the ORT Teen Board, area teens who raise money and support ORT America.
She is an honor student, pursuing studies focused on advanced science and math, and is a member of the National Honor Society, yearbook and poms.
Lily Kollin of Farmington Hills is a senior at North Farmington High School; she belongs to Temple Israel.
She is a founder/president of NFHS’ Students Demand Action (SDA) group, an advocacy group for gun violence prevention. Lily organized two successful walkouts and a town hall meeting with community leaders and students. She also helped organize a multi-school trip to Chicago to participate with March of the Living efforts. She also has done public speaking, served as a panelist and performed her spoken word poetry at multiple venues.
For her efforts, she won the Optimist Leader Award and, with her fellow SDA members, won the NAACP Great Expectations Award. Lily spoke at Temple Israel’s multi-faith unity service following the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh.
Within BBYO, she was chapter shlichah, president and is current regional shlichah.
Lily is an all-A student. She is a member of the school’s marching band and the Farmington United Percussion Ensemble. She also volunteers at Fleischman Residence, where she leads Friday night services.
Lily is working with the NFHS administration to bring Every Brilliant Thing, a play about suicide prevention, to the high school, and to bring in experts for a panel discussion and support for students and parents.
Evan Krasnick of Huntington Woods is a senior at Berkley High School and a Congregation Beth Shalom member.
He was one of five BHS juniors selected to participate in a yearlong diversity immersion program, Generation of Promise, through which he engaged with teens from 12 diverse Detroit-area high schools monthly, learning about other religions and cultures, while sharing his own.
Evan has also been involved with Teen Screens since his bar mitzvah year and now is president. This BHS organization donates computers and laptops to students in need. He works with local professionals to acquire used laptops/tablets, refurbish them and then donate them.
Evan studied in Israel with Jewish National Fund’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel program. He participated in his school’s community service trip to the Dominican Republic, volunteering and teaching English to underprivileged students.
As a junior, he founded ECKO, a technology consulting company helping people with computer, smartphone and internet issues. Evan offers training/consulting to older adults and works with technology professionals to install WiFi and security systems.
Evan was on the Jewish Fund’s Detroit Teen Board, a member of student leadership, a Peer-to-Peer committee leader with the National Honor Society and co-president of the school’s Volunteer Club.
Jillian Lesson of West Bloomfield is a sophomore at Frankel Jewish Academy and belongs to Aish HaTorah. She was recently accepted to a writing/journalism program at the School of the New York Times.
Jillian used writing as a tool for getting through hard times. As extreme emotional and social issues began in middle school, Jillian relied on her writing — prose and poems about losing friends, struggles with body image, feelings of depression and anxiety and loneliness, her love/hate relationship with social media, and other issues that affect adolescents.
In eighth grade, Jillian began publishing a blog called Journey to Jillian (journeytojillianblog.wordpress.com). There, she began writing about her challenges, about lessons that came from her challenges, about her thoughts and dreams and struggles, about her hardships and triumphs. Teens began writing to Jillian, wanting advice or support. People she didn’t know would come up to her to tell her how much she was helping their child.
The openness and candor Jillian expresses in her blog posts helped teens become more open with their own struggles. The message she hopes teens will get from her is that everyone has their challenges, no one is alone and finding a way out is most always attainable.
Sarah Meadows of Mount Pleasant is a senior at Mount Pleasant High School; she belongs to Temple Benjamin and Shaarey Zedek of East Lansing.
Sarah is a member of National Honor Society, doing volunteer work such as peer-to-peer tutoring and working on school blood drives. Last spring, she went to Washington, D.C., for L’Taken to learn about social justice and advocate to legislators.
Sarah is on her high school honor roll as well as a scholar-athlete for each sport season. She’s done competitive cheerleading and swim and dive for four years (earning varsity letters all four years in cheerleading and the last three years in diving) as well as tennis for two. She is also a violist in her high school orchestra.
She’s the Class of 2019 secretary, a co-captain for the swim and dive team, and was honored as the Rotary Citizen of the Month, in recognition of service to her school and community. She is also the committee chair for NFTY-MI, helping to lead events for Jewish teens and working to rebuild NFTY-MI.
She attends religious school and is a teacher’s assistant for preschoolers and kindergartners every Sunday.
Paul Siegel Nadiv
Paul Siegel Nadiv of Huntington Woods is a senior at Frankel Jewish Academy and a member of Kehillat Etz Chayim.
He is active in BBYO and has held several leadership positions, including two on the regional board, with an emphasis on community service and teaching and performing Jewish rituals for Michigan BBYO Region (Shaliach). He also served as a vice chair for BBYO Global Network and was involved in raising awareness and money for Jewish people in other countries. He was a coordinator of a two-week trip to Bulgaria and led programs engaging teens from the U.S. and Europe.
While in BBYO, he has mentored younger teens who have taken on leadership roles in their chapters or regionally. He has helped younger teens write speeches, create platforms and put together meaningful programming.
Paul sits on the Jewish Historical Society Board and has been to several AIPAC teen conferences in Washington, D.C. He has lobbied Congress multiple times and acted as head delegate. He is also senior class president at FJA and has been part of student government for several years.
Lindsay Randel of West Bloomfield is a freshman at Frankel Jewish Academy and a member of Adat Shalom Synagogue.
She is a fierce advocate on behalf of all people living with Type 1 Diabetes. After her diagnosis in 2014, she engaged with JDRF and supporter of all its efforts to turn Type 1 into Type None. She chairs an annual One Walk Team and has raised thousands of dollars to help research for a cure. She speaks regularly and publicly about her experiences of living with Type 1. Lindsay was selected to represent JDRF at its Congressional Congress this summer and is hoping to speak before Congress. She also makes herself available to speak to newly diagnosed kids to help them to adapt to their new normal.
She is an avid soccer player, who must sit out this season because she is a mid-year transfer to FJA. Still, Lindsay participates in every practice and plans to attend every game to cheer on her classmates.
Lindsay is an active member of BBYO. She was recently selected to chair the chapter’s upcoming Bittker Weekend. She will attend BBYO’s CLTC Leadership Camp this summer and was selected as a scholarship winner based on her video application.
Benny Shaevsky of West Bloomfield is a junior at Frankel Jewish Academy and belongs to Adat Shalom Synagogue and Temple Beth El.
Since he was an infant, Benny has suffered from life-threatening nut allergies. He has risen above the bullying to be an advocate for those with food allergies. He has organized fundraising walks sponsored by the national Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) and has spoken at several FARE teen summits and at several local fundraising luncheons sponsored by the University of Michigan Food Allergy Clinic. He has served as a general FARE teen ambassador.
He leads the Anti-Defamation Club at his school, is a minyan leader, plays varsity tennis and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is spearheading the first-ever tutoring by FJA NHS members of Hillel Day School students.
He’s serving his second year on the Teen Board of the Jewish Fund, helping to allocate grants totaling $50,000. Last summer, he interned with the Jewish Fund.
Benny participates in Tech Connect at Adat Shalom to provide free computer tutoring to senior citizens. He recently established a new tax-exempt organization called Tech 4 Seniors to visit home-bound or mobility-challenged seniors and assist them with computer/Internet training.
Tommy Sherman of Bloomfield Hills is a junior at Bloomfield Hills High School and a member of Temple Beth El and its youth group, BETY. He’s been a madrich since eighth grade for Sunday school.
Tommy participated in JServe and volunteers at Beth El’s Chanukah party and Purim carnival. He participated in a Birmingham Bloomfield Community Youth Action Board event focusing on the impact of substance abuse on teens. He also volunteered as a counselor at Roeper Day Camp and as a tutor through National Honor Society.
In December, the New York Times held its annual “connect what you’re learning in school with the world today” essay contest. Out of 2,000 students nationwide, Tommy’s essay “Who Cares? Immigration Reform: Who Cares? Crumbling Infrastructure: Who Cares? Climate Change: Who Cares?” qualified him as a semi-finalist.
Tommy plays junior varsity tennis and is the section leader of his school’s drumline. He plays in two jazz bands and in a rock band and plays percussion in the school band and orchestra. He also runs a small business making videos for bar and bat mitzvahs.
He participated in L’Taken through the Reform Religious Action Center and went on Teen Mission last summer. He is the religious chair of his BBYO chapter.
Ryan Silberg of Novi is a senior at Northville High School and a member of Temple Israel. He has been an active volunteer and philanthropist, as well as a promoter of social action and advocacy.
Ryan spent two years as a member of the Detroit Jewish Fund Teen Board, where he learned about grant making and philanthropy. Following a suicide at his high school, he decided to become an advocate for teen mental health and suicide prevention. He is a member of the UMatter Teen Board, an organization promoting teen mental awareness and suicide prevention.
Last summer, Ryan and his friend held a fundraiser at the Plymouth Art Fair and raised more than $1,200 for UMatter. Recently, during charity week at his school, Ryan raised more than $600 for the National Alliance on Mental Health.
Ryan belongs to the National Honors Society, the school choir, and plays soccer and lacrosse. He had a summer internship at South Oakland Shelter, where he helped organize a run/walk to raise funds. Currently, he works part-time as a desk manager at a yoga studio.
Isaac Smith of West Bloomfield is a junior at West Bloomfield High School and a member of Congre-gation Beth Ahm, where he volunteers with children’s classes.
He also tutors students in math and in physics. He believes helping others to learn is a great way to assist in a better future.
An all-A student, Isaac takes college classes through Eastern Michigan University and Lawrence Tech.
He belongs to his school’s Laker Express Choir, an elite, audition-
only choir that recently accompanied Tenors Unlimited at the Berman Center. He performed at Carnegie Hall with 17 other students from his school plus others from around the country and competes in Michigan Schools Vocal Music Association. He’s a summer camp counselor at Oakland Yard Athletics in Waterford.
Isaac formed a close friendship with an 88-year-old member of his congregation. As soon as he got his driver’s license, he offered to drive his friend to shul.
He frequently leads services at Beth Ahm and sings with the small choir on High Holidays. Additionally, he reads Torah, Haftorah and Megillah, and frequently leads minyan on Shabbat and during the week. He attends classes to expand his knowledge. He also tutors youngsters for b’nai mitzvah.
Sammy Vieder of Huntington Woods is a freshman at Berkley High School and a member of Adat Shalom Synagogue.
He has been cooking for nearly half his life. His passion and talent in the culinary arts exceeds the average 14-year-old. He was a contestant on Master Chef Junior, which had many in the community watching every week rooting him on. Even after being on such a big TV show and getting recognized, he remains humble. He did cooking demos on Detroit news channels and for Friendship Circle.
Sammy’s smile and radiant positivity are contagious. People say he has a way of making you feel like you’re the most important person in the room. Sam is uplifting and funny. He truly cares about the greater good of the world and works toward bettering the people around him every day. Everyone Sam meets leaves each interaction better than they came. And if someone is doing something wrong, Sammy is always the first to help fix it.