The Lauder Fellowship is an international network of top Jewish student leaders seeking to represent and advocate on behalf of the global Jewish community. The 2022-2023 Lauder Fellowship featured a cohort of 28 Fellows from 14 different countries around the world. Throughout the course of the year, Fellows attended the Opening Seminar in New York City, the Executive Committee meetings in both Rome and Madrid, the World Union of Jewish Students annual Congress, events in Warsaw commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the annual Diplomacy Summit in Brussels and Jerusalem. Each Fellow created a personalized project to help their home community ranging from bringing WJC’s #WeRemember Campaign to a national level, to working with university clubs dedicated to bringing together students of different faiths.
The first meeting of the 2022–2023 Lauder Fellowship cohort was the Opening Seminar from August 8–10, 2022.
Twenty-four Jewish student leaders from 16 countries gathered in New York City where they heard from World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder; Deputy Director for International Affairs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Dr. Robert Williams; and United Nations Outreach Programme Holocaust Information Officer Tracey Petersen, among others.
The three-day seminar concluded with the development of the Fellows’ work plans to combat antisemitism and contribute to advancing Jewish life in their communities.
WJC Executive Committee, Rome
During the Executive Committee in Vatican City from November 20–22, 2022, WJC launched a historic initiative called "Kishreinu" (meaning "Our Bond" in Hebrew). Pope Francis expressed his support, emphasizing the shared religious heritage of the Jewish and Catholic communities.
WJC NextGen was represented by eight delegates, Mate Zsedely-Holler ('21–'22 Lauder Fellow), Avital Grinberg (European Union of Jewish Students President), Jonathan Braun (World Union of Jewish Students President and WJC Executive Committee Member), Emma Sameth ('22–'23 Lauder Fellow), Noah Katz ('22-'23 Lauder Fellow), Hanna Nir ('22–'23 Lauder Fellow), Emma Hallali ('22-'23 Lauder Fellow), and Bini Guttmann (Executive Committee Member representing Future Leadership).
Members of WJC NextGen joined the meeting and moderated various sessions: Minority Rights, Climate Crisis, Mental Health, Threats to Democracy, and Refugee Crisis. When describing to the Executive Committee the phenomenon of antisemitism on university campuses and her own experience, Emma Sameth proudly stated, “Jewish students are not afraid, but rather deeply concerned about our place in educational spaces.”
WUJS Congress, Israel
From December 17, 2022–January 1, 2023, The World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) hosted its annual Congress in Jerusalem. A delegation of 18 Fellows attended, connecting with other Jewish students from around the world and participate in WUJS’ democratic process.
Fellows had the opportunity to hear from various speakers and take a tour of the Knesset, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Supreme Court. The World Jewish Congress-Israel office also hosted a private dinner in Jerusalem for the current and past Fellows.
WJC Executive Committee, Madrid
A delegation of nine NextGen members attended the WJC from March 21–23, 2023, contributing to discussions on fostering Jewish life and ensuring a bright future for Jewish youth. During the meeting, NextGen members Julia Jassey (CEO of Jewish on Campus and WJC NextGen Advisory Committee Member); Micah Gritz (2022–2023 Lauder Fellow); Neely Kasanoff ('22–'23 Lauder Fellow); Joshua Norman ('22–'23 Lauder Fellow); Avital Grinberg (European Union of Jewish Students President); Abel Keszler ('22–'23 Lauder Fellow); Yana Naftalieva (President of the World Union of Jewish Students, WJC NextGen Advisory Committee Member, WJC Executive Committee Member); Florencia Kaplun ('22–'23 Lauder Fellow); and Emily Kalo ('22–'23 Fellow) had the opportunity to meet with WJC President Ronald S. Lauder and WJC Treasurer Chella Safra to discuss the current challenges faced by young Jews and explore strategies for their empowerment.
During the Executive Committee meeting, the NextGen delegation hosted roundtable discussions with Executive Committee members that brought WJC's Jewish Youth Assembly resolutions, written by over 80 Jewish high school students worldwide, to the fore. These six resolutions hold vital significance, as they address practical steps to safeguard the Jewish future. WJC NextGen’s involvement underscores the dedication of the World Jewish Congress to supporting and amplifying the voices of the present and next generation.
80th Anniversary for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
A delegation of five NextGen members were present at the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on April 19–20, 2023, where they heard from President Andrzej Duda of Poland, President Isaac Herzog of Israel, and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany. The NextGen delegation included Caterina Cognini ('20–'21 Lauder Fellow and WJC NextGen Advisory Committee member), Micah Ross ('21–'22 Lauder Fellow), Ethan Bergman (member of NextGenInc), Avrohom Malachowski ('22–'23 Lauder Fellow), and Ron Aladjem ('22–'23 Lauder Fellow). The delegation also heard from WJC President Ronald S. Lauder and President Herzog, met with Holocaust survivors, and visited the Polin Museum and the Mila18 Memorial.
Micah Ross, a former Lauder Fellow and a NextGen delegate, wrote, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to have joined the World Jewish Congress and WJC NextGen in Warsaw. In Warsaw I felt the desperation more than I ever could through my studies. I felt it in the Jewish cemetery as I stood by the pile of stones under which tens of thousands of anonymous Jewish bodies are buried. I felt it in the yellowing pages of the Ringelblum archive, which a group of Jews so courageously compiled and hid despite the deadly consequences of doing so. I felt it in the eyes of survivors who spoke wih us, people who had spent a lifetime mourning for the family that they lost to the Ghetto.”
The 2022–2023 Lauder Fellowship cohort reconvened in Brussels on June 2, 2023, for the annual Diplomacy Summit. During their time in the Belgian capital, the Lauder Fellows met with Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, and Pascale Falek, the Director for Equality at the European Commission, as well as with members of the European Parliament, including Jelena Jovanovic of the EU Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup and MEP Karen Melchior, as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) policymakers and WJC partners.
Following four packed days in Brussels, the group flew to Jerusalem, where they joined WJC’s Jewish Leadership Bridge delegation celebrating Israel’s 75th birthday. During the Jerusalem leg of the Diplomacy Summit, the Fellows met with representatives of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which included a roundtable with Ms. Shuli Davidovich, Head of the Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions. They also heard from the President of the State of Israel,. Isaac Herzog, who delivered the keynote speech at the official launch of the Leadership Bridge for the Future, a WJC initiative in partnership with the Reut Group and the Jewish Peoplehood Coalition.
Neely Kasanoff (United States)
Neely Kasanoff founded Abrahama NYU, an organization dedicated to fostering unity among students from Jewish, Muslim, and Arab diasporas by embracing their shared ancestral cultures.
To promote inclusivity and celebrate diverse holidays, Abrahama NYU established an Instagram page and organized a range of events, including coffee chats, calligraphy workshops combining Arabic and Hebrew scripts, and game nights. Concurrently, the organization fostered connections with other multicultural groups on campus, forging valuable relationships.
Within Abrahama NYU, Jewish students found a space that honored and recognized Jewish culture as an integral part of the broader Middle Eastern heritage. While the organization also addressed pertinent human rights issues, it remained distinct from politically oriented groups. As a result, the organization successfully facilitated genuine and unfiltered conversations among individuals who initially believed they had little in common.
Eliott Prezerowitz (United States)
Eliott Prezerowitz successfully founded and launched MemoryBox, a virtual museum meticulously preserving historic Jewish family documents and stories, with the primary objective of celebrating the shared history of Jewish people.
MemoryBox now operates in 10 countries across five continents, with further expansion underway. The team comprises 20 passionate and driven young leaders, aged 14–30, who ardently contribute to the original vision.
These individuals conduct interviews with Jewish families around the world, making significant contributions to the ever-expanding Virtual Museum. The organization has already collected and preserved over 100 invaluable family documents.
MemoryBox has gained considerable attention and interest, attracting Jewish families worldwide, as well as esteemed entities such as the Belgian government, European Parliament, non-profit organizations, museums, and Jewish schools. MemoryBox has achieved international recognition and had launched dedicated social media platforms. He has been featured on Belgian news channel Radio Judaica and the Georgetown University website, with additional tailored features being developed for European organizations and schools.
Mustangs for Israel
Hannah Siegel (United States)
At Southern Methodist University (SMU), Mustangs for Israel, an organization dedicated to fostering Jewish student community and enhancing access to Kosher food, achieved two significant objectives under Hannah Siegel’s leadership.
First, Hannah successfully united Jewish students at SMU by orchestrating SMU-specific events in collaboration with a local rabbi. These events aimed to strengthen the community and included a special Shabbat in the SMU neighborhood.
Additionally, Hannah facilitated student participation at the local rabbi’s high holidays celebration and Passover Seder and, which are currently otherwise unavailable within SMU Jewish life.
Furthermore, to connect the SMU Jewish community with the broader Dallas community, Hannah sought guidance from University of Texas at Dallas students. She shared her insights and experiences in a compelling presentation before their student government, and she collaborated with a rabbi from the Dallas Area Torah Association to explore opportunities for engagement and collaboration.
Micah Gritz (United States) and Alissa Foster (Australia)
Project Yachad, a collaborative initiative led by Micah Gritz and Alissa Foster, is a WhatsApp-based network for global Jewish youth to combat antisemitism and bridge the gap between Jewish students worldwide. Recognizing the challenges faced by Jewish students such as exclusion from progressive spaces and large geographical distances from one another, Micah and Alissa created a platform for connection, learning, and support.
Project Yachad aims to unite Jewish student activists globally, with a specific focus on fostering connections between North American Jewish students and their counterparts from other regions. This initiative seeks to address issues affecting Jewish students worldwide and ensure that those from smaller countries feel included in global efforts. The goal is to develop an international, exclusive network of Jewish student activists who can share action-based messages on an online platform and exchange skills and expertise relevant to the campus environment, such as graphic design, financial literacy, social media marketing, and political lobbying. Additionally, a successful meeting was facilitated between American and Australian Jewish students, fostering discussions on the local impacts of antisemitism in different contexts.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration in Scotland
Abel Keszler (Hungary)
Abel Keszler initiated the #ScotlandRemembers project to address the gap in Holocaust remembrance in Scotland while shedding light on the minority student communities in the country.
His primary objective was to launch a comprehensive week-long social media campaign akin to the successful #WeRemember initiative, with a strategic focus on engaging local politicians, university administrations, and key decision-makers.
Following the impactful social media campaign, a nationwide memorial service was organized and led by students from major universities across Scotland, which was broadcast on five university campuses within Scotland and one in Northern Ireland.
Notably, the Scottish Parliament officially recognized and endorsed the memorial as an official nationwide Holocaust commemoration. This recognition was achieved through a parliamentary motion that incorporated Abel's poignant text, emphasizing the imperative to acknowledge and combat the alarming rise of antisemitism, racism, and discrimination specifically on university campuses throughout the country. The campaign effectively reached all universities in Scotland with Jewish student populations and extended its impact to universities in Ireland as well.
Emma Hallali (France), Hanna Nir (Sweden), and Guy Dabby-Joory (United Kingdom)
Emma Hallali, Hanna Nir, and Guy Dabby-Joory co-founded Ahlan Europe, an organization dedicated to advocating for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Jewish experience among young people in Europe. Their primary objective was to raise awareness and promote inclusivity for Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews residing in Europe.
Through their prominent social media presence, specifically the Instagram account @ahlaneurope, Emma, Hanna, and Guy successfully heightened awareness regarding the MENA Jewish experience. This platform has facilitated connections with numerous young Jewish activists from around the globe. Notably, posts from @ahlaneurope are frequently shared by Jewish activists on various social media platforms.
University of Notre Dame (United States)
Blake Ziegler, President of University of Notre Dame Jewish Club, hosted an Antisemitism Awareness Week dedicated to educating the university community about antisemitism, promoting Jewish life at a Catholic university, and encouraging interfaith dialogue and alliances.
The first event was a presentation given by Ziegler entitled “What is Antisemitism?” during which he discussed the definition of antisemitism, provided history on the topic, cited current trends, and, finally, talked about the way in which antisemitism manifests on college campuses, specifically at Notre Dame, and how to combat it.
The second event was a panel featuring three Jewish students and a Jewish faculty member to discuss Jewish life at Notre Dame. The week wrapped up with an interfaith Shabbat dinner with over 60 participants. Traditional Friday night prayers were said, and member of the Campus Ministry and the Muslim Student Association also shared their Christian and Muslim perspectives on interfaith dialogue and cooperation.
CUNY Baruch College (United States)
Avrohom Malachowski served two terms in his student government. In the fall of 2022 he was appointed student fellow as a part of the University Student Senate and was re-elected for spring semester. He is working to make tangible change for the Jewish community at his university and to encourage interfaith dialogue between various faith-based student groups.
Utrecht University (France)
Nominated by the European Union of Jewish Students, Emma ran for and was elected to the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe, the non-governmental partner that establishes the standards and work priorities of the Council of Europe’s youth sector and makes recommendations for future priorities, programs, and budgets. It is comprised of 30 representatives from youth NGOs and networks in Europe. Emma will be serving on the Advisory Council on Youth until 2025.
Noah Katz (UK):
“My time as a Lauder Fellow has been transformational. Not only was I privileged enough to be chosen to represent future leadership now known as elevate to the executive committee of the world Jewish Congress I was part of that delegation who had the privilege of having an audience with and individually meeting the Pope to further Judeo-Catholic interfaith relations. I've been lucky enough to advocate for intersectional inclusion across America the UK the EU and Israel thanks to my involvement with the WJC. More than anything, the rest of my cohort were so impactful on who I am as a person a year later. I count some of them as my closest friends. I'm so thankful to Ambassador Lauder for facilitating the creation of such a meaningful and important initiative and I cannot wait to enter into the next steps of my World Jewish Congress leadership journey.”
Neely Kasanoff (US):
“The Lauder Fellowship not only made me feel like an integral part of the global Jewish community, but also provided me with invaluable support and insight into how I can best work to secure a thriving future for the Jewish people. Surrounded by such a global and diverse cohort, I was truly inspired by the strength and resilience exhibited by all the Fellows and their amazing projects initiated around the world. The Fellowship invited me into rooms I never thought I would have a place in, encouraged my voice to be hears, and provided me with opportunities I had previously only been able to dream about. I will forever be grateful for the experiences that came with being a Lauder Fellow, and for being trusted with the chance to contribute to the mission of the WJC.”
Alissa Foster (AUS):
“The Lauder Fellowship has been a journey that has truly transformed my perspective on leadership and global Jewish unity. There is no other platform which provides young people the opportunity to combine love and passion for the Jewish people with professional skills and mentorship in diplomacy, advocacy, and project management. Coming from Australia, which is so physically far away, the fellowship has instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility to contribute to the betterment of not only my community, but to support, elevate, and work together with Jewish communities across the globe. Throughout the Fellowship, I have witnessed firsthand the strength and resilience of our community, but also the immense potential we have when we come together with young people sitting at the table.”
Blake Ziegler (US):
“The Lauder Fellowship is an opportunity unlike any other program. It introduces you to Jewish Diplomacy, strengthens your skills as a Jewish advocate, and provides you access to a worldwide network of renowned individuals across every field. At the same time, it recognizes your work by encouraging you to pursue your passions. The balance between diplomatic training and campus activism creates the perfect mixture for an effective Jewish leader. WJC routinely emphasizes the importance of empowering young Jewish voices. The Lauder Fellowship is evidence that the organization lives up to that mission. As someone who comes from a small Jewish community, the Fellowship was particularly important to me. I was able to experience different forms of Jewish heritage and learn from people across the world. I will always carry those lessons with me into my Jewish advocacy and beyond.”
RON ALADJEM, University of Manchester, Bulgaria
NAOMI BENNETT, Heidelberg University, Germany
RIVKA VITTORIA BUBLIL, Luiss University, Italy
REBECCA CANTOR, California State University, Long Beach, United States
GUY DABBY-JOORY, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
GABRIELLA FARBER, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
ALISSA FOSTER, University of new South Wales, Australia
MICAH GRITZ, Tufts University, United States
ARIEL GROSMAN, Buenos Aires University, Argentina
EMMA HALLALI, Utrecht University, France
TAL HEMU, University of Amsterdam, Israel
EMILY KALO, University of Manitoba, Canada
FLORENCIA KAPLUN, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
NEELY KASANOFF, New York University, United States
NOAH KATZ, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
ÁBEL KESZLER, University of Glasgow, Hungary
GHILA LASCAR, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy
AVROHOM MALACHOWSKI, City University of New York, Baruch College, United States
HANNA NIR, Uppsala University, Sweden
JOSHUA NORMAN, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
NATI PRESMANN, Queen’s University, Canada
ELIOTT PREZEROWITZ, Georgetown University, United States
EMMA SAMETH, George Mason University, United States
HANNAH SIEGEL, Southern Methodist University, United States
ASHER SWIDLER, Brown University, United States
MICAELA VAISEMBRUT, Catholica University of Asunción, Paraguay
BRANDON WISNICKI, University of Pennsylvania, United States
BLAKE ZIEGLER, University of Notre Dame, United States