- Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council
Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council
The Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council brings together a group of high-level and critically thinking Onward Israel alumni, committed to assisting Onward Israel continued growth and development, to advise staff and lay leaders on issues related to Onward Israel programs. Our inaugural 2019-2020 cohort are leaders in the Onward Israel community who help shape the programs future and assure its success.
Ally Chelst, Onward Israel jInternship ALT Inspired, 2018
Ally is a fellow for the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs in Washington, DC where she facilitates legislative and diplomatic outreach and coordinates logistics for high-level diplomatic events. Ally graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Delaware in May 2019, where she majored Spanish, Italian and Hebrew and minored in Latin American Studies and Jewish Studies. Ally studied abroad in Rome and Tel Aviv, and participated in JInternship’s Alt Inspired 2 in Jerusalem during the summer of 2018. During her summer on JInternship, Ally interned at Daniella’s Den, a rehabilitative day center for youth dealing with eating disorders and mental health issues. Her time in Israel inspired her to pursue a career in the Jewish non-profit sector, and it has made her the unwavering advocate for the Jewish people that she is today. Ally is passionate about engaging Jewish communities both domestically and abroad. She hopes that her cross-cultural experiences will allow her to help expand Onward Israel’s programming to include more participants from all over the world.
Jacob Cohen, Onward Israel Cleveland, 2018
Jacob is currently a Senior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Health and Societies with a concentration in Healthcare Markets and Finance and a minor in Survey Research and Data Analytics. Outside of the classroom at Penn, Jacob is the past president of both Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and the Penn-Israel Public Affairs Committee (PIPAC), the leading pro-Israel group on campus. Jacob first traveled to Israel for his Bar Mitzvah in 2010. He has been back five times since for family trips, the ‘Write on for Israel’ program, and Birthright. Jacob interned at Maverick Ventures Israel, a small venture capital firm investing in Israeli startups. Jacob has remained in close contact with his bosses from Maverick and set them up with an Onward Israel intern for the summer of 2019. After returning to campus Jacob worked to encourage other students to spend a summer in Israel by hosting a panel highlighting the experiences of several Penn students who spent the summer in Israel. Outside of the class Jacob loves cheering on the Cleveland sports teams and the Penn Quakers Basketball team, traveling to exotic locations and trying new restaurants. After graduation, Jacob will be moving to Chicago to work as an Associate Consultant for Bain & Company.
Gonzalo Heredia Edelstein, Onward Israel Latin America Hillel, 2018
Gonzalo is an entrepreneur and economics science student from Argentina. He is currently attending an innovation accelerator course at the University of California Berkeley and will be staying in the Bay Area until May 2020. He was part of the 6th Latin American Hillel Onward Israel cohort in January and February 2019. By the end of 2020, he will be finishing his bachelor’s degree in Argentina after which he is planning to do a master’s in data science. He is passionate about sports. Lately, he has been dedicated to running; Tel Aviv’s marathon was the last marathon he ran!
Caleb Esrig, Onward Israel Boston Tel Aviv, 2018
Caleb is a senior at Harvard College studying economics. Originally from New Rochelle, NY, he is a graduate of Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, where he served as student body president. At Harvard, Caleb focuses on American economic policy and on the impact of taxation on business formation. He saw the importance of sound economic policy during the summer of 2017, when he worked for the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies through Onward Israel Boston Tel Aviv. There, he studied and published work on the challenges facing the Jordanian economy. He also relished the chance to live on the corner of Allenby Street and Rothschild Boulevard, to practice his Hebrew, and to experience life in Tel Aviv. Outside of the classroom, at Harvard, Caleb leads the First-Year Outdoor Program and serves on the editorial board of The Harvard Crimson. He loves hiking, reading, and finding the best hummus. Last summer, he worked at Goldman Sachs in global investment research, in the tech, media, and telecom sector. He will graduate from Harvard in May 2020 and will join Bain & Company as an Associate Consultant in its New York City office.
Alexa (Lexi) Goldstein, Onward Israel Hillel North America, 2016
Alexa recently made Aliyah to the South of Israel and is working in Resource Development for NGOs based in the Negev. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in International and Global Studies with a regional focus on the Middle East-North Africa. Alexa was participating in the Hillel International Onward Israel program in 2016, where she learned about the unique ecosystem of civil society work in Israel. Alexa grew up in South Florida, not far from Fort Lauderdale, where Jewish youth groups helped her to understand how to be a leader within and outside the Jewish community. During her time as a student in Oralndo, she was involved in the Jewish community through Central Florida Hillel, the Hillel International Student Cabinet, the Jewish National Fund, and the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. After her Onward experience, Alexa decided to make Aliyah to fulfill her dream of working abroad in peacebuilding and capacity building in Israel. She chose to move to Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev, where she studied Ulpan at Ben Gurion University and began work for a Bedouin-Jewish NGO in the Bedouin city of Rahat. Until her next degree, Alexa will be focusing on making the desert bloom, becoming fluent in Hebrew, and learning how to “adult” in the Middle East.
Sam Perlen, Onward Israel Chicago, 2017
Sam is currently a Human Resources Associate at FedEx Services in Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs, majoring in Management from Indiana University in May of 2019. Sam took part in the 2017 Onward Israel Chicago program where he got to live in the center of Tel Aviv and work at Star TAU, a leading entrepreneurship center at Tel Aviv University. Sam is originally from Nashville, Tennessee where he grew a passion for the global Jewish community and the state of Israel. His first trip was as a rising senior with Nashville community members and since then, Sam has been back to Israel four times. Sam is an avid traveler, having been to over 30 states with hopefully more to come in the near future.
Jonah Platovsky, Onward Israel jInternship Aish, 2019
Jonah is a junior at the University of Florida majoring in finance and expects to graduate in May 2021. In Summer 2019, he participated in the jInternship Aish Program, where he had an incredible experience interning at HLC Equity and living and learning in the Old City in Jerusalem. His time in Israel helped strengthen his relationship with the country and further develop his Jewish identity, and he hopes to help future students have the same experience by serving as a member of the Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council. Next summer, Jonah will be interning in the Global Investment Banking division at RBC Capital Markets in New York City, where he hopes to return to full-time after he graduates. Outside school, he enjoys fitness, traveling, and following Florida Gators sports.
Julia Pratt, Onward Israel South Palm Beach, 2018
Julia is from Boca Raton, Florida. She is studying at Tulane University in New Orleans and expecting to graduate in May 2021 with a double major in Jewish Studies and Political Science. She is passionate about pro-Israel advocacy and activism as well as nonprofit work. She has lived in Israel the past three summers and participated in various internship programs, however Onward Israel was by far her most rewarding experience. She interned at The Tel Aviv Foundation in Tel Aviv City Hall under Mayor Ron Huldai’s leadership. In previous summers she also interned for The Jewish Federation of New York-Tel Aviv and The Israel Innovation Fund. At Tulane, she is a Chabad Student Board Member, Kappa Kappa Gamma Executive Board Member, Hillel Tulane Jewish Leader, Tulane Israel Public Affairs Committee Activist, Co-Founder of TAMID Group, and Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society Member. Additionally, She was the StandWithUs Emerson Fellow, and currently a Jewish National Fund (JNF) Campus Liaison and Israel21c Digital Ambassador. She is currently studying abroad in England at King’s College London. She enjoys rewatching Disney+ shows, traveling, Zumba, and hanging with friends. Onward Israel has shaped me into the proud Jewish person I am today, and for that I am forever grateful. I’m very excited to be a member of the Onward Israel Alumni Advisory Council and looking forward to all that we will achieve!
Brooke Steinman, Onward Israel Camp Counselor, 2017
Brooke will be graduating in May of 2020 from Syracuse University with majors in Citizenship & Civic Engagement, and Communication & Rhetorical Studies with a minor in Jewish Education. After graduation, she is looking to work in the Jewish not-for-profit field. She has developed a strong connection to Israel, a confident Jewish identity, and a desire to contribute to programs and organizations, She has worked in different capacities for many Jewish non-profits in the past including BBYO, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Camp Tevya, Temple Adath of Syracuse, Temple Concord of Syracuse, and Next Generations. Brooke has an online shopping addiction, uses way too many emojis, could spend all day at Trader Joes, and broke her finger flushing the toilet once. She grew up in South Florida but her family roots are in Boston. She is high energy, optimistic, and LOVES to travel (Copenhagen has been her favorite travel spot so far- besides Israel). She is eager to be a part of Onward Israel’s first Alumni Advisory Council and enthusiastic to contribute to an organization that played a role in my development as a Jewish leader.
Raquel Szomstein Onward Israel Government & Politics, 2017
Raquel’s Onward Israel experience propelled her into the world of government and politics, where since she has evaluated governance and development at the international, national, and local level. She comes from an interdisciplinary background, as her studies focused on the intersection of international relations, urban policy, and development. Last year, Raquel worked as an intern at the Women’s Opportunities Resource Center in Philadelphia, a nonprofit that promotes economic self-sufficiency for women and minorities. Last summer, she interned in Washington D.C. at the Partnership for Public Service, where as part of the Government Affairs team she worked with many stakeholders in issues related to government effectiveness. While studying abroad in Spain, she assisted in research on foreign policy stances of smaller European Union states. Raquel is proudly from Miami, Florida. She enjoys traveling, visiting museums of any kind, and playing with her dog and cats. She looks forward to being on the Council to provide perspective and give back to the Onward Israel community.