Hadassah Atlanta’s 32nd Chesed Student Awards

Hadassah Atlanta’s 32nd Chesed Student Awards

Hadassah Greater Atlanta and JumpSpark honored 23 of the top young leaders representing synagogues, Jewish day schools and organizations throughout metro Atlanta.

Audrey Zeff receives the Chesed Community Service Award Essay Prize (Weinroth Award) from Michael and Linda Weinroth // Photo Credit: Glenn Prince
Audrey Zeff receives the Chesed Community Service Award Essay Prize (Weinroth Award) from Michael and Linda Weinroth // Photo Credit: Glenn Prince

The 32nd annual Hadassah Greater Atlanta Chesed (loving kindness) Student Awards took place on May 7 at Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs. HGA partnered with JumpSpark to honor 23 of the best and brightest young leaders representing synagogues, Jewish day schools, and organizations in the greater Atlanta community.

Eighth to twelfth graders are eligible for the award. Each organization chooses its own recipient based on criteria that are paramount to Hadassah and its members: concern for Jews, Jewish culture and heritage, concern for Israel; concern for fellow human beings in manner and deed (menschlichkeit); and good academic standing.

2023 Hadassah Chesed Student Award recipients: (from left, back row) Dylan Feinberg, Olivia Fishman, Brandon Buchalter, Matan Berg, Ben Lefkovits, Jamie Cohen, Barri Seitz, Hannah Litvak, Zac Mittleman, Ethan Levine, Zoe Diamond-Wilding; (from left, front row) Miriam Raggs, Audrey Zeff, Abby Warshauer, Kayla Minsk, Katherine Davies, Jolie Thaler, Katherine Poch, Laney Weissman, Molly Ziskind, Abby Gilbert. Not pictured: Lindsay Feinstein and Mia Kleinman) // Photo Credit: Glenn Prince

Phyllis M. Cohen and Linda Weinroth of Hadassah chaired the event, and Jessie Schwartzman, manager, represented JumpSpark.

Michele Weiner-Merbaum, Hadassah Southeastern Region president, spoke in support of Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah Villages, supporting youth at risk where donations made to the Chesed program are being allocated this year. Since 2019, the Hadassah Chesed Student Awards have offered two monetary awards based on student essay submissions. This year’s competitive essay contest asked how the students were impacted by the pandemic, how they adapted, and what opportunities they found for leadership and community service.

Molly Ziskind receives the Chesed Leadership Award Essay Prize (Cohen Award) from Phyllis M. Cohen // Photo Credit: Glenn Prince

The winner of the Leadership Award, sponsored by Phyllis M. Cohen, went to Molly Ziskind, representing Temple Beth Tikvah. During the pandemic, Ziskind became the leader of a youth group that raised funds to allow 17 underprivileged children to attend Camp Jenny – a camp where she serves as a volunteer counselor.

The 2023 winner of the Community Service award, sponsored by Michael and Linda Weinroth, went to Audrey Zeff, representing Congregation Shearith Israel. Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, her passion for mitzvot – and frustration regarding race inequality – prompted her to create a modest nonprofit fudge business. She sold her fudge and donated the proceeds to The Conscious Kid, a nonprofit that promotes conversations around racial awareness. She also founded an environmental advocacy group at her synagogue.

Ben Lefkovits, representing The Weber School, receives Chesed Award from Nancy Schwartz, Hadassah Greater Atlanta president // Photo Credit: Glenn Prince

These are just two examples of the many outstanding community outreach projects in which the Chesed honorees participated and led. Cohen reflected, “For 32 years, we’ve been recognizing our community’s exemplary teens dedicated to service, leadership and good deeds in a world that truly needs kindness and understanding.”

To learn more about Hadassah, go to www.hadassah.org/chapter/greater-atlanta.
To learn more about JumpSpark, go to www.jumpsparkatl.org.

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