Contact: Renee Young
Hadassah National Public Relations
May 15, 2019 – NEW YORK, NY – Hadassah has named the recipients of its 2019 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Young Women scholarship, announced Ellen Hershkin, National President, Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA). This is a highly selective, merit-based competition. The 2019 HWZOA Leaders of Tomorrow Award recipients are: Skyler Clark, 17, from North Springs Charter High School in Sandy Springs, GA and Sara Michal Saidel, 16, from Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy in Overland Park, KS. For over a century, Hadassah has enjoyed a productive relationship with Young Judaea, which has created a dynamic corps of young Jewish leaders who become active and engaged Jewish adults.
This year’s runners-up are Sydney Levy, 17, from DeKalb School of the Arts, Avondale Estates, GA and Jessica Siegal, 17, from Needham High School, Needham, MA.
2019 marks the sixth year that HWZOA has awarded its Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Young Women to two young Judaeans who have shown the potential for even greater leadership roles, potentially in HWZOA. The two 2019 award recipients receive an all-expense paid trip to Israel to participate in the annual summer Young Judaea Machon leadership program, while the two 2019 runners-up receive $1000 for the same Young Judaea Machon program. This program serves to deepen the recipients’ love for Israel and offer them a fresh perspective of a country to which they are already devoted. Upon their return, HWZOA will offer them many opportunities to share their rich experiences.
Ellen Hershkin states, “Since its inception, HWZOA’s mission has been to empower and inspire young women to take their place as leaders in their communities. Hadassah is proud to provide opportunities for leadership and personal growth for women of all ages. We congratulate these exceptional young women for their achievements; especially their passion for Israel and the Jewish people.”
Barbara Spack, Hadassah National Chair, Young Judaea, states: “We are delighted to choose four young women who personify the passionate spirit and dedication of Hadassah’s values and mission. We know that Skyler Clark, Sara Michal Saidel, Sydney Levy and Jessica Siegel will continue to demonstrate their exceptional leadership skills as well as their noteworthy academic achievements as they grow to lead Hadassah groups in the future.”
Skyler Clark, 17, is a junior at North Springs High School in Sandy Springs, GA, where she has been Student Government Representative and Hiking Club President. She has been Administrator of Atlanta's new Young Judaea chapter and a volunteer for St. Bernard Project in South Carolina on Camp Judaea's Tikkun Olam program.
Clark states, “Though I did not grow up in a particularly religious environment, I have always felt strongly connected to Judaism. I'm a third generation Judaean and have been influenced by my family's work in Jewish activism. Throughout my time both at Camp Judaea and at home, I have witnessed the incredible strength and solidarity within our Jewish community. As a community, we both help support each other and give back to world. Israel has a certain holiness that can be found nowhere else which people are able to make a spiritual connection to. I look forward to this opportunity to experience this and deepen my already strong connection to Israel.”
Sara Michal Saidel, 16, is a junior at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy where she is on the National Honor Society, the student council, the drama society and varsity soccer and been active on the newspaper and yearbook staffs. She has also been active at Congregation Beth Shalom as a Madricha/assistant teacher, Polsky Religious School Head Music Teacher, a member of the USY chapter board, Social Action/Tikkun Olam Vice President and KCUSY Israel Affairs Vice President. She is a member of Young Judaea National Mazkirut, the You Be You Mental Health Coalition and served on the Bnai Tzedek Youth Council.
Saidel states, “My mother, grandmother, and great-grand mother are life-members of Hadassah. and are all still active in the organization. All three women have passed down Hadassah’s vision to me. They have imparted upon me the need to learn, lead, help others, and explore my own Jewish identity and connection with Israel. As a young Jewish woman, I feel responsible to live my life with Jewish values — to treat others with kindness, to continue to grow in knowledge and meaningful experiences, and most importantly, to care for those in need. These values have been taught to me by the powerful Jewish women in my life, as well as by Young Judaea. This award will empower me as a young woman to expand my own leadership skills, as well as allow me to experience the Israel to the fullest with a program that is focused on helping me grow and strengthen my personal, and Jewish values.”
Jessica Siegal, 17, is a junior at Needham High School Needham, MA, where she is a member of the National Honor Society, Vice-President of the Social/Political Activism Club and President of the Photography Club. She is currently President of New England Young Judaea.
Sydney Levy, 17, is a junior at DeKalb School of The Arts, in Avondale Estates, GA where she was Sophomore and Junior Class Secretary and active in the drama society. She is the recipient of the 2018 Greater Atlanta Hadassah Chesed Award which is awarded annually to an outstanding Atlanta-area Jewish teenager honoring their love and commitment to Israel.
Young Judaea's Teen Summer Programs in Israel connect participants with the land of Israel, its culture, and its spirit. With award-winning educational programming and specialty touring options, Jewish teens experience the best of Israel while building leadership and social activism skills. Participants are offered a variety of distinctive trips with a focus on science, social entrepreneurship, advocacy and volunteering, to name a few. In addition to a weekend of leadership training at Tel Yehudah, Young Judaea's senior leadership camp, and a chance to explore personal special interests for one week of their trip in Israel, participants in Young Judaea's Israel Teen Summer Programs have every opportunity to travel the world and have an enduring impact on the communities around them. For more information, please visit https://www.youngjudaea.org/israel-programs/teen-summer-programs/
About Young Judaea
Young Judaea, the premier Zionist youth movement worldwide, encourages young people from grade school through post-college to become involved in social and educational activities that sharpen their senses of Jewish and Zionist identity. Young Judaea programs include a variety of year-round activities: local havurot meetings; summer camps nationwide; Alternative Winter Break; Year Course in Israel (a freshman gap-year program); Israel summer programs for teens, including YJ Machon and Israel Discovery; Amirim college summer offerings; and WUJS Israel post-college internship and study programs. Young Judaea is a “110-year-old start-up,” having recently become an independent organization after fifty plus years as part of Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA), and is building to meet current challenges and embrace new opportunities. For more information, please visit www.youngjudaea.org
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA) is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With 330,000 members, Associates and supporters Hadassah brings Jewish women together to effect change and advocate on critical issues such as medical care and research and women's empowerment. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's two hospitals, the world-renowned trauma center and the leading research facility in Jerusalem, Hadassah supports the delivery of exemplary patient care to over a million people every year. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination in 2005 for building “bridges to peace” through equality in medical treatment. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org.