Contact: Alix Friedman
Hadassah National Public Relations
The three winners come from New Jersey, Florida and California
August 24, 2020 – New York, NY – Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA) announces that the 2020 winners of its Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Young Women are Manni Burach, 17, of Livingston, New Jersey, and Liora Tuchman, 17, of Plantation, Florida. Each will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel, to take place in 2021, to participate in Young Judea Machon’s annual summer leadership program. Runner-up Maya Yakovee, 17, from Woodland Hills, California, will receive a $1,000 scholarship toward the program.
The Leaders of Tomorrow program is a highly-selective, merit-based competition that exposes the winners to the rich culture and history of Israel and the Jewish people. Participants have opportunities to hone their leadership skills, meet with VIPs, and give back in meaningful ways. The program grew out of a partnership, now more than 100 years old, between Hadassah, the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States, and Young Judaea, the country’s the oldest Zionist youth movement.
This is the sixth year Hadassah has given the Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Young Women to Young Judaeans who have shown the potential to go on to even greater leadership roles, potentially in Hadassah.
Hadassah President Rhoda Smolow states, “Since its inception, Hadassah’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.”
“We are delighted to choose three young women who personify the passionate spirit and dedication of Hadassah’s values and mission,” said Lynn Davidson, Hadassah National Chair, Young Judaea. “We know that Manni Burach, Liora Tuchman and Maya Yakovee 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.”
Manni Burach, 17, is an incoming senior at Livingston High School in Livingston, New Jersey, where her extracurricular activities include serving as Head of Communications, Year-Round Young Judaea New Jersey Mazkirut - Pirsum (2018-2019) and President of Mazkira (2019-2020). She is in the running to become National Bogrim Programmer, was President of the Livingston High School Theatre Program (2019-2020 and is active with AM Wired, the high school’s morning television program, and the English Honors Society. In her spare time, she is a free-lance video producer for various music artists and agencies, including The Epic Soul Band.
Burach stated, “I am a proud Jewish woman and Zionist following in the footsteps of my mother and grandmothers, all of whom were members of Hadassah and Young Judaea. Growing up in Young Judaea, I have formed a connection to Israel through Israeli peulot and relationships with Israeli counselors and staff. I believe my Jewish identity and my connection to Israel will deepen when I step off the plane at Ben Gurion and feel the immediate connection.I want to participate in Machon because I believe going to Israel will complete the missing piece in my Jewish journey.”
Liora Tuchman, 17, is an incoming senior at Western High School in Plantation, Florida, where her extracurricular activities include serving as Young Judaea South Florida Co-President (2018-2020), Student Government Speaker of the House (2019-2020), Senator (2018-2019) and Founding Member and Secretary, Save A Child's Heart (2019-2020). She is a member of the National Honor Society (2019-2020), the Jewish Student Union (2017-2020) and the Harvest Drive Committee (2018-2020).
Said Tuchman, “This award will help me realize my goal of working in the Jewish community. Whether it is being involved in my temple or Hadassah, the leadership skills that I develop as a young adult will help me contribute to my community. Receiving this award will help empower me to purse my dreams to become a strong advocate for social issues, such as common-sense gun safety, woman’s rights and women’s health equity, and to advocate for the Jewish community.”
Runner-up Maya Yakovee, 17, from Woodland Hills, California, is an incoming senior at Oak Park High School and a student in a criminal justice dual-enrollment course through Moorpark College. Her extracurricular activities include serving as Israel Affairs Vice President, USY Chapter (2018-2020) and Vice President and Event Planner, Oak Park High School's American Sign Language Club (2019-2020), and she participated in the Israel Ambassador program, the 2020 AIPAC conference and the Teen Ambassador Program of the Israeli consulate (2019-2020). She attended the Los Angeles Hebrew High School (2016-2020) and is a Teen Planner for the school's upcoming Shabbaton (2020) and a member of the American Sign Language Honors Society (2019-2020) and the National Honor Society (2019-2020).
“I am a product of a mixed marriage,” said Yakovee. “My father was raised in a religious Yemenite family in Israel and served in the Israeli army. My mother grew up in a conservative Jewish family in New York and was a devoted Young Judaean. Finding my own connection to Israel and Judaism has been an exciting journey. From exploring my heritage and religion through involvement in Jewish organizations to researching Israel's history and current events, I have always been engaged by Judaism and Israel. Through Machon, I hope to gain first-hand insight by exploring the country alongside fellow Israelis and teens.”
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA), is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With nearly 300,000 members, Associates, and supporters, Hadassah brings women together to effect change and advocate on such critical issues as ensuring the security of Israel, combating antisemitism, and promoting women’s health. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's (HMO) two hospitals in Jerusalem, Hadassah delivers exemplary patient care to over a million people every year and supports world-renowned medical research. HMO serves without regard to race, religion, or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination in 2005 for building “bridges to peace.” Additionally, Hadassah supports several Youth Aliyah villages that set at-risk children in Israel on the path to a successful future. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org
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
About Young Judaea's Teen Summer Programs
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 special 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. 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 a week during their time in Israel, participants have many opportunities to travel the world and have an enduring impact on the communities around them. For more information, please visit Young Judaea's Israel Teen Summer Programs.