Debra Messing and Those Fighting Campus Antisemitism Are Among Hadassah’s 2024 “18 American Zionist Women You Should Know”

The diverse group includes Christian, Black Jewish and LGBTQ+ Zionists

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Media Contact:
Alix Friedman

NEW YORK, NY — Since October 7, American Zionist women have played a critical role in advocating for Israel and the victims of the Hamas attacks and in condemning the worldwide explosion of antisemitism. It’s in this context that Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, announces its second annual list of “18 American Zionist Women You Should Know.” And like Israel and Zionism today, the list – made up of Jews and non-Jews, of American-born women, American immigrants and Americans who have made aliyah – represents a wide range of viewpoints, identities and activities.

From TV star Debra Messing, who is executive-producing “Primal Fear,” a documentary about the post-October 7 eruption in antisemitism, to Hadassah Zionism-education star Diana Diner, from Christian Zionist Destiny Albritton to LGBTQ+ progressive Zionist Toby Klein, from black Jewish poet/digital content creator Tova Ricardo to constitutional scholar Sam von Ende – these women and the others on the 2024 list represent the diversity of Zionism today.

“America’s Zionist women were a powerful force for Israel well before the country was founded and they are a powerful force for Israel today,” said Hadassah National President Carol Ann Schwartz. “Since October 7, they have raised their voices to tell the world about Hamas’ brutality and to call out the antisemitic stereotypes and prejudices that have burst forth from every corner of the world. These women will help see us through the current crisis and shape the future of Zionism and Israel.”


Click on the names to read a bio of each woman:

1. Shai Albrecht – Pro-Israel Social Media Influencer 
2. Destiny Albritton – Christian Zionist Activist 
3. Eve Barlow – Writer, Thought Leader and Jewish Advocate 
4. Emily Briskman – Jewish Communal Leader and Educator 
5. Valeria Chazin – Award-Winning Activist 
6. Adela Cojab Moadeb – Author and Israel Activist 
7. Diana Diner – Israel/Zionism Educator 
8. Virag Gulyas – Speaker, Author and Former EU Diplomat 
9. Jenn Handel – Educator and Jewish Non-Profit Professional 
10. Toby Klein – LGBTQ+ Progressive Zionist 
11. Aviva Klompas – Writer, Speaker and CEO 
12. Debra Messing – Actress and Activist 
13. Luisa Narins – Pro-Israel Advocate 
14. Tova Ricardo – Poet and Digital Media Creator 
15. Michelle Rojas-Tal – Global Speaker and Advocate 
16. Ashira Solomon – International Speaker and Advocate 
17. Sam von Ende  – Social Innovator and Constitutional Scholar 
18. Gila Zarbiv – Certified Nurse Midwife 


1. SHAI ALBRECHT, Pro-Israel Social Media Influencer – Acertified personal trainer, Albrecht started her social media platform to focus on physical and mental health. She began advocating for Orthodox Jewish women and correcting misconceptions about Israel in response to the rise in antisemitism after October 7. Albrecht has been vocal about her goal of raising the younger generation’s awareness and her criticism of anti-Israel rhetoric on college campuses, calling for the suspension of pro-Palestinian groups that promote violence against Jews. Raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish community in Maryland, Albrecht now lives in the Shenandoah mountains, where she is raising chickens, goats and three children on a homestead. 

2. DESTINY ALBRITTON, Christian Zionist Activist – The senior director of Next Gen Christians United for Israel (CUFI)Albritton works to ensure that the next generation of Christian leaders strongly supports Israel. She also oversees the Israel Collective, a program of Christians United for Israel that connects young American Christian leaders to Israel. Albrittonhas led many advocacy missions to Israel for young allies of Israel and the Jewish people, including the CUFI Solidarity Mission to Israel, the Jewish National Fund's Caravan for Democracy, the Israel on Campus Coalition’s Geller International Fellowship Mission to Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Albritton has a substantial online presence as a Christian content creator and Zionist activist, including over 900,000 followers on TikTok

3. EVE BARLOW, Writer, Thought Leader and Jewish Advocate – Barlow, a Scottish pop culture-journalist-turned-Israel advocate, is the LA-based creator and writer of the newsletter Blacklisted, which has been ranked #1 on Substack several times. Since October 7, she has made two reporting trips to Israel and produced a mini-documentary with Honest ReportingShe is one of today’s strongest voices speaking out against antisemitism and anti-Zionism on social media, with a monthly reach of over 1.5 million people. In 2020 and 2021, the Algemeiner recognized Barlow as one of the “Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life.” Before being blacklisted because of her Jewish advocacy, Barlow was deputy editor of the NME and contributed to New York MagazineThe GuardianBillboardThe Los Angeles TimesPitchforkGQ and other publications. 

4. EMILY BRISKMAN, Jewish Communal Leader and Educator – An expert in informal Jewish and Israel education with 19 years’ experience at JUF and Hillel, Briskman is associate vice president of JUF Campus Affairs and executive director at the Hillels of IllinoisBriskman built JUF's Israel Education Center into a nationally known operation that tracks trends and designs interventions to combat antisemitism on college and university campuses in Illinois and around the country. She is also a consultant and expert panelist who speaks to thousands of people every year about how to combat the rise in antisemitism and how young people think about their Jewish identity and Israel. 

5. VALERIA CHAZIN, Award-Winning Activist – The Kiev-born, Israel-raised Chazin is co-founder of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), which she grew from a single campus group into an international student organization. As the developer and leader of multiple educational programs and events, Chazin empowers thousands of students across North America to be strong voices for Israel and Zionism and against antisemitism. She is a member of the Va’ad Hapoel of the World Zionist Organization and sits on the JCRC board in Minnesota, where she lives and has received awards for her activism. Chazin’s opinion pieces have appeared in The Jerusalem PostThe Algemeiner and The Times of Israel

6. ADELA COJAB MOADEB, Author and Israel Activist – While an undergraduate at New York University in 2019, Cojab Moadeb, a Syrian-Lebanese Jew born in Mexico and raised in New Jersey, made headlines when she filed a Title VI complaint accusing NYU of failing to protect Jews on campus from consistent harassment. Her actions led to a resolution agreement addressing antisemitism as a form of discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which laid the groundwork for similar lawsuits against other universities. Cojab Moadeb was named one of 2021’s “Top-50 Pro-Israel Influencers” and one of JNS’s “Top-40 Latin American Pro-Israel Advocates and Leaders” for the same year. Since October 7, Cojab Moadeb has posted daily videos about the Israel-Hamas conflict through TodayUnpacked.

7. DIANA DINER, Israel/Zionism Educator – Diner is the driving force behind a group of Hadassah programs designed to kick-start conversations about what Zionism means to women in their 30s, 40s and 50s, who may not share their mothers’ and grandmothers’ all-or-nothing definition. Among the programs she has developed: “18 American Zionist Women You Should Know”; “What Zionism Means to Me,” a series of panel discussions around the country, and Hadassah’s first Zionist symposium, held in 2023. The daughter of Russian immigrants (she speaks the language fluently), Diner credits the 10 days she spent in Israel with Birthright in 2005 with inspiring a career in Zionism education. Before joining Hadassah in 2020, she spent almost 20 years working with teens and young adults at Birthright, Hillel International, the Israel on Campus Coalition, Masa Israel Journey and Young Judaea, and at the Israeli consulate in New York. 

8. VIRAG GULYAS, Speaker, Author and Former EU Diplomat – A vocal pro-Israel advocate and a non-Jewish Zionist, Gulyas uses high-profile education and PR campaigns to challenge false narratives about Israel and to expose double standards in many Jewish civil rights activities. The head of JNF-USA’s Global Jewish Speakers Bureau, she is committed to eliminating stereotypes about Israel and Jews and is a fierce critic of the BDS movement, the UN's anti-Israel stance and the exploitation of educational curricula designed to cultivate a generation sympathetic to anti-Zionist ideologies. Gulyas is candid about her journey from an upbringing drenched in antisemitism to the person she is today, something she discusses on her blog, The Almost Jewish , read across the US, Europe and Israel. 

9. JENN HANDEL, Educator and Jewish Non-Profit Professional – Named one of the Atlanta Jewish Times’ “Jewish 40 Under 40” in 2022, Handel is the director of Israel engagement for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and a frequent speaker on antisemitism and Zionism. She spent nine years working at Jewish Life at Duke and the Stony Brook Hilleland credits a 2010 Birthright Israel experience with changing the course of her life and making her feel “Jewish enough to be Jewish.” Craving a deeper relationship with Israel, she participated in the first cohort of Masa Israel Teaching Fellows in Rishon LeZion, Israel.

10. TOBY KLEIN, LGBTQ+ Progressive Zionist – A program manager for A Wider Bridge,Klein (she/her) builds connections between America’s and Israel’s LGBTQ+ communities through virtual programming and in-person trips to Israel. When LGBTQ+-phobia and antisemitism skyrocketed in the wake of October 7, leaving personal and professional communities shattered, scattered and isolated, Klein took a group of 15 LGBTQ+ American leaders to Israel to witness the aftermath of October 7 and volunteer alongside LGBTQ+ Israelis. She continues to work toward a day when all LGBTQ+ Zionists are safe wherever they are and able to be their full, authentic selves.

11. AVIVA KLOMPAS, Writer, Speaker and CEO – Klompas is co-founder (with Rachel Fish)and CEO of Boundless, a “think-action tank” that addresses key challenges in education about Israel and how to combat antisemitism. She served as the director of speechwriting for Israel’s delegation to the United Nations, an experience she wrote about in her debut memoir, Speaking for Israel: A Speechwriter Battles Anti-Israel Opinions at the United Nation, and was a senior policy advisor in the Ontario Cabinet Office. A leading thinker on Israel, Zionism and antisemitism, Klompas is often invited to address audiences around the world. Her articles have appeared in The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalNewsweekThe Jerusalem Post and other international publications. 

12. DEBRA MESSING, Actress and Activist – Debra Messing is an Emmy Award-winning actress, producer and social justice and human rights advocate best known for her Emmy and SAG Award-winning role as Grace Adler on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning comedy series Will & Grace. Messing has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Women In Film’s Lucy Award, The Gracie Allen Award and American Comedy Award, among 50 more nominations. In the wake of the atrocities committed on October 7, she has used her platform to be one of the strongest, clearest and most informed voices advocating for Israel, the end of hate and misinformation and the release of the hostages. She spoke at the March for Israel in DC as well as UJA’s United for Israel rally in New York City. Messing traveled to Israel in December 2023 to bear witness to the massacre and meet with hostage families and survivors. She has been traveling around the country speaking and is executive producing the documentary “Primal Fear” about the explosion of antisemitism since October 7

13. LUISA NARINS, Pro-Israel Advocate – Narins is a longtime and highly involved Hadassah member who went on her first Hadassah mission to Israel in 2010. It quickly became clear to her why Israel needed to be a Jewish nation not when she visited the Kotel or Yad Vashem but when she walked through Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda market before Shabbat. The smell of fresh-baked challah in the air, the open casks of colorful, pungent spices and the sight of everyone wishing each other “Shabbat Shalom” as they rushed to finish their shopping all inspired her. Living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, she found a community where it was “normal” to be Jewish and she didn’t have to explain to anyone why she wanted to take off early on Fridays. This inclusive atmosphere illustrated to her why Israel needed to be a free, democratic Jewish country, one which protects Judaism in all its forms while respecting other cultures, ethnicities and religions. Narins views Israel as a home that welcomes all Jews and gives them shelter whenever they need it.  

14. TOVA RICARDO, Poet and Digital Media Creator – An award-winning writer, poet, social media content creator and Jewish community advocate, Ricardo is deeply invested in Israel advocacy, Jewish empowerment and what it means to be black and Jewish. She focuses on these themes on her social media platform, @tovathepoet, as a digital producer with the Tel Aviv Institute and as a founding facilitator of the Zahav Fellowship for Black Jewish Zionists of Zioness, a coalition of Jewish activists and allies who are “unabashedly progressive and unapologetically Zionist.” Ricardo’s wide experience as a writer, journalist, digital media expert and expert in community engagement led to her being named 2015’s Oakland Youth Poet Laureate and receiving an award from the American Jewish Press Association. 

15. MICHELLE ROJAS-TAL, Global Speaker and Advocate – The director of strategic partnerships at Sixpoint MediaRojas-Tal has a well-earned reputation as a trailblazer in helping young Jews navigate complex conversations about Zionism, Jewish identity and Israel engagement. She displayed this talent as a senior shlicha (emissary) to Hillel International, director of the Israel Fellows program of The Jewish Agency for Israel and director of diaspora education for the Israeli advocacy organization StandWithUs. In 2022, Rojas-Tal brought those communication skills to Hadassah, where she spent a year as Zionist Scholar-in-Residence. The Tel Aviv Institute named Rojas-Tal to its 2021-2022 "Jewish 100" list of influential activists, educators and leaders who are fighting hate. In 2013, The Jerusalem Post included her in its lists of the “50 Most Influential Jews” in the world and (one of only six) "Women to Watch" in the Jewish world. 

16. ASHIRA SOLOMON, International Speaker and Advocate – As a host of the talk show The Quad, the Jerusalem-based Solomon“give[s] a voice to everything Israel and Jewish from the unique female perspective” along with fellow hostsDeputy Mayor of Jerusalem Fleur Hassan, journalist Emily Schrader and former Canadian Ambassador to Israel Vivian Bercovici. Solomon advocates for a secure future for Israel, women's health and greater political participation and against antisemitism in the African-American communityRecent activities include MC’ing the fifth annual Reykjavik Global Forum for Women Political Leaders (WPL) in Iceland and moderating the Forbes Africa Woman Summit in South Africa. A recipient of the prestigious David L. Boren Fellowship, Solomon spent a year at Israel’s Institute for National Security Services working on projects about US-Israel relations. She is one of eight women nationwide awarded the Congressional Running Start Star Fellowship Award. 

17. SAMAMTHA VON ENDE, Social Innovator and Constitutional Scholar – Von Ende is a scholar, advocate, educator and strategic visionary who has worked in legal education, international development and as an international development consultant on constitutional processes and diplomatic affairs. Her unique interdisciplinary background marries her expertise in academia, diplomacy, law and constitutional design with the most pressing issues facing the Jewish people. A recognized expert and frequent speaker on modern antisemitism, Zionism and the Israeli political system, von Ende takes pride in her work with Hadassah, Israel Policy Forum, Limmud, Birthright Israel and directing academic affairs for the Consulate of Israel to the Southeast. Home is Kansas City (with her wife, Jewish community leader Gavriela Geller), where she advises and volunteers with several local organizations and initiatives, including the Johnson County Government’s DEI Coalition, the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Public Safety Coalition and the Jewish Community Relations Bureau/AJC. 

18. GILA ZARBIV, Certified Nurse Midwife – Zarbiv is a midwife with a social media presence who made aliyah in 2007, fulfilling her lifelong dream of contributing to Israel's future. In addition to being a clinician at the Hadassah Medical Organization, Hadassah’s Jerusalem medical center, Zarbiv is an educator and researcher who lectures internationally on the complexities of life, birth and medicine in Israel, and is widely published on maternal and neonatal health. She is also a policymaker who represents Israel in the International Confederation of Midwives, sits on the executive board and chairs the International Relations Committee of the Israel Midwives Association and is a fellow at the Israel Implementation Science and Policy Engagement Centre (IS-PEC).  

About Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America:

Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With nearly 300,000 members, donors and supporters, Hadassah brings women together to effect change on such critical issues as ensuring Israel’s security, combating antisemitism and promoting women’s health care. Through its Jerusalem-based hospital system, the Hadassah Medical Organization, Hadassah helps support exemplary care for more than 1 million people every year as well as world-renowned medical research. Hadassah’s hospitals serve without regard to race, religion or nationality and in 2005 earned a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for building bridges to peace through medicine. Hadassah also supports two youth villages that set at-risk youth in Israel on the path to a successful future. Visit or follow Hadassah on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Threads and X.