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Meet the 2015 iEngage Summer Interns

The 2015 Shalom Hartman Institute iEngage Summer Internship program is under way with 13 participants. The program brings together a select group of undergraduate students to live and work in Jerusalem

The 2015 Shalom Hartman Institute iEngage Summer Internship program is under way with 13 participants. The program brings together a select group of undergraduate students to live and work in Jerusalem.

During their internship, the students will have the opportunity to work as a research assistant for a member of the iEngage faculty, or as a professional intern in one of three departments: Development and Fundraising; Marketing, Communications, and Social Media; or Nonprofit Management and Program Administration.



Daniel Atwood is a recent graduate of Yeshiva University’s Honors Program, where he pursued a degree in Psychology and Jewish Studies (Medieval). On campus, Daniel was the Managing Editor and Senior Opinion Editor for the YU undergraduate newspaper, The Commentator.

This year, Daniel will study at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah where he plans to obtain a rabbinical degree. During his free time, Daniel enjoys reading Jewish texts and interacting with people from diverse Jewish backgrounds.


Jason Avigan is a rising sophomore at Columbia University, where he is majoring in Philosophy. Jason is also considering committing to a pre-med track. Before entering college, he spent a gap year at Yeshivat Orayta in the Old City of Jerusalem. During his Torah learning there, he became particularly interested in German Jewish philosophy.

During the year, Jason is the director of engagement for the partnership Minyan, Lalekhet, at Columbia/Barnard’s Hillel. Jason volunteers in Harlem teaching conflict-resolution skills. Recently, Jason has learned how to play squash, and he is looking forward to developing this hobby.


Leora Balinsky, a native of Evanston, Ilinois, recently finished her second gap year studying at Midgal Oz, a Beit Midrash for Women in Gush Etzion. There, she spent most of her time studying Talmud and exploring Israeli spirituality.

in the fall, Leora will begin studying philosophy, Arabic, and biology at Barnard College, where she hopes to become involved in the Jewish community and interfaith groups on campus. Leora is also excited to explore her love of free-movement dance.


Evan Charney is a rising sophomore at University of Michigan. He is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and participated in the Kivunim Gap-Year program, based in Jerusalem. Evan is an active writer for the Michigan Journal of International Affairs and involved in student government.

He also is the programing chair of an Israel group, I-Lead, which provides an engaging environment where thought-provoking conversations and education take place regarding Israel. Back at home, one could find Evan playing soccer, fishing in the pond behind his grandparents’ house, or possibly doing some yoga. 


Rivka Cohen is a junior at Brandeis University, majoring in Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies and Near Eastern & Judaic Studies, with a minor in Politics. Rivka is excited to be working at Shalom Hartman Institute.

Before arriving at SHI, Rivka participated in the Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Program. During this program she met various leaders, activists, and entrepreneurs in various Middle Eastern countries.

She is Co-Executive Coordinator of Brandeis Visions for Israel in an Evolving World (bVIEW), fostering innovative and future-oriented dialogue about Israel on campus. Rivka previously served as a Gabbai and Education Coordinator for the Brandeis Orthodox Organization. Prior to her matriculation to Brandeis, Rivka spent a year studying at Migdal Oz, while completing a program in Israel-Arab Studies at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. In addition to her love of Middle Eastern studies, Rivka enjoys singing and musical theater.


Emily Goldberg is a rising junior at Muhlenberg College majoring in Religion Studies and double minor in Jewish Studies and Anthropology, focusing on the ever-evolving Jewish-Christian relationship.

Emily is involved in Muhlenberg’s Interfaith Leadership Council, Interfaith Youth Core’s National Leadership Team, and is a research intern for the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding, where she compiles rabbinic resources for the Christian preaching lectionary and for the Jewish Annotated New Testament.

Emily channels her love of dialogue through pastoral volunteering, sitting alongside residents in the dementia and Alzheimer’s units at the Phoebe Home and leading ecumenical text studies at both the Lehigh County jail and a maximum security state prison. An aspiring rabbi, Emily loves pluralism and radical conversations; she is humbled to be joining the Hartman community this summer.


Leeza Hirt is a rising sophomore at Columbia University studying History and Religion. Originally from Lawrence, New York, she spent a year of immersive Torah study at Migdal Oz in Israel before entering college.

At Columbia, Leeza is an opinion writer for the Columbia Daily Spectator and is on the editorial board of The Current: A Journal of Politics, Culture, and Jewish Affairs. She is the programing chairwoman of Aryeh: Columbia Students for Israel, and is involved in Hillel in multiple capacities.

She is also pre-med, and spends a lot of her time volunteering at hospitals and participating in interdisciplinary medical humanities research projects. Leeza has been playing piano since she was five years old and still keeps up with this ambitious skill.


Albert Kohn is a native of Lower Merion, a Philadelphia suburb. After spending two years studying at Yeshivat Orayta in Jerusalem, Albert has just completed his first year in the joint program between Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

At university, Albert is planning to major in Religion and Jewish Thought with concentrations in Philosophy and Talmud. Albert spends a lot of the JTS library, while researching Jewish and Christian interpretations of transgenerational punishment. Albert is looking forward to being back in Israel and to be studying at the Hartman Institute.


Mikey Kosowski is a rising senior at Bingham University, majoring in Art History and Eastern European Studies, and minoring in Global Studies. Mikey is passionate about languages, current events and museums. Currently, he is working on becoming fluent in Russian, and he has some knowledge of French and Hebrew. He is interested in the history of Eastern European Jews.

When Mikey returns to New York in August, he will prospectively be working with the Museum of Jewish Heritage to curate an exhibition on the revival of Jewish life in modern day Germany and Poland. Mikey plans to attend law school, focusing on international relations and diplomacy.


David Quintas is an incoming sophomore at Columbia University, planning to double major in Political Science and Film Studies. Before starting college, David spent a gap year studying at Yeshivat Orayta in Jerusalem. He was recently elected as Vice President of Communications of Columbia/Barnard Hillel’s Student Executive Board. He also writes for the undergraduate film journal at his school.

Before arriving at Shalom Hartman Institute, David was an intern for Harlem Stage, where he conducted research into the writer James Baldwin. David enjoys running and watching Netflix during his free time. David is excited to be Shalom Hartman Institute’s iEngage Internship this summer.


Elliot Salinger is a rising junior at Princeton University, studying Philosophy. A graduate of Maimonides School in Brookline, Massachusetts, Elliot studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion prior to entering Princeton.

Elliot has twice been a fellow at the Center for Modern Torah Leadership’s Summer Beit Midrash and currently serves as Education Chair on the board of Yavneh, Princeton’s Orthodox community. Also at Princeton, Elliot is a fellow of the Human Values Forum and co-founder of Theology Table, a discussion group for topics in the philosophy of religion.

Elliot’s academic interests include all areas of analytic philosophy, as well as the history of philosophy, political theory, and Jewish law and thought. Elliot is known for his witty puns and wild sense of humor.


Rebeccah Stromberg spent the last year teaching English in Rehovot, Israel. She is originally from Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Chicago in 2014 with a double degree in English Literature and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

During her time at Chicago she worked as a jU Chicago community building intern and founded a Shabbat Supper Club, where she hosted Shabbat dinner parties at her apartment. Rebeccah enjoys all things related to cooking and baking, and pursues creative writing in her spare time.


Sami Viterbi is a rising junior at University of Southern California, where she majored in International Relations. Last summer she interned as a Diamond Summer Intern for AIPAC. This coming school year, Sami will be President of Trojans for Israel, a politically oriented pro-Israel organization at USC, working to educate leaders both on campus and on the congressional level. She is also an active member of USC Hillel board.

During Sami’s free time, she enjoys riding horses, hanging out with her sisters and planning her next trip to Israel. Sami is looking forward to being at Shalom Hartman Institute this summer and is looking forward to enhance her skill-set here.

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