A member of the JCYF Class of 2015, Stephanie Woloshin was the recipient of the 2017 JCYF Distinguished Alumni Award. The senior at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. grew up in Yardley, Pa., graduated from Pennsbury High School and earned a teaching degree in Jewish Studies from Gratz College. She is majoring in communications and emerging media and minoring in public relations. Currently she is teaching Hebrew school in Boca Raton, is interested in advocacy and lobbying, and loves giving speeches.
She was drawn to JCYF, she said, because it “connected philanthropy with exploring Jewish identity.”
JCYF turned out to be a real learning experience for Woloshin. “I was really able to have these very intellectual, theological conversations that I never had anywhere else,” she said.
The diversity she found was also important, with peers from different towns in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, from private and public schools, and from diverse Jewish religious observance. “It gave me an understanding of other people and how they have different ways of seeing the world.”
But everyone shared a Jewish connection as well as an interest in “giving back” philanthropically.” As a result, she said, “I learned how to debate with people in a diplomatic manner and to really advocate for what I believed in.”
JCYF sparked Woloshin’s interest in Israel as well as her affiliation with the Zionist Organization of America, including lobbying on Capitol Hill against the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran. Her first year in college she founded Students Supporting Israel, the aim of which is “to combat anti-Israel sentiments and educate students regarding how Israel is the beacon of hope in the Middle East,” she said. “Unfortunately, people hear all this propaganda. People often misrepresent Israel and don’t know factually what Israel is about, so we aim to educate students.”
Woloshin is vice president of Hillel at Lynn, and she also serves on the board of the Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach. Noting similarities between her Hillel and JCYF experiences, she said, “Just like in JCYF you have to understand that students are coming from different backgrounds and different schools, and everyone has their own unique perspective because of these key differences.
“But we all have the same goal — to create continuity among Jewish students in south Florida.”