Meet the Trip Staff

Meet Your Staff


Ariel Stern

Ariel Stern

Where are you from? Atlanta, Georgia

Where do you currently live? Chicago, Illinois

What do you do for a living? I work for Cardinal Health! I am in a 3 year EMERGE Supply Chain rotational program. In April I rotated into my second-year role as a supervisor for 21 employees in the mid-west distribution center working on efficiency, directing work flow, and creating a culture of operational excellence.

What is your favorite place in Israel? Shuk HaCarmel! During my semester studying abroad and especially during my internship (luckily it was walking distance from the shuk!!), I was able to spend lots of time and eat many lunches here!!

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Rugullah, especially the ones from the Marzipan Bakery!!

What is a fun fact about yourself? I love to play tennis!!

What is your best advice to future participants? Enjoy every minute of the trip, it will go by really fast!! Be open to the different people and places that you will encounter on the trip!


Rachel Siegal

Rachel Siegal

Where are you from? Glenview, IL (north suburbs of Chicago)

Where do you currently live? River North, Chicago  

What do you do for a living? Wedding and meeting planning

What is your favorite place in Israel? The salad trail.

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Schnitzel in a Pita!!!

What is a fun fact about yourself? I’ve been to Israel 12 times, but my first time was when I was 21 and now have been 11 more times in 12 years!!!

What is your best advice to future Birthright participants? Take it all in! Have a positive attitude, meet new people and have fun!


David Goldmeier

David Goldmeier

Where are you from? Lincolnwood, Illinois

Where do you currently live? Lincolnwood, Illinois

What do you do for a living? I currently work as a teaching assistant for Keshet but I will be starting Medical School in Israel this coming August!

What is your favorite place in Israel? Yad VaShem, hands down. Such a truly meaningful place to visit in Israel.

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food?Shawarma on a Lafah ... emphasis on the Lafah.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I know how to make sushi!

What is your best advice to future participants? Bring lots of water and an open mind.


Carol Guzman

Carol Guzman

Where are you from? Best city in the world, Chicago

Where do you currently live? Chicago

What do you do for a living? Run awesome programming for the young adult Jewish community of Chicago.

What is your favorite place in Israel? Hummus HaCarmel

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Kachapuri, technically it is Georgian but I can't want to eat it again in Jerusalem.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I am a Hispanic Jew; my parents are from Guatemala.

What is your best advice to future participants? Birthright flies by, take time to reflect every day!


Lauren Silverman

Lauren Silverman

Where are you from? Dix Hills, New York 

Where do you currently live? Lincoln Park, Chicago

What do you do for a living? I work for the Jewish United Fund as the Young Adult Engagement Associate. I connect Birthright Israel alumni to the Chicago Jewish community when they return to Chicago through social programs, volunteer opportunities and Jewish and Israeli celebrations. I also plan programs for recent college graduates and young professionals living in the suburbs. 

What is your favorite place in Israel? I love spending time in the Negev. The landscape is so unlike anything I’m used to back home, and it’s truly the time of the trip where I feel most peaceful. There’s nothing quite like star gazing in the desert!

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Matzah ball soup, always. 

What is a fun fact about yourself? I have synesthesia, and I see all of my letters and numbers in particular colors!

What is your best advice to future participants? Take advantage of everything. This trip can be incredibly busy, and often tiring, but it is such a spectacular experience. Stare out the window during the bus rides, talk to someone new, get to know the Israelis. This is your Birthright-make the most of it! Also, always bring an extra pair of socks!

Genna Kahn

Genna Kahn

Where are you from? Deerfield, IL

Where do you currently live? Old Town in Chicago, IL

What do you do for a living? I work for the Jewish United Fund as the PJ Library Chicago program associate.  I plan events and create programs for families with young children in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. 

What is your favorite place in Israel? Very hard to pick just one place, but I love a good beach day in Tel Aviv.

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Shawarma or matzah ball soup, yum! 

What is a fun fact about yourself? I have a twin sister!

What is your best advice to future participants? My best advice for future participants is to take time each day to appreciate this once in a lifetime experience! Though at times the trip may be exhausting, be sure to find the positive aspects of each moment and enjoy.

Jeremy Levin

Jeremy Levin

Where are you from? Highland Park, IL

Where do you currently live? Lakeview

What do you do for a living? Strategy Analyst, Avant

What is your favorite place in Israel? Montefiore Windmill just outside of the Old City.

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Anything out of the kitchen at Azura in Machane Yehuda!

What is a fun fact about yourself? Smucker's Natural Chunky Peanut Butter is my favorite, and 10 days in Israel without peanut butter is a challenge.

What is your best advice to future participants?  1) Pack light, 2) come ready to disconnect and connect, and 3) bring electrolyte tablets (i.e. Nuun, great for a quick mid-hike pick me up when you're dehydrated).


Sarah Langer

Sarah Langer

Where are you from? I was born in South Bend, Indiana, but I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Where do you currently live?  I have spent the last few months traveling the world. Upon returning from Israel, I will be settling back in Chicago.

What do you do for a living? Portfolio management for healthcare real estate.

What is your favorite place in Israel? Tel Aviv - it’s the best of all worlds.

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Real Israeli hummus

What is a fun fact about yourself? I am a fourth-generation Wisconsin Badger!

What is your best advice to future participants?  Have fun and don’t forget to take a moment to reflect on your experience.


Leah Steinberg

Leah Steinberg

Where are you from? I am from Boston! :)

Where do you currently live? Chicago!

What do you do for a living? I am a grad student getting my MSW.

What is your favorite place in Israel? My favorite place in Israel is Haifa.

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? My favorite Jewish food is homemade challah.

What is a fun fact about yourself? I am a dog walker in my spare time!

What is your best advice to future participants? Just enjoy the experience and live in the moment!


Lucy Orenstein

Lucy Orenstein

Where are you from? Minnetonka, Minnesota

Where do you currently live? Chicago, Illinois (Lakeview)

What do you do for a living? I work at the Jewish United Fund in the Missions department and help send community members on Missions to Israel to learn more about the work JUF does around the world.

What is your favorite place in Israel? The Dead Sea

What is your favorite Israeli (Mediterranean) or Jewish food? Hummus with everything!

What is a fun fact about yourself? I once tried to beat the world record for pogo stick jumping ... I lasted one hour!

What is your best advice to future participants? Meet new people, be in the moment, and have fun!


Other JUF Events

Newish and Jewish Thursday, September 20, 2018 5:30 PM More info
2018 Fall LEADS Wednesday, September 26, 2018 7:00 PM More info
Viewing of ‘Indecent’ with YLD Pride & Mishkan Chicago Tuesday, October 16, 2018 5:30 PM More info
Jewish Innovators, Visionaries & Entrepreneurs event Tuesday, November 13, 2018 6:30 PM More info
YLD/ TIP End of Year Phonthon Tuesday, November 27, 2018 5:30 PM More info