18 Under 18 Honorees

Check Out Last Year's Recognition Book!

Abby Zucker

Abby Zucker

Abby is a player on Highland Park High School's varsity basketball and softball teams, a president of The French Club, and a 5-year Engineering student as part of Project Lead the Way. Outside of school, Abby has volunteered and worked for Keshet for 6 years giving support to creating a more inclusive Jewish community. She is committed to providing opportunities for all people to be involved. Abby is also active within BBYO where she has helped lead programs, events, and Shabbat services as part of the organization’s mission to inspire teens.

Dylan Grossmann

Dylan Grossmann

Dylan is a junior at Highland Park High School. She is involved with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Coalition Z, Model United Nations, and Kindness Club. She started her own charity, Comfort Ahead, to help everyone achieve the good sleep they deserve. Dylan is committed to helping people reach their dreams through sleep. Dylan loves the humanities and has her own blog "theyoungadult" where she talks about the trials and tribulations of being a modern young adult. She practices yoga daily and values her family and friendships very much. This summer she will be a counselor at Camp Chippewa where she has spent 7 summers. She hopes to continue to make a difference in the Jewish Community.

Eliana Halivni

Eliana Halivni

Eliana is a junior at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School. She is a three sport athlete with a sweet spot for Red Velvet nothing bundt cakes. She is a proud Ramah Amitei Fellow, as well as a “yom sport” champion. She is a teen leader at the American Jewish Committee and is in president of the Interfaith Youth Corp at her school. She is a participant in the ACLU surveys, where she hopes to work one day.

Ella Rubinstein

Ella Rubinstein

Ella is a senior at Glenbrook North High School where she is a co-president of Jewish Student Connection club, a speech team competitor, executive board member, and varsity mentor, as well as a cross country runner. Outside of school, Ella is currently serving as the regional vice president of communications for her BBYO region and has been very involved with BBYO throughout highschool. She is also a peer mentor at Special Gifts Theater and a StandWithUs Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern.

Hannah Goldwin

Hannah Goldwin

Hannah is a busy senior at Walter Payton College Prep. She co-founded Chicago organization Jewish Teens for Biden to engage in teens in the 2020 election. She is the Vice President of Programming (S'ganit) for the Great Midwest Region of BBYO as well as the leader of her school's Jewish Student Connection and co-founder of Muslim Jewish Alliance. She is a former Diller Teen Fellow and JUF RTI member. In her free time she plays tennis, speed-walks, and hangs out with friends.

Hannah Toppel

Hannah Toppel

Hannah is a part of Lane Tech's Jewish Student Connections leadership team and a part of the Alpha STEM program at her school. She has volunteered with Shalom Corps as well as TOV Teens. She has also participated in BBYO. Hannah went to Camp Chi for seven years. Her hobbies consist of swimming and skiing. She tutors with Chicago Teen mentors. Hannah just completed a semester with Alexander Muss High School in Israel and was awarded their National Impact Fellowship, a volunteer and leadership based scholarship.

Helen Lerner

Helen Lerner

Helen is a senior at New Trier High School, where they participate in the school political journal. They are the co-founder and youth president of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs’ Queer Youth Caucus and is also a member of the Youth Organizing Caucus. They are an assistant teacher for the kindergarten class at their synagogue and an advocate of Jewish leftist values.

Ilan Blumenthal

Ilan Blumenthal

Inspired by a friend and former Ida Crown Jewish Academy student, Ilan joined the club Erika's Lighthouse Mental Health Awareness when he started at ICJA. He became intimately involved in the club and has been pivotal in getting speakers for and speaking at events to promote mental health awareness. Ilan is a member of NCSY's Midwest chapter board and VP of education for NSCY's regional board. Ilan is an umpire for little league baseball, plays in the Upward's basketball league, learns lifesaving skills with Hugo's Heroes, and learns computer programming on his own. Outside of school, you can find him on the baseball field, a passion that began as soon as he could swing a bat! He has played in Skokie Youth baseball since age six and joined the ICJA Aces baseball team his freshman year as a first baseman.

Ilana Friedel

Ilana Friedel

Ilana is a junior from Northfield, Illinois. She currently serves as the Social Action/Tikkun Olam Vice President for the Chicagoland Region of USY. When she is not doing USY she throws shot put and discus for her school's track and field team. She also plays three instruments: guitar, ukulele, and French horn. Her favorite thing to do is go on long drives with friends, while they listen to music and talk. Ilana is honored to be recognized as an 18 under 18 recipient and can’t wait to help make a greater impact in her community!

Jacob Edley

Jacob Edley

Jacob is a junior at Stevenson High School. He has been a madrich at Temple Chai for the past 4 years and has been a Hebrew tutor for dozens of students preparing for their B’nei Mitzvah. He has also been involved in Temple Chai’s Social Action Committee, helping plan and execute the annual Mitzvah Day service event. Jacob plays clarinet in his high school's Honor Band and Clarinet Ensemble, and is a student leader in the marching band. In his spare time, he loves programming and playing interactive card games.

Jordan Leib

Jordan Leib

Jordan is a junior at Lincoln Park High School in the International Baccalaureate program. She is co-president of her school’s Jewish Student Connection club, an active participant in the Hispanic Heritage club to expand her knowledge and appreciation for a multi-cultural society, and plays on her school’s varsity lacrosse team. Jordan serves on the executive board of Open-Hearts, a new program designed to teach teenagers about anti-semitism, as well as on her synagogue’s Teen Engagement Force. Jordan dances on an elite hip-hop team and has volunteered and worked for Keshet for five years.

Josie Stahl

Josie Stahl

Josie is very involved with community service, volunteering with Lakeview Pantry for over five years. She is a part of BBYO and recently served as her chapter executive board Sh’licha (Vice President of Judaics and Social Action). Josie is also a Diller Teen Fellow where she has had the opportunity to build leadership skills on an international scale, and she has been going to OSRUI for six summers. She is passionate about helping her community and is always looking for opportunities to do so.

Kayla Kupietzky

Kayla Kupietzky

Kayla, a junior at Ida Crown Jewish Academy, is committed to Chesed and making a difference in her community. Kayla is the co-captain of her school’s student first responder team, Hugo’s Heroes; she is on the leadership board for ICJA’s Israel Advocacy club; and is the co-president of her school’s charity club, Interact-HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere). She is also a group leader for Student to Student, a peer education program, and is on the student government executive board. Kayla is an editor and writer for her school’s newspaper and literary magazine. Outside of school, Kayla is a StandWithUs Leventhal intern and a member of the Voices Alumni Board, Chicago Yachad Board, and Illinois Holocaust Museum Teen Leadership Board. Kayla is the founder of Kayla’s Craft Closet (KCC), a nonprofit with the goal of making arts and crafts accessible to all youth despite their socioeconomic status. As a part of KCC, Kayla delivers craft closets to youth groups with the purpose of promoting creativity and emotional expression.

Laura Bellows

Laura Bellows

Laura is a senior at Ida Crown Jewish Academy. She involved in programs and clubs in her school as well as the greater Chicago community. She plays soccer and basketball for her school’s teams, and is involved in the Israel Advocacy Club, Human Rights Club, and Ida Crown Girls Club. She is also a leader in the Student to Student program in which she represents on the Jewish Teens Alliance of Chicago leadership board.

Maxwell Hyman

Maxwell Hyman

Max is the Junior Captain of his school's congressional debate team in addition to holding leadership roles in the Model United Nations team, the Scholastic Bowl team, and the school newspaper. He is a varsity golfer and a volunteer math tutor, but his true passion lies in stirring conversations. He founded Teens for Peace in the Middle East to interview teenagers caught in the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Max also founded Teens for Peace Model United Nations, which has drawn hundreds of teens from over 30 countries to debate teen-specific issues. He has also participated in and held leadership roles in AJC's Leaders for Tomorrow as well as in Diller Teen Fellows, where Max was Social Media Coordinator and created a curriculum to educate peers about the conflict.

Maya Semmelman

Maya Semmelman

Maya participates in numerous clubs at Buffalo Grove High School; she is President of her class, is a mentor to the freshman student body, co-leads the Jewish Student Connection club, and is an active member in her school's competitive a cappella program, and much more. In addition, Maya was a former Diller Teen Fellow, where she gained more vital leadership skills and excellent connections to her Jewish community. Maya has become a mental health advocate throughout high school, where she carried her skills over to becoming a teen ambassador for Gabriel's Light, a non-profit bullying and suicide prevention organization. In addition, she was a No Shame on U teen ambassador, where she received the proper tools to become the founder of her suicide awareness and prevention magazine, "Tomorrow Needs U."

Shimon Herman

Shimon Herman

Shimon Herman is a senior at Fasman Yeshiva High School. Shimon is extremely involved with his school as the Director of Chesed, Editor in Chief of the student newspaper, Vice President of the Chess Club, and serves on the yearbook committee. This year Shimon initiated the Big Brother program partnering with Chai lifeline where chronically ill children are paired with high school students. Outside of school, he is the head referee for a community youth football league and a counselor at the JCC.

Yanira Kaplan

Yanira Kaplan

Yanira is the founder of Stop Sex Trafficking Now, a not-for-profit dedicated to educating teens and young adults on the issue of sex trafficking and supporting programs involving outreach to survivors. She completed Brandeis University’s Genesis Jewish Leadership Pre-College program and was a Diller Teen Fellow (2019-20). Yanira was a 2020-21 intern at the Research Training Internship, and she is thrilled to be an RTI Junior Counselor for the 2021-22 cohort. Finally, she has been taking Hebrew outside of school since sophomore year and frequently reads Torah at Anshe Emet.