Springboard Blog

Springboard Blog

Meet Your Honorees: AJ Katzenstein, Mindy Kramer, and Isaac Freedman

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Meet AJ Katzenstein

AJ Katzenstein

I am a Senior at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. I love sports and I love to have fun. I am fortunate enough to be serving as the Great Midwest Region's (Illinois) current Regional President for my Jewish youth group, BBYO. I am passionate about every individual finding their passion and their purpose, as well as empowering those around you to make a difference to their communities and to those around them. I live by my three L's: Learn, Laugh, and Love. I'd like to thank JCC Camp Chi and BBYO for all that they have given me throughout the years. I give special thanks to Doug Winkelstein, Bridget Rundquist, Brett Musick, and Joelle Kelenson for working hard and being incredible. I'd also like to thank my grandparents, my parents, Michael and Michelle, and my brother Grant for always believing in me and supporting me. 

Something most people don’t know about me is... that my favorite thing in the world to do is to learn something new. 

Being Jewish is... amazing and a lot more fun than many others believe it to be. 

How do you give back? I give back in any way that I can, sometimes through donations and other times through time. Giving people your time is something that I believe is extremely important.  


Meet Mindy Kramer 

Minday Kramer

My name is Mindy Kramer. I am 16 and a Sophomore at Grayslake North High School. At school, I am a three-season athlete in which I compete in tennis, basketball, and track. Also, I am a proud member of Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I teach on Sundays, and am involved in my temple’s youth group. This year, I will be volunteering at Camp CAR which takes place at OSRUI, which is where I’ve been a camper for the past 6 summers. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, playing with my dog, Zeus, and being active outdoors. I would like to use this opportunity to thank my family for all the encouragement they have given me throughout my life. I would not be the leader I am today without them. 

Something most people don’t know about me is... that I love to watch Jeopardy in my free time.  

Being Jewish is... an important aspect of my life because it has helped me learn about myself and create bonds that will last forever.  

How do you give back? I give back by putting my time towards organizations that have helped me in the past, and by donating money to causes that I care about.  


Meet Isaac Freedman 

Isaac Freedman

In the fall, I will be attending Northwestern University in the pre-med track. Thank you to my father, Dr. Lee Freedman, for teaching me to song lead and inspiring both the Jewish and school work I do. At NSCI, I serve as the youth group president and teach K-6 music and 5/6th Hebrew. I would not be the person I am today without the constant love, encouragement, and support from my mother. Thank you for being there for me and picking me up when I am down. I strive to be like my sisters, Sadie and Tilly. Thank you to my greatest teacher, mentor, and friend, Cantor David Goldstein. Thank you to Rabbis Wendi Geffen, Lisa Greene, and Ryan Daniels. Also, thanks to Neil Rigler and Alan Goodis, for enabling the work that I do, being role models, and always lending an ear. 

Something most people don’t know about me is... I know everything there is to know about the Sears (Willis) Tower: There are about 120,000 light fixtures and 80 miles of elevator cable- the fastest elevator moves at 1,600 ft/min etc. I promise I didn't just google that :) 

Being Jewish is... the foundation of my personality and an opportunity to learn, grow, sing, laugh, and pray in a loving community. 

How do you give back? I began volunteering at my temple in elementary school. In addition to organizing and participating in social action projects through the youth group, I give back to the Jewish community through my music. I offer a spiritual and inclusive environment through music and prayer.  


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