StandWithUs names local intern, fellows


StandWithUs, an international, non-partisan education organization that supports Israel and fights antisemitism, has announced the local students participating in its high school and campus programs in the 2022-23 school year.

The StandWithUs 2022-23 Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern is Eitan Pessin, a junior at Classical High School, in Providence.

The 2022-23 Emerson Fellows are Brown University sophomore Brooke Verschleiser and Bryant University sophomore Michael Wilkes.

As in years past, the local student leaders join 150 students from North America who were selected for each of the two programs.

Created in 2012, the StandWithUs Kenneth Leventhal High School Internship selects and trains student leaders from high schools throughout the United States and Canada to educate about Israel at their schools and to combat antisemitism.

During the two-semester program, the Leventhal interns, who are juniors and seniors, identify the educational needs at their schools as they pertain to Israel and to antisemitism, whether they are rooted in misinformation, ignorance or outright hatred. Then, working with their StandWithUs regional high school managers, they develop a strategy to meet those needs through relevant and practical educational programming.

Founded in 2007, the year-long Emerson Fellowship is a prestigious program that trains, educates and empowers student leaders on college campuses around the world.

Chosen from key campuses, Emerson Fellows engage and inspire their peers through impactful educational events, campaigns and discussions about Israel. These fellows are also extensively trained on how to navigate antisemitic activity on campus, and how to mobilize and confront these issues strategically and effectively.

Throughout their experience, Emerson Fellows are plugged into a global community of student leaders, where they can exchange ideas, share best practices and support one another.

Students in both programs attended their conferences in August, preparing them for the school year. They learned how to identify and combat anti-Israel campaigns, including utilizing the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department and Center for Combating Antisemitism.

They also explored the history of Israel, reviewed the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and learned leadership skills and how to have meaningful conversations about Israel.  They left energized and confident, with ideas for programming.  Many reported having experienced antisemitic incidents, and that they now feel better prepared to effectively respond.

The students will also participate in a second StandWithUs conference, “Israel in Focus,” March 2-5 in Los Angeles.

Worcester State University 2022 graduate and Commonwealth Honors Scholar Karen Shalev, who received summa cum laude honors for her 4.0 GPA, continues as the StandWithUs New England campus regional manager. Shalev is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in communication at Clark University.

Maya Weiser is the new StandWithUs high school regional manager for New England.  Raised in Tel Mond, in central Israel, Weiser has been involved in the Tzofim movement, which holds Zionism as a core moral value.

“Each year, I remain impressed with the enthusiasm and creativity of our awesome Rhode Island high school and college student leaders. They learn from previous participants in our programs and nominate candidates for the coming year,” said Avi Posnick, regional director of StandWithUs Northeast & New England.

“As antisemitism continues to rise, including in Providence, these students – already leaders in their schools and communities – are fully prepared to confront these challenges while also organizing programming that shares the beauty, accomplishments and experience of Israel.”

Submitted by StandWithUs