The wait is over! Today Jewish News, in association with the Jewish Leadership Council, reveals 18 individuals under the age of 18 set to define the direction and dynamism of Jewish life in Britain.
The 18, who our esteemed panel of judges decided not to rank, include future football star Macey Bannerman-Lloyd, 14, who recently played her first international match for England Under-15s, star musician Charlie Berman, 17, who is already proficient in seven instruments, and entrepreneurial talent Ruben Persey, 15, founder of balloon décor company Ballooneroo.
Other winners have been recognised for their work on disability, such as 18-year-old Elisheva Landau-Pope who, since being diagnosed with the neurological condition CMT, has worked tirelessly to improve accessibility at Jewish events.
Amanda Mond, 17, was similarly recognised for her resolve in overcoming a life-threatening disease and becoming an influential speaker.
The communal and lay leaders of the future have been highlighted, including 17-year-old Evie Leibling-Blitz who, as head of mentoring for Alyth Synagogue, already runs a 20-strong leadership team, Lucy Ross, 17, who has played a pivotal role in securing FZY’s presence in Leeds, and climate activist Noga Levy-Rapoport, the 17-year-old leader of the UK Student Climate Network.
- Voice of the Jewish News – Schep nachas at young mensches!
Andrew Gilbert, chair of the judging panel, said: “These 18 are an inspiration. To hear about incredible young people doing unbelievable things was amazing, and we had the unenviable challenge of just picking 18. I hope their stories will inspire readers as much as they did our panel.”
Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, added: “ I have long felt that leaders should be nurtured from any age.
“This list displays the breadth of talent and promising leadership building up among the younger members of our community.”
Max Aaron Morris, 15
For the first year of secondary school, Max felt too self-conscious to use his wheelchair, hiding the pain he felt walking.
Now the 15-year-old with pachyonychia congenita, a rare skin disease, is a proud disabilities champion, having successfully promoted Visibility for Disability week for the past three years.
Activities include talks, inclusive sports events and a sign-language workshop. Praised as “engaging, optimistic and enthusiastic”, Max has empowered students and teachers to talk about their own disabilities and strive for better acceptance within JFS and wider society.
Noga Levy-Rapoport, 17
Few young people are driven by environmental activism as much as aspiring opera singer Noga. As leader of the UK Student Climate Network, a growing youth protest movement, the 17-year-old was a core organiser of the London strikes.
In one year, Noga went from turning up to demonstrations to becoming one of The Guardian’s youth climate strike special writers, with her presence part of a rising tide pushing for climate action through a Green New Deal.
She is determined to mobilise the community into the forefront of green activism and lifestyle change.
Quincy Barrett, 16
The youngest member of the Manchester Jewish Representative Council, a madrich at Salford Bnei Akiva and a CTeen Manchester leader, the 16-year-old is emerging as a successful Jewish educator.
He regularly records the Jewish Telegraph for the visually impaired, and often visits residents at Heathlands care home on Shabbat to help them pray.
As co-chair of his school’s JSoc, Quincy helped to install a succah on site for the first time in the school’s history.
He is also a hospital radio station presenter, scout leader and school rowing course volunteer.
Keshet Dor, 16
As head girl of Yavneh College, Keshet is driven by her determination to “make the lives of others better”.
Aged just 12, Keshet started volunteering weekly with Elias, a disabled young person she was paired with through Kisharon’s ‘buddy scheme’.
Over the past six years, the pair have become close friends, with Keshet visiting Elias every Shabbat to read and play for an hour. Keshet is also the youngest recipient of a YOPEY award, which recognises teenagers “who are positive role models” after marking her batmitzvah by donating £300 to buy software helping members of Kisharon communicate.
Amelia Kay, 14
Praised as a “consistently kind, caring and giving young lady”, Amelia is always first to volunteer and a passionate fundraiser for causes close to her heart.
The 14-year-old JFS student is a leading advocate for anti-bullying and digital safety programmes, running school assemblies to raise awareness, and is currently setting up her own charity to combat bullying.
Amelia also fundraises for a charity that offers horse riding to disabled children, which has included undertaking a sponsored simulated horse ride.
She has sung in charity fundraising concerts at school and volunteers weekly with the school nurse. Her extremely friendly and welcoming nature, coupled with the constant smile on her face, makes her a leading figure in social action.
Charlie Berman, 17
Charlie is an exceptionally gifted musician, being fully proficient in seven instruments including the piano, drums, guitar and the harmonica.
The 17-year-old has performed at Band on the Wall, an iconic club in Manchester, and even shared a stage with the bass guitarist who is currently touring with Queen. Applauded for the unselfish use of his “incredible skills”, Charlie frequently gives up his free time to perform at a nursing home that cares for individuals with dementia.
Watching people who struggle to communicate recite the lyrics of old songs almost flawlessly is what drives Charlie to continue sharing his music. This talented young man plans to pursue a career in medicine following a gap year in Israel with FZY.
Coleiv Swabel, 15
Coleiv has demonstrated a profound understanding of how 3D printing can revolutionise the lives of disabled people.
Aged just 14, he started a school club to encourage younger students to understand the creative process, and has become heavily involved in e-NABLE, an online global community of ‘Digital Humanitarian’ volunteers from all over the world who use their 3D printers to make low-cost prosthetic upper limb devices for children and adults in need.
Each prosthetic is custom sized, requiring exceptionally high production skills.
Coleiv’s “inquisitive nature and passion for information” has extended into writing freelance articles for the world’s largest 3D printing magazine, ALL3DP, and he would like to pursue engineering professionally as a future career path.
Evie Leibling-Blitz, 17
As head of mentoring for Alyth Synagogue, Evie demonstrates leadership abilities far beyond the average 17-year-old. Since becoming a volunteer leader at Alyth aged just 14, she has taken on more responsibility every year, culminating in organising the activities for more than 30 bnei mitzvah students every term, co-ordinating and briefing her 20-strong leadership team in the process.
Evie is also a member of the Barnet Multi Faith Youth Forum and, as head girl at JCoSS in 2019, capably addressed large audiences at important events such as open evenings and celebratory occasions. Praised for her “pride and attention to detail”, Evie already demonstrates a level of maturity and commitment that undoubtedly makes her one to watch in communal leadership for years to come.
Gideon Futerman, 16
Gideon is the co-founder of Worldward, an international grassroots organisation dedicated to addressing climate change through education and innovation. Worldward, which now has more than 140 members, focuses on influencing the public debate around greenhouse gas removal and solar geoengineering techniques. To that end, Gideon has featured on BBC Radio London, met with Lord Mendelsohn and David Drew MP to discuss geoengineering, and even joined world experts at the Achieving Net Zero Conference at Oxford University. By delivering lectures in numerous schools, he has inspired dozens of his peers to ‘go green’ – all while remaining grounded and humble. Unquestionably a current and future climate change leader in the Jewish community, the 16-year-old is lauded by Immanuel College’s leadership as “probably the most intelligent student we have ever had”.
Maya Wiseman, 15
For most young people, their bar/batmitzvah is a time for presents and partying. Not so for Maya, who decided instead to raise awareness and fundraise for Tanzanian women and girls to access clean drinking water.
Maya raised £9,000 through sponsored playground walks, in which she and other students carried buckets of water on their head.
Commended as a “phenomenal fundraiser and social justice leader”, the 15-year-old began her activism aged 10, raising more than £5,000 by creating a charity CD for Syrian refugees with fellow pupils at Martin Primary School in Finchley. She uses her enormous energy to inspire the next generation of young people and will undoubtedly remain a role model for years to come.
Jamie Gladstone, 18
Few self-starters have tackled the resurgence of antisemitism as passionately as Jamie. After going on Israel tour with FZY and partaking in the ‘Hadracha’ leadership course, Jamie used his initiative to start a campaign to combat antisemitism in Europe.
Working with The Arks Foundation, Jamie created ‘Prague, Present and Future’ to build up awareness of Schindler’s Ark as an important Czech landmark, and to engage FZY members with the history of Prague.
Described by a fellow participant as “truly inspiring”, Jamie’s initiative resulted in a group of 20 FZY Year 13 students visiting the capital of the Czech Republic, focusing on Holocaust education and exploring memorialisation. Considered a “huge asset” to the movement, Jamie’s passion for fixing problems across communities makes him one
to watch in years to come.
Lia Joffe, 17
Praised as the “ultimate role model for the community”, Lia’s incredible commitment to the welfare of young New North London Synagogue members is truly inspirational.
As a madricha (leader), Lia shares her passion for environmentalism and social justice, as well as using her musical talents to enrich Jewish life and mentor younger members.
The 17-year-old also runs interfaith events with her school’s Muslim Society, including a series of assemblies on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the implications for antisemitism and islamophobia. She has also organised school strike marches to promote climate activism and lobbied her MP about library closures. Lia is a budding journalist, having had her letters printed in The Guardian and will undoubtedly use her skills in a future professional leadership role.
Lucy Ross, 17
Over the past five years, Lucy has played a pivotal role in securing FZY’s presence in Leeds. By successfully uniting with ‘The Zone’ in Leeds, Lucy has organised fun and festival-appropriate events, which have successfully engaged the next generation of Leeds FZYniks.
Praised as a “true leader” with an “undeniable impact”, the 17-year-old has also recently been appointed junior counsellor for Diller Teen Fellows UK, an international programme that develops leadership skills and explores Jewish identity.
The position is highly competitive, involving multiple interview stages, but Lucy’s maturity shone through and she has excelled in the role. Lucy’s leadership responsibilities will continue this summer as she returns to the UK to lead FZY’s UK Ofek camp.
Macey Bannerman-Lloyd, 14
Macey is an outstanding and inspiring sportswoman, whose footballing stardom has helped JFS have its most successful run. The 14-year-old regularly excels in a team that has won two Brent championships and a London Schools FA Cup, where Macey scored the winning goal.
She has also helped Middlesex County Under-14s win the County League Cup, all while successfully balancing her schoolwork in between training and matches. Most notably, Macey recently played her first international match for England Under-15s, travelling to Eindhoven in Holland, with her accolades inspiring other girls to partake in boys’ sport. One of the “outstanding footballers in the school regardless of gender”, the attacking midfielder hopes to play football professionally and is considering studying in America to further her dream.
Ruben Persey, 15
Few young people have demonstrated an entrepreneurial flair like Ruben. The 15-year-old is the founder of Ballooneroo, a company that creates imaginative balloon décor and products for a range of events. Ruben is entirely self-taught, having watched YouTube videos of balloon modelling since he was 13, culminating in creations of arches, pillars, table centrepieces and more.
His clients have included Jewish schools, bar/batmitzvah children and corporations, and the business is a member of the Balloon and Party Industry Alliance. This “kind and generous” young man is also committed to Noam and is a madrich at New North London Synagogue, inspiring the next generation of Jewish youth.
Elisheva Landau-Pope, 18
Since being diagnosed with the CMT neurological condition aged 12, Elisheva has proved that disability is no barrier to meaningful Jewish experiences. Described as a uniquely “creative and thoughtful young person”, she has worked tirelessly to ensure accessibility is placed at the forefront of event planning.
Elisheva plays a key role in co-facilitating RSY Netzer’s accessibility focus group. She ensures the sessions she leads are memorable by creatively demonstrating how accessibility features in numerous real-world settings.
Elisheva reminds us that accessibility cannot function on an individual basis, but must exist as a paradigm shift, taking everyone into consideration. The 18-year-old now intends to spend a year in Israel with her youth movement, learning about Reform Jewish values and undertaking social action.
Amanda’s unrivalled sporting accolades include becoming under-14 national fencing champion in 2016 and competing for Great Britain at under-17 level the following year.
Yet it is her remarkable display of “triumph and fearlessness in the face of extreme adversity”, which sets the 17-year-old apart from her peers. Aged just 15, Amanda was forced to give up fencing after being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease requiring chemotherapy. Where many would have faltered, Amanda’s resolve grew stronger as she refused to let fear dictate her passion.
Since recovering from her illness, Amanda has returned to fencing and become an influential speaker, winning a competition to stage a TEDtalk. She also represents her school in international debating competitions, writes Holocaust poems and highlights her Jewish identity as a descendant of a Schindler’s List survivor.
Rafi Davis, 18
Few young people have the same dedication to their Jewish youth movement as Rafi does towards Bnei Akiva. Praised as a “fantastic and dedicated madrich”, the 18-year-old has helped run Bushey Bnei Akiva for more than three years, regularly demonstrating his passion for educating and engaging young Jews.
This included taking Year 7 on a summer camp, which involved a daily Limmud session where each madrich prepared a talk about a contemporary issue and Judaism’s approach to it. Utilising the overall education theme of the camp, “the people in the land”, Rafi intertwined fresh concepts with games and challenges to keep participants engaged.
Mazeltov to ALL of our nominees:
Amanda Mond, Ariella Knoble-Gershon, Avi Clements, Benjamin Conway, Charlie Armstrong, Charlie Burman, Chloe Leigh, Cobi Jacobs, Coleiv Swabel, Dan Shomron, Daniella Khalastchi, Dov Forman, Edward Isaacs, Elisheva Laundau-Pope, Ella Broomberg, Ella Lastmann, Emmy Chinnick, Evie Leibling-Blitz, Eytan Berkman, Gideon Futerman, Harry Burns, Jack Olsburgh, Jack Paul, Jake Frieze, James Gladstone, Jamie Smokler, Jasmine Randall, Joel Alexander, Jonah Hirschel, Joseph Furman, Joshua Adams, Juliette Kendal, Keshet Dor, Lia Joffe, Libbi Wise, Libi Fine, Lily Crane-Newman, Louis Deacon, Lucy Ross, Macey Bannerman-Lloyd, Martin Dover, Max Aaron Morris, Maya Wiseman, Nechemya Rosensweig, Noga Levy-Rapoport, Nussi Rosenberg Whyte, Oliver Cowen, Quincy Barrett, Rafi Davis, Rafi Glass, Rafi Posner, Renee Yantin, Ruben Persey, Shifra Morris-Evans, Tali Hurwitz, Tamara Kay and Zacharah Leinhardt
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- Eighteen Under 18
- Max Aaron Morris
- Noga Levy-Rapoport
- Quincy Barrett
- Keshet Dor
- Amelia Kay
- Coleiv Swabel
- Rafi Davis
- Gideon Futerman
- Maya Wiseman
- Jamie Gladstone
- Lia Joffe
- Lucy Ross
- Ruben Persey
- Elisheva Landau-Pope
- Amanda Mond
- Andrew Gilbert
- Visibility for Disability
- UK Student Climate Network
- pachyonychia congenita
- Salford Bnei Akiva
- Evie Leibling Blitz
By Joe Millis