JCRC Israel Leadership Fellows Complete 2021 Program

April 1, 2022

For the second year in a row, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) led the Israel Leadership Fellowship for teens. The JCRC chose to develop this program to prepare teens for antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment that is growing in high schools and on college campuses. This investment in teens is critical to developing future Jewish leaders who have a strong knowledge of the history of Israel and its current conflicts. The program was generously underwritten by the Norman and Anita Davis CRC Endowment Fund. 

This year’s Fellows included Eva Elam, Olivia Elam, Samantha Fein, Hailey Fiero, and Samantha Fogel. The dedicated teens attended sessions on Sundays to learn about Israel’s history from ancient times to modern-day conflicts. The teens explored their own relationship with Israel, and all expressed an interest in traveling there soon to continue to build their Israel story. The interactive sessions concluded with discussions of antisemitism, including identifying when anti-Israel rhetoric is antisemitic and when it is not. The class was overseen by Lisa Epstein, Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, and taught by Natalie Steiner of Hillel-San Antonio. UTSA student Peleg Katz assisted. 

Students’ reactions to the program were very positive. High school junior, Olivia Elam summarized what she learned, “There was a lot about Judaism and Israeli history that I didn’t know about, and this program was informative and helpful to me. Learning about the history as well as all the hate that is not only directed at Israel but at Jewish people really opened my eyes and this program made me feel much more confident about confronting it.”  

To learn more about the JCRC visit jfsatx.org/jcrc