Born in upstate New York in 1987 and raised outside of Philadelphia, Rebecca Arian comes from a progressive, Jewish-American family. The legacy of her great-grandmother—a socialist political refugee from Lithuania—and her passion for Jewish values inform her work fostering social change in the United States. Rebecca is married to an Israeli, and through her relationship with her husband she has likewise become committed to the pursuit of equal rights and social justice in Israel as well.
Rebecca earned a B.A. with honors in Political Science from Vassar College in 2009. She then worked as a Project Associate at the Center for Court Innovation, where she consulted with judges, lawyers, and other practitioners to implement criminal and civil justice system reform projects. In 2015, she earned her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law. At CUNY Law, she was a Student Attorney in the Public Defender Clinic, where she represented low-income New Yorkers charged with misdemeanor crimes. She was also a Student Attorney for the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility Project, where she advised clients impacted by national security policy regarding their rights with respect to law enforcement. After graduating from law school, Rebecca was awarded the 2015-2016 Dorot Fellowship in Israel. As a Dorot fellow, she solidified her skills as a Hebrew speaker and focused on work involving health care rights and refugee rights. She is delighted to be continuing this work as the NIF Nomi Fein and Leibel Fein NIF/Shatil Social Justice Fellow working at Physicians for Human Rights.
Eli Philip was born in Israel, and lived there till the age of 10, when he moved with his family to Philadelphia. After high school, Eli attended Yeshivat Maale Gilboa in northern Israel on a gap year. Eli graduated Brandeis University in 2015 with a degree in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. At Brandeis, he was an active member of the J Street U chapter, and led several campus initiatives, including an egalitarian prayer community – Kehilat Sha’ar, and the Brandeis University – Al Quds University Student Dialogue Initiative. More recently, Eli worked as a National Park Ranger in Anchorage, Alaska.
According to reliable sources, Eli is very excited to be a Shatil Social Justice Fellow, and hopes to contribute to the important work of local Israeli organizations fighting to ensure Israel remains a vibrant democratic society. He is working at Zazim and the Movement for Freedom of Information. When he is not working, Eli can be either be found engaged in deep political discussions or out birding in nature.
Joshua Schwartz was raised in Long Island, NY, where he attended Solomon Schechter Day School of Long Island K-12. During his high school years, Josh excelled in Hebrew and was involved with the Young Judaea Zionist youth movement. After graduating from high school, he spent a gap year in Israel with Young Judaea Year Course, through which he participated in Marva, the Israel Defense Forces’ two-month basic training program for young Diaspora Jews, and interned at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Josh then attended Northwestern University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with honors in History. He wrote his senior thesis about American and British intelligence perceptions of Japanese military capabilities before World War II. He was also very active in campus life, serving as a leader of J Street U, Vice President of Programming for Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity and a counselor for the Freshman Urban Program – a Chicago-based community service pre-orientation.
After graduating from Northwestern, Josh worked as a program assistant for Ameinu. There, he developed a progressive action guide for Israeli and Palestinian human rights initiatives that was featured in The Forward. Since January, Josh has been participating in Givat Haviva’s Intensive Arabic Semester in Israel, building on a year of university Arabic study. Through this program, he participates in an English-Arabic exchange with a family in the village of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, which is located southeast of Haifa in Wadi Ara. Josh is extremely excited to bring his passion, perspective, and experience to the Social Justice Fellowship through his work at Ir Amim which works for an equitable and stable Jerusalem with an agreed political future.
Sam Winer was born in Toronto and grew up in a modern Orthodox home. He attended Jewish community day schools from grades 1 through 12 and spent his summers at Camp Ramah in Canada in northern Ontario.
After graduating from high school, Sam moved to Israel. He volunteered for several months at a boarding school for at risk youths called Yemin Orde and then enlisted in the IDF, and served in an infantry soldier for a year and a half. After his service, Sam returned to Canada and attended McGill University in Montreal where his major concentration was World Islamic and Middle Eastern studies with a minor in psychology and religious studies.
During his college summers, Sam worked at a summer camp in Maine called Seeds of Peace, where teenagers from various conflict religions (one of which is Israelis and Palestinians) meet, live together, and have intensive dialogue sessions. During the academic year, Sam brought the skills from Seeds of Peace to his university campus where he established and ran dialogue sessions for Jewish and Palestinian students.
Now Sam has brought these same skills to his NIF/Shatil fellowship, where he will be applying them in the real world shared society setting of Yad b’Yad (Hand in Hand) – The Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel.
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To read the bios from the 2015-2016 cohort of NIF / SHATIL Social Justice Fellows, click here.
To read the bios from the 2014-2015 cohort of NIF / SHATIL Social Justice Fellows, click here.
To read the bios from the 2013-2014 cohort of NIF / SHATIL Social Justice Fellows, click here.
To read the bios from the 2012-2013 cohort of NIF / SHATIL Social Justice Fellows, click here.