Peri Feldstein, who is spending her fellowship year working at Itach Ma’achi – Women Lawyers for Social Change, is the Richard J. Israel Fellow. She is a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied Comparative Jewish and Islamic Studies and Photography.
At WashU, Peri served as Hillel’s Israel Engagement Fellow, where she designed and facilitated a monthly discussion group called “Not Your Youth Group’s Israel,” during which she challenged fellow students to engage in complex conversations about Israel and the American Jewish experience. In this role, she also helped lead a delegation of non-Jewish campus leaders on a 10-day geopolitical tour of Israel and Palestine. Peri also served as a Nachshon Va’ad fellow with Hillel, where she was able to create and lead a monthly Rosh Chodesh women’s discussion group that engaged mindful women in candle-lit discussions about mental health and spirituality in daily life.
Outside of Hillel, Peri served as a chair within the Washington University International Relations Committee and as head counselor for the World of Politics pre-orientation program to connect incoming students to with campus political groups before orientation. She has also worked for the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, where she analyzed the viability of proposed state legislation to combat the drastic under-reportage of hate-crimes and developed an original syllabus to be taught at American universities on Muslim-Jewish relations throughout history.
She studied abroad at the University of Haifa, where her coursework centered around Israeli feminisms, Arabic language, and the Arab-Israeli experience. Following this fellowship, she intends to go to law school to further develop her skills as a community leader and advocate. She is from Princeton, New Jersey.
Noa Fleischacker, who is spending her fellowship year working at Omdim B’Yachad – Standing Together, is the Nomi Fein and Leibel Fein Fellow. She was raised in Evanston, IL and, after high school, she spent a year in Israel on the Yahel Social Change Program before attending Oberlin College. She graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in Anthropology, Education Studies, and Dance, and moved to Chicago where she worked for three years as the Midwest Campus Organizer for J Street U. There she recruited and developed relationships with student leaders across the Midwest, facilitated community organizing skills trainings and directed regional strategy and campaigns. She is thrilled and honored to see so many of the students she worked with organizing on progressive political campaigns today.
Noa spent this past year living in Jerusalem on the Dorot Fellowship, where she facilitated and participated in weekly seminars on social, political, and religious issues in Israel and the West Bank. While on Dorot, Noa developed skills in storytelling and fundraising and worked with asylum seekers as a volunteer in the health department of the Jerusalem African Community Center. She was also part of the first secular-religious group for women with chronic pelvic pain and launched her podcast, Tight Lipped, which looks at the treatment and conversation around female chronic pain conditions through a political lens.
Liat Kastner, who is spending her fellowship year working at Yad B’Yad – Hand in Hand, is the Jay E. Orlin Fellow. She has been studying Talmud at Pardes in Jerusalem and has been spending her days in Israel since 2017. Last year she lived in Lod, where she worked for Na’am: Arab Women in the Center, Fidel: Association for Integration and Success of Ethiopian-Israelis through the program Yahel. Liat grew up in NJ to an Israeli mother and American father, as well as grandparents who are Holocaust survivors. This family history gave Liat a deep understanding for the enormous consequences of hate and antisemitism, and a promise to care for other minorities. Liat visited Israel regularly to spend time with family as a child, and gained more interest in engaging critically with Israel and her identity as a Jew and Israeli-American as a young teenager. She graduated from Reed College in 2016 with a degree in Environmental Science and Political Science, writing her thesis on water scarcity’s impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After graduating, Liat worked for the American Friends of Hand in Hand. Her passion for and commitment to shared society work grew astronomically from there. While at Pardes, Liat does volunteer work for interfaith dialogue groups and religious women’s issues. Her experiences in Israel has shown her the immense impact individuals can have on communities, and has devoted herself to understanding the narratives, experiences, and issues of every group in the Land. The challenges we face go beyond a headline in a newspaper; the challenges we face require us all to see the humanity in everyone. In Liat’s free time, she takes pastry lessons and rock climbs.
Yael Krifcher is spending her fellowship year working at Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights. She was born and raised in Maryland. She graduated in May 2019 from Wesleyan University with a BA in Comparative Government and Middle Eastern Studies. During her time at Wesleyan, Yael’s most important involvements included running the Wesleyan Interfaith Council, working with Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education, and serving as a volunteer with a student-run emergency call service. Yael has spent her summers exploring Middle East and North African policy through a series of internships in Washington, D.C.
In Fall 2017, she studied abroad in Amman, Jordan, where she volunteered with the local Sudanese refugee community and continued her pursuit of fluency in Arabic. She’s excited to return to the region to engage with the opportunities and limitations associated with local, non-governmental humanitarian efforts, which she hopes will inform her future career in MENA policy.
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Read the bios from other cohorts of the NIF / SHATIL Social Justice Fellows:
2018-2019 cohort | 2017-2018 cohort | 2016-2017 cohort | 2015-2016 cohort | 2014-2015 cohort | 2013-2014 cohort | 2012-2013 cohort