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2023 Hadassah Chesed Student Awards

History of the Hadassah Chesed Student Awards

Hadassah has handed out the Chesed Awards annually since 1992 to one student from each of the local Jewish day schools and participating synagogue religious schools and Jewish organizations. 8th to 12th graders are eligible for the award. Each organization chooses its own recipient based on criteria that are paramount to Hadassah and its members: concern for Jews, Jewish culture and heritage; concern for Israel; concern for fellow human beings in manner and deed (menschlichkeit ); and good academic standing.

Essay Awards

Since 2019, the Hadassah Chesed Student Awards have offered two monetary awards based on student essay submissions. This year’s winners will be announced at the award ceremony of May 7, 2023.

Phyllis M. Cohen, a Hadassah Greater Atlanta Chapter past president and a major donor, conceived and developed the Hadassah Chesed Student Awards program in 1992. Throughout the past 32 years, Phyllis has continued to support this program wholeheartedly. She has been committed to developing young leaders and new leaders, encouraging them to take an active role. Thanks to her ongoing leadership and generosity, we are delighted to present the Phyllis M. Cohen Chesed Leadership Award to one of two Hadassah Chesed Essay Contest Winners.

THE LINDA & MICHAEL WEINROTH CHESED COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD Linda Weinroth, a Hadassah Ein Karem Chapter past president and an active participant in community service within the Atlanta Jewish community, has been a proud supporter of the Chesed Student Awards Program for the past 32 years. Linda is probably best known for her beautiful descriptions of the student recipients that she delivered so eloquently at each Chesed Awards Program for 20+ years. Thanks to the generosity and ongoing support of Linda and her husband, Michael, we are delighted to present the Linda and Michael Weinroth Community Service Award to one of two Hadassah Chesed Essay Contest winners.



2023 Chesed Student Award Recipients

Matan Berg

  • North Atlanta High School, Class of 2023
  • Nominating Organization: The Temple
  • Academic Honors: Phi Beta Kappa Book Award, Georgia Certificate of Merit, Governor’s Honors Program Certificate of Achievement/Completion, “Most Outstanding Member in Percussion (2020) and Wind (2022) Ensemble” Band Director Awards, Principal’s List
  • A Few Words From Matan: The three most important goals in my life are to employ politics in a way that materially helps people, to continue to be actively involved in my Jewish community, and to be a father. I will accomplish my political aspirations by writing public policy, working in independent media, and/or running for office. I intend on fulfilling my commitment to reform Judaism by taking the leadership skills and unparalleled connections I have created in my youth and furthering them in my adult life. Finally, I want to be a father because there is nothing more beautiful in life than family.

Brandon Buchalter

  • Campbell High School, Class of 2024
  • Nominating Organization: Congregation Or Hadash
  • Academic Honors: AP scholar, 4.0 honor roll
  • A Few Words From Brandon: I am a 17 year old junior at Campbell High School. I am in the school’s IB program and am very dedicated to my schoolwork and my education. Outside of school, I enjoy solving Rubik’s cubes, watching sports, involving myself in Jewish activities and continued education, and spending time with family and friends.

Jamie Cohen

  • Riverwood International Charter School, Class of 2023
  • Nominating Organization: ORT Atlanta
  • Academic Honors: Georgia Certificate of Merit (top 5% of class), BETA Club, National Honors Society, Athletics Honors Society, Spanish Honors Society, Principal’s List (x6)
  • A Few Words From Jamie: My name is Jamie Cohen, and I am a senior at Riverwood International Charter School currently pursuing my IB Diploma with focuses in Chemistry, Literature and Spanish.  Outside of school, I am the captain of the Varsity Girls Tennis team and a member of the Varsity Girls Flag Football team where, I was awarded the Coach’s Award and Defensive Player of the Year. I also enjoy giving back to the community through serving as a Board Member in Creating Connected Communities Leadership Development Program, chairing the Joe Cohen ORT Honey Packing event through ORT Honey from the Heart and volunteering with Friendship Circle, an organization dedicated to providing every individual with special needs the support, friendship, and inclusion that they deserve.

Katherine Davies

  • Dickerson Middle School, Class of 2027
  • Nominating Organization: Temple Kol Emeth
  • Academic Honors: Student of the Month: February 2023, Fall 2022, September 2022; Principal’s Honor Roll: 2023, 2022, 2021
  • A Few Words From Katherine: My name is Katherine Davies, and I attend Dickerson Middle School. I love all things music. My favorite musicians are Dolly Parton, Stevie Knicks, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles.
    I play acoustic guitar and standup bass. I love being a madrichim at my Sunday School, because I can apply my love of music to teaching kids about Judaism.

Zoe Diamond-Wilding

  • Midtown High School, Class of 2026
  • Nominating Organization: Jewish Kids Groups
  • Academic Honors: Straight A student every year
  • A Few Words From Zoe: My name is Zoe. I’m 15 years old. I love music, play the flute and piano, and enjoy singing in chorus. I’m also interested in musical theater, and am involved with theater tech. I enjoy reading, writing, making art, and travel.

Dylan Feinberg

  • The Epstein School, High School Class of 2027
  • Nominating Organization: The Epstein School
  • A Few Words From Dylan: I am a passionate kid who loves art and history. I love being involved and giving to my community. I love to talk with my friends and connect with them too. I plan on volunteering at the JCC this summer.

Lindsay Feinstein

  • Centennial High School, Class of 2023
  • Nominating Organization: Temple Kehillat Chaim
  • Academic Honors: Georgia Certificate of Merit (top 5% of HS class), Principal’s Honor Roll, Scholar Athlete, AP Scholar of Distinction, Student of the Month
  • A Few Words From Lindsay: I was born in Petaluma, California, and currently live in Roswell with my parents, Jeffrey and Amy, my sister Ally, and my cat Bailey. At Centennial, I have been on the Varsity Golf team and Sideline Cheerleading, Co-President of the Jewish Student Union, Vice President of HOSA (Healthcare Professional Organization), and participate in National Honor Society, Student Council, and Beta Club student organizations. I received the Georgia Certificate of Merit and am an AP Scholar with Distinction. Outside of High School, I volunteer as a Teachers’ Assistant in Sunday School, volunteer at Camp Moe-mentum day camp for special needs teens, serve as an active member of National Charity League (Milton Chapter), and work at The Melting Pot. I have received the US Presidential Gold and Silver awards for volunteer service during high school. I will be attending college in Fall 2023 with a pre-healthcare major . I would ultimately like to pursue an Occupational Therapy degree.

Olivia Fishman

  • Alpharetta High School, Class of 2025
  • Nominating Organization: Congregation Dor Tamid
  • A Few Words From Olivia:I am a sophomore at Alpharetta High School and I am active in my synagogue, youth group, and more! I plan to serve in the IDF as a lone soldier after high school and then go to college and study ecology. Some of my favorite things to do are running, reading, crocheting, and spending time with my dog Maggie. I am going with Camp Coleman on the NFTY Israel trip this summer for 4 weeks. Next year in school I will begin the IB Diploma program.

Abby Gilbert

  • Druid Hills High School, Class of 2024
  • Nominating Organization: Congregation Bet Haverim
  • Academic Honors: DHHS Principal’s List
  • A Few Words From Abby: My name is Abby Gilbert, and I am a junior in Druid Hills High School’s IB program. My interests include drawing, practicing the guitar, and learning Spanish through music and telenovelas. On Sundays, I work with my synagogue’s community school, helping the 5th through 7th graders learn to read Hebrew and prepare for their britot mitzvah. Shalom!

Mia Kleinman

  • Pope High School, Class of 2024
  • Nominating Organization: Congregation Etz Chaim
  • A Few Words From Mia: I am 17 years old and have lived in Georgia since I was two, when my family moved from Miami, Florida. My dad and my siblings were born in Israel and my mom grew up there, so I have always been surrounded by Israel and Israeli culture, food, language,  etc. Judaism and Etz Chaim have been a big part of my life from going to preschool and Religious School there into becoming a religious school teacher and president of our USY chapter.

Ben Lefkovits

  • The Weber School, Class of 2023
  • Nominating Organization: The Weber School
  • Academic Honors: AP Scholar Award, AP Scholar Award with Distinction, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society
  • A Few Words From Ben: I am Ben Lefkovits, and I am a senior at The Weber School. I am captain of the Varsity Tennis Team this year, and that takes up a lot of my time because tennis is my passion. My other passion is medicine, and it has been for a good bit of my life. I have wanted to be a doctor since I was a little kid, and I am very interested in science and math. I have a dog named Roscoe, and he is the best to take a nap with or play with. I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my family and friends, especially because I am going off to college in a year.

Ethan Levine

  • Duluth High School, Class of 2024
  • Nominating Organization: Congregation Beth Shalom
  • Academic Honors: Honor Student
  • A Few Words From Ethan: As a Junior in high school, I have many interests and talents. Baseball is my first love. I am honored to play on my high school varsity baseball team for the last 2 years. I have an artistic side which can be seen when I play my drums on my own or in the synagogue band, I create graphic designs for sporting events and my school, and I build and collect architecture Lego sets. I am also well versed in current events and can engage in discussions on a variety of topics from sports and history to current events.

Hannah Litvak

  • Dunwoody High School,  Class of 2025
  • Nominating Organization: Temple Emanu-El
  • Academic Honors: A-Honor roll throughout middle school and high school
  • A Few Words From Hannah: My name is Hannah Litvak. I attend Dunwoody High School. I love to run and spend time with friends. My friends and family are the most important people to me. This summer I am going to Israel and to camp!

Kayla Minsk

  • Atlanta Jewish Academy, Class of 2024
  • Nominating Organization: Atlanta Jewish Academy
  • Academic Honors: Rho Kappa Honors Society
  • A Few Words From Kayla: My name is Kayla Minsk and I’m a junior at AJA. In school, I enjoy being in musicals and playing on the soccer team. In my free time, I like crafting, baking, and playing piano. This summer I will be working as a one-on-one facilitator at the JCC for a kid with special needs.

Zac Mittleman

  • Chamblee High School, Class of 2023
  • Nominating Organization: Congregation B’nai Torah
  • Academic Honors: German Award, Principal’s List
  • A Few Words From Zac: I am a senior at Chamblee High School. I enjoy playing golf and rooting for the New York Jets. I really enjoy travelling to new places and learning new skills like surfing.

Katherine Poch

  • Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School,  Class of 2023
  • Nominating Organization: Temple Sinai
  • Academic Honors: Headmaster’s List, National Merit finalist, Georgia Certificate of Merit, Cum Laude, Physics Honors Award, Journalism Award, AP Psychology Award, French III Honors Award, Science National Honors Society member, Rho Kappa member, Mu Alpha Theta Member, Tri M member
  • A Few Words From Katherine: I am a senior at Holy Innocents’ and a proud member of Temple Sinai. In my free time I enjoy reading books, learning new things, and listening to music. I am honored to be the recipient of the 32nd Annual Hadassah Chesed Student Award for my volunteer work with the Family Promise Homeless Shelter and Sunday School at Temple Sinai. I would like to thank the vibrant Jewish community that has fostered my passion for tzedakah as well as my father, mother, and sister for encouraging and supporting me every day.

Miriam R. Raggs

  • The Weber School, Class of 2023
  • Nominating Organization: Atlanta Jews of Color Council
  • Academic Honors: National Honors Society, Spanish National Honors Society
  • A Few Words From Miriam: I’m Miriam Raggs, and I am a senior at the Weber School. I love sports and I am the captain of the Volleyball and Track and Field teams. I love traveling; I have been to Israel, Spain, and Cuba.

Barri Seitz

  • The Weber School,  Class of 2023
  • Nominating Organization: Creating Connected Communities
  • Academic Honors: 2023 STAR Student, National Merit Finalist, The Weber School Award for Academic Excellence in English, 11th Grade National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, AP Scholar with Honors
  • A Few Words From Barri: Barri Seitz is a senior at The Weber School planning on attending the University of Texas at Austin in Plan II Honors in the fall of 2023. She has served as the president of the nonprofit Creating Connected Communities, the chair of the Georgia Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Students of the Year Leadership Team, the co-chair for Jewish National Fund’s High School Summit at National Conference, an officer of her school’s pro-Israel advocacy club, a panelist on Conversations on Zionism, and the Design Editor of her senior yearbook. She is a STAR student, a National Merit Finalist and a member of National Honor Society. In addition to her schoolwork and co-curriculars, Barri loves listening to country music, going to spin classes and spending time with her friends.

Jolie Thaler

  • The Davis Academy, High School Class of 2027
  • Nominating Organization: The Davis Academy
  • Academic Honors: 6th grade: Honors Pre-Algebra; 7th grade: Honors Algebra 1; 8th grade: Honors Algebra 2
  • A Few Words From Jolie: Hi! My name is Jolie Thaler, I am 14 years old, and I currently attend school at The Davis Academy. Some of my favorite things to do are theatre, dancing, singing, and drawing. My favorite subjects in school are social studies and theatre.

Abby Warshauer

  • The Westminster School,  Class of 2023
  • Nominating Organization: American Jewish Committee
  • Academic Honors: Goizeuta Classical Language Award for French, AP Scholar with Distinction, National Merit Commended, National Honor Society, Presidential Volunteer Service Award (Bronze)
  • A Few Words From Abby: Abby Warshauer is a high school senior at the Westminster Schools. She is very passionate about social and environmental justice and hopes to study Environmental Studies and French in college. In tenth grade, Abby joined the American Jewish Committee’s Atlanta Leaders for Tomorrow cohort and, since then, has served on the advisory board for two years. In the summer of 2022, Abby was selected as a French major at the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. When Abby is not doing cross country, mock trial, track and field, or teaching Sunday and Hebrew School on the weekends, she is most likely doing something outside- backpacking, hiking, or kayaking.

Laney Weissman

  • Johns Creek High School, Class of 2024
  • Nominating Organization: Gesher L’Torah
  • Academic Honors: AP Scholar Award, AP and Honors Student, National Honors Society, Beta Club, Honor Roll
  • A Few Words From Laney: Lainey Weissman (she/her) is a junior at Johns Creek High School. In school, she is involved in the chorus and drama departments, as well as Beta Club, National Honors Society, and the Jewish Student Union. In her free time, she enjoys musical theater and singing, as well as participating in social justice work. She is currently serving as the Camp Jenny Co-Director and is active in NFTY.

Audrey Zeff

  • Midtown High School, Class of 2023
  • Nominating Organization: Congregation Shearith Israel 
  • Academic Honors: Honor Roll, AP Scholar with Distinction, National Honor Society
  • A Few Words From Audrey: I am a senior at Midtown High School and passionate about social justice and climate advocacy. I love learning and being athletic. When I am not playing volleyball, I am organizing events for my environmental-advocacy group, acting, hanging with friends, and reading.

Molly Ziskind

  • Campbell High School, Class of 2024
  • Nominating Organization: Temple Beth Tikvah
  • Academic Honors: Math Honors Society, Spanish Honors Society, National Honors Society, International Baccalaureate Diploma Student, Honor roll, AP Scholar with Honor
  • A Few Words From Molly:My name is Molly Ziskind, and I am from Roswell, GA. I go to Campbell High School, where I participate in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and debate team. I am very involved in my youth group at Temple Beth Tikvah as well and serve as the Programming Vice President. I also am in a competition and performance company at Rhythm Dance Center and have been dancing since I was four.