Valerie Weisler’s Quest to End Bullying Starts with Her Judaism

Valerie with friends When Valerie Weisler, now 21, was a freshman in high school, she saw a fellow student getting teased for being overweight. In an instant, the powerful messages she learned from Ramah Nyack summer camp, METNY USY and Orangetown Jewish Center inspired her to approach the boy and say two words that changed her life and the lives of thousands of others ever since. “I told him, ‘You matter,’” she says. ...

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One Girl’s Bat Mitzvah Project Goes a Long Way in Helping Homeless

Right down the road from Ruth Newstock’s home in Memphis, Tennessee, a nearby church opens its doors every Tuesday night during the winter months so those who are homeless can have a hot meal and warm place to sleep. Given her cheery, friendly personality, it’s no surprise that when a friend asked Ruth if she wanted to volunteer one evening, she quickly accepted the offer. At that time, as a soon-to-be 12 year old,...

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From Dallas to Los Angeles, USY’s Roots Are Planted Deep in Aaron Jacobs

As Diller Teen Fellows Coordinator Aaron Jacobs traveled from Los Angeles, California, to his parent’s home in Texas shortly before New Year’s, a wave of memories flooded over him—particularly when he went to his childhood bedroom and saw what was stapled to the wall by his bed. At Diller, a global organization with 32 cohorts in communities across the world that aims to create meaning and purpose in Jewish life, Aaron...

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