Rena W. is a rising senior at Dominion High School in Northern Virginia.

She is a passionate teen, active in her community and a past participant in Federation’s Margo & Yoram Cohen Family Israel Engagement Fellowship (IEF).


How has your participation in a Federation teen program strengthened your Jewish identity?

Participating in IEF allowed me to meet and connect with more Jewish teens in my community, strengthening my Jewish identity and connection to Israel in the process. Participating in Federation programs further inspired me to sign up to go to Israel for a month this summer!

What was the most important takeaway you received by participating in IEF?

For me, the most important takeaway of IEF was to always be open minded and unbiased, because everyone has a different narrative and there is always more to learn. This realization came to me during an eye-opening session of the IEF in which both a Palestinian and an Israeli told their narrative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what they see as the pathway to peace.

How do Federation’s teen opportunities stand out from other youth programs? What makes them unique and different?

Federation’s teen opportunities are unique because they have the most amazing, enthusiastic mentors and connect people across youth groups and synagogues. Federation also has numerous connections and opportunities outside of the weekly meetings to further engage participants. I spoke at a lovely Federation dinner about IEF, which helped me see the reach of Federation’s programs and meet people benefiting from Federation’s other programs.

How has your involvement with Federation better prepared you for college and beyond?

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