Diana Somorjai (left) and Molly Weiner (right) have been selected for the Bronfman Fellowship.
Diana Somorjai (left) and Molly Weiner (right) have been selected for the Bronfman Fellowship.

Two local students chosen as Bronfman Fellows

Two Bay Area Jewish high school students have been selected for the 33rd cohort of the Bronfman Fellowship, a five-week educational program in Israel followed by a year of learning back at home focused on Jewish principles and text.

Diana Somorjai will enter her senior year at Crystal Spring Uplands School in her hometown of Hillsborough, and is a member of Peninsula Temple Beth El and Peninsula Temple Sholom. She’s been active with the North Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation and the Jewish Teen Grant Initiative, and served as president of her school’s French Club and captain of the volleyball team.

Molly Weiner, of San Mateo, is entering her senior year at Lick-Wilmerding in San Francisco and is a graduate of Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City. A Camp Tawonga alumni, she volunteers at Clinic by the Bay, a free medical clinic for the uninsured, and has been a summer camp counselor at a transitional housing program for homeless families in San Mateo.

Their five weeks in Israel begin on July 1, when they will take college-level seminars taught by scholars from a range of fields, including Evan Parks, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Germanic Languages at Columbia University, Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, university chaplain at New York University, and Gila Fine, editor-in-chief of Maggid Books.

Fellows also will have opportunities to learn about the state’s history and geography outside of the classroom by traveling to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Negev Desert and other locations. The North American Bronfman Fellows will collaborate and interact with young Israelis in a similar program.

After completing the fellowship, Somorjai and Weiner will be part of a network of accomplished alumni, including Israeli filmmakers, political advisers to Knesset members, four former Supreme Court clerks, 18 Fulbright scholars, and a San Francisco author — Daniel Handler, who wrote “A Series of Unfortunate Events” children’s books.

More information on the program is available at bronfman.org; applications for the 2020 fellowship will be available in the fall.

Tova Ricardo
Tova Ricardo

Tova Ricardo is a student at Columbia University, the former youth poet laureate of Oakland, and J.'s 2019 summer intern.