DU Student Wins Goodman Prize for Israel Engagement

Samuel Rose of University of Denver and Simon Paransky of McGill University Bring Israel to Life on College Campuses and at Summer Camp

Chicago, IL – In recognition of their exceptional efforts to create meaningful and educational Israel experiences for their peers on campus, Samuel Rose, a senior at the University of Denver, and Simon Paransky, a sophomore at McGill University, were awarded the 2016 “Goodman Prize for Israel Engagement on Campus.” Simon and Samuel were selected as winners by the iCenter for Israel Education, Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), and the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation. In the summer, they are staff at Jewish overnight camps and have gained skills and strategies for Israel engagement as part of their camp’s participation in the Goodman Camping Initiative for Modern Israel History—a partnership between the iCenter and FJC with generous support from The Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations, with contributions from the Marcus Foundation and the AVI CHAI Foundation.

Samuel Rose
Samuel Rose

Samuel Rose received the Goodman Prize for his exceptional efforts at University of Denver and at Shwayder Camp. Rose was a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow and attended this year’s AIPAC conference. On campus, he worked to spotlight the many sides of Israel, organizing an Artists for Israel event, a Falafel and Film night, and more. A staffer at Shwayder Camp since 2013, Rose says interacting with the Israeli staff has been very impactful for him, and he always tried to make sure that campers had that same experience.

“Both in college and at camp, I’ve seen that when people just get to meet Israelis their age, they build a special connection to each other and to the country,” adds Rose. “This is true both for Jewish and non-Jewish students in college.  I love facilitating these personal interactions. In fact, the only thing at camp more rewarding than this was the one-on-one work I did with a camper with Down Syndrome. That was especially meaningful for me too.”

“Sam is an incredible role model for campers and staff alike,” adds Jodie Abrams, Director of Shwayder Camp. “He is dedicated to creating an experience that is meaningful for those around him and is a natural leader. He left a great impact on the Shwayder Camp community.”

Paransky first attended Camp Kinneret in 2009 before moving on to Camp Biluim—the youth leadership camp for all Canadian Young Judaea camps—in 2011. As a staffer now, he plans programs that offer space for campers to reflect on what they see in the world and how they feel about their own identity. Programs he has led around Tisha B’av and the camp’s Yom Israel focus on helping older campers understand the political climate they may face on campus. Paransky credits the skills he’s gained as a staffer, such as working in teams, delegating responsibility, and explaining complicate situations, with preparing him to succeed in college and the real world. He is an intern this summer at the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Toronto.

“Over the last few years we have faced anti-Israel sentiment at the university General Assembly, and I am proud of the way my peers and I have defeated the resolution every single time,” says Simon Paransky, who will be a junior next year at McGill University and is a staffer at Camp Kinneret-Biluim. “Next year, as co-president of the Israel on Campus (IOC) club, I want to collaborate with community members and bring in great speakers to share what Israel does in science, engineering, the arts, and more. I want to create a space for productive dialogue and show people all aspects of Israel.”

“Simon is an advocate for Israel in everything he does, from running programs with our youngest campers at camp, to heading up McGill University’s Israel on Campus club,” Shoshi Rothschild, Associate Director of Camp Kinneret-Bilum. “Camp Kinneret-Biluim is filled with pride to see representatives from our staff team awarded the Goodman Prize two years in a row.  Simon’s passion for and knowledge of Israel, and his dedication to sharing it with others, make him incredibly deserving of this award.”

The winners will receive a prize of $360 and were selected based on the originality and impact of their Israel engagement on campus; how they adapted their camp experiences to campus; and their continued commitment and leadership to engaging campers and peers with Israel.

“Simon and Samuel clearly are passionate about Israel and love connecting others to the country and its people,” says Anne Lanski, Executive Director of the iCenter. “They are creative leaders whose skills transcend any specific environment, so they can engage peers in deeply personal ways.”

“Counselors are incredible role models for campers and fellow staff, not only during the summer but year-round,” says Jeremy J. Fingerman, CEO of Foundation for Jewish Camp. “Simon and Samuel are taking what they learn at camp and extending its impact making a major difference in their communities. They will continue to be strong leaders of our Jewish community.”

The award was announced a week after the iCenter, FJC, and the Goodman Foundation also awarded the “Goodman Prize for Excellence in Israel Education at Camp” to CBB of Ottawa for its success infusing Israel into a greater part of camp culture and overall experience.

“Israel education is more important now than ever, as the BDS movement continues to threaten our colleges” says Susan Rifkin, Executive Director of the Goodman Foundations. “Simon and Samuel use their exemplary leadership skills and knowledge of Israeli history to create meaningful, insightful dialogue with their peers. We are thrilled to award them the prize for campus engagement, and are fortunate to have them as role models for up and coming students in the Goodman program.”

The iCenter serves as the national hub and catalyst for advancing and supporting the field of pre-collegiate Israel education. We believe that education is the key to inspiring generations of Jewish youth with an enduring connection to Israel and the Jewish people. www.theicenter.org 

The Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) is a charitable organization that helps create transformative summer experiences for young people—ensuring the Jewish future. Founded in 1998, we are a catalyst for change throughout the field. We train and inspire camp leaders. We expand access to Jewish summers—and increase demand. We enhance the Jewish impact of those summers. And we develop programs to strengthen camps and summer experiences across the Jewish spectrum in North America—including One Happy Camper®, which has enabled tens of thousands of young people to experience Jewish summers. Further, we elevate Jewish camp on the cultural and philanthropic agenda. The Foundation for Jewish Camp has grown to work with over 300 day and overnight camps. Each summer we serve more than 200,000 youth, teens and college-aged counselors across North America. www.jewishcamp.org

The Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations are dedicated to strengthening Jewish life in Chicago, the United States and Israel, as well as improving the quality of life within the Chicago metropolitan area by supporting secular organizations that address hunger issues, education, and promote the prevention of drug abuse. For more information visit www.llgoodmanfdn.org.

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They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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