Ten young Pittsburgh teenagers will be inducted into the American Hebrew Academy Honor Society, a distinction reserved nationwide for only 100 students who exhibit both strength in academics, and a committed interest in Judaism.
Local Jewish educators nominated the eighth- and ninth-graders for their leadership potential, demonstrated maturity and Jewish involvement, said Beth Goldstein, director of teen education at the Agency for Jewish Learning.
“We’re really excited that out of the 100 students chosen, 10 are from Pittsburgh,” Goldstein said. “These teens will be the up and coming leaders in the Jewish community. They are really the future of our Jewish leaders.”
Sarah Pincus, a student at Community Day School, was selected for the honor society, as well as nine students who attend J-Site programs: Kayla Goldstein, Adi Kadosh, Abigail Natelson, Rachel Reibach, Gabe Sklan (who also attends Community Day), Marissa Snyder, Benny Stern, Jeremy Witchel and Zeva Young.
The American Hebrew Academy, located in Greensboro, N.C., is the nation’s only Jewish pluralistic college prep boarding school. This is the second year it has inducted students from across the country into its honor society.
“Pittsburgh had the most [kids chosen to be inducted] of any city,” said Mark Spielman, director of both recruitment and the honor society of The American Hebrew Academy. “It’s something to be proud of.”
That such a large percentage of inductees hail from Pittsburgh this year is due to the high caliber of students, as well as the large number of applicants, Spielman said.
“There were a lot of applicants from Pittsburgh, but more importantly, all of them were worthy of being recognized for this honor,” he said. “They were all good students, doing good stuff in the community. It made sense, and they deserved the kavod.”
All students inducted into the honor society will travel to the school for an all expense-paid weekend on March 25 to 27, for “learning and socializing and being with other future leaders of the Jewish community,” Goldstein said.
Additionally, the inductees will be given the opportunity to compete for five renewable $20,000 annual merit-based scholarships to attend the American Hebrew Academy.
“It’s great to have so many incoming leaders in the Jewish community in J-Site,” Goldstein said. “We looked at it as an honor to let these students shine, and to let them know they’re appreciated for their involvement in the Jewish community, and recognized nationally for their local achievements.”
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)