THE JEWISH 100
The Top Influential Jews in 5782
While several different Jewish media outlets and groups produce lists featuring Influential Jews from the past year, the list below features many voices, activists, educators and leaders who are really special. This list features both our own producers and associates alongside other prominent voices who have caught our eye and probably yours this year.
As antisemitism continues to rear its ugly head in every corner of the World Wide Web, these individuals raise awareness, educate, and offer resources that help to fight hate wherever it is found. These individuals' work empowers a new generation to embrace their identity and speak up for the Jewish people.
This list highlights both new voices in advocacy, as well as
long-standing experts whose work, when taken together, increases the
difference any single voice could make.
With TLVi's focus on uplifting Jews both online and offline through innovative social media-driven strategies, we recognize these leaders for the work they have already put in to elevate and inspire the wider Jewish community, and the difference they can continue to make as they educate, guide, and affect change in every corner of the globe. As in all our work to reinvigorate the conversation that surrounds Jews, and antisemitism, we highlight these voices as they work to ensure a safe Jewish future.
While there are so many other Jewish voices we wish we could include, although it might not look like it, the list is short.
Who are we to decide, anyway? The Tel Aviv Institute is a multidisciplinary laboratory focused on uplifting Jews off and online through innovative, social media driven strategies. Our content advocating for the dignity of Jewish people has reached over 100 million users on social media. We asked you online to nominate and vote for your favorite Jews and our team of judges selected these individuals. Our panel of judges and TLVi team of experts included: Dr. Ron Katz, TLVI’s President, Dr. Olga Kirschbaum-Shirazki, Dr. Matthias J. Becker and Mr. Hen Mazzig as well as all of our staff members.
Ranking: we believe each one of the individuals in this list belongs at the top, which is why we didn’t rank them, rather allowed a computer to randomly organize them for us. So don't look for a number by any of their names, but do scroll all the way through.
Wonder Woman herself! Gal Gadot has made Am Yisrael proud over the years as both the titular character in Wonder Woman and as Miss Israel 2004. She is on the receiving end of a lot of hate just for being Israeli, and yet she never stops proudly owning her identity. The warm way she lights up a screen and lights up a room gives a humanizing association with Israel to people which helps to counter the demonizing material many people passively consume.
Chinese, Jewish and Israeli? That exact combination of identities has allowed Amy Albertson to take to a variety of social media sites and show her daily life with these intertwining identities. She has made a huge impact on the young Jewish community- especially speaking at the youth conference for BBYO this past year.
Daniella Rabbani is a triple threat — actress, writer and director who has performed in a variety of venues from The State Jewish Theater of Poland to off-Broadway productions. One of her most well-known roles is her portrayal of Rabbi Zoe Schwartz in the CBS Syndicate “God Friended Me”. She’s dedicated to promoting Yiddish and never shies away from her Jewish identity. No wonder so many Jews around the world adore her.
Chaya Lev is the creator of the Chaya Dance Movement- a dance experience intended to help heal one’s soul through movement and laughter. Chaya is also an Olah Chadasha, making the move to Israel a few years ago. Chaya found a positive and uplifting community on social media where she boldly speaks out in defense of Israel and Jews worldwide. Chaya is a real treasure for our people.
Debra Messing and Mandana Dayani
Debra Messing is an Emmy award-winning actress whose career spans film, TV, and theater. From a leading role on Will & Grace to appearances on Seinfeld, Project Runway, Jeopardy, and more, Debra can truly do it all!
Mandana Dayani is the Iranian-born Founder of “I Am A Voter,” a nonpartisan civic engagement organization, as well as the President of Archwell, the media and philanthropic organization founded by Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke & Duchess of Sussex.
Debra and Mandana describe themselves as “best friends and super nerds” on their podcast, “The Dissenters,” and together are working to create safe spaces online for Jews to learn, discuss, and contribute to the most important conversations being had across society today.
Elisheva Rishon is the creative genius behind @therealeli7designs. Her brand promotes Jewish pride and kindness, much like Elisheva herself. She is also an outspoken activist for the black and orthodox Jewish communities, producing both inspirational and educational content. We can't praise her (and her wonderful work) enough!
Lani Mekeel is a Jewish Lakota Activist based out of LA. She described herself as a pro-peace activist and she frequently talks about her experiences being a mixed Lakota-Jew. She points out the hypocrisy of some activists and groups who hold double standards for Jews. She is uniquely able to speak to a variety of indigenous topics and we are proud of her for using her voice to stand up for justice for all.
@yourjewishlife, @smashingtheglass, @smashinglifeclub, and @jewishjoyjournal. These four accounts with a combined 73.5K followers on Instagram are all the brainchild of Karen Cinnamon. Her accounts cover a variety of Jewish topics making her a powerful voice both within and outside the Jewish community. She’s all about Jewish love, which we love.
Everyone knows the iconic Jewish chef and a TikTok sensation, Jake Cohen. From turning Challah into viral videos to promoting Jewish culture via his cookbook Jew-ish, Jake is definitely a Jewish voice who made a massive impact this year.
Liz Kleinrock is the founder of Teach and Transform, an anti-bias anti-racist teacher training group. Liz is a Korean, Jewish and queer author and consultant. Her group, Teach and Transform, has partnered with many organizations such as Nike, University of Oregon, and Teach for America. Through her work for justice and equality, Liz has reached countless people and never minimized her Jewish identity. We adore her and are so proud of this member of our tribe.
The American actress, often recognized for her roles in such films as Legally Blond and Cruel Intentions, has also done audio work, including narrating the 2010 audiobook for The Diary of Anne Frank. She was recently recognized as one of the “Silence Breakers” selected as Time Person of the Year in 2017, and received the Equity in Entertainment Award in 2021. She continues to work to assist others who face the challenges of multiple sclerosis and regularly talks about being Jewish- even recently talking about it in Kveller.
Dr. Logan Levkoff
Dr. Logan Levkoff is one of the foremost experts on human sexuality and personal relationships. Dr. Levkoff has used her expertise on Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Rachael Ray Show, The CBS Early Show, Oprah, Fox News Channel, and CNN. She also regularly writes for HuffPost, and has published multiple books. Though she stays busy professionally, she continues to advocate for justice — fighting for Jews and our humanity alongside JNF and TLVI, as well as other online avenues where she is a fierce voice for Jews, gender and LGBTQ+ equality.
Hallel Silverman, aka @hallel_ujah on Instagram, has been involved in the Jewish activism scene for over a decade. She is heavily involved with Women of the Wall and speaking up and out to young Jewish groups. We are here for progressive Jewish activism!
Hughie Stone Fish
Hughie Stone Fish makes up one third of the genius comedy group known as Lewberger. With memorable songs like “White People Taco Night'' and skits on Tiktok about making up Broadway lyrics on the spot, Hughie Stone Fish has been seen sporting a huge Magen David throughout it all. His near-universal appeal to younger people has exposed so many to the image of a proud Jew.
Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen has made a career out of satire in which he uses outrageous characters like Ali G and Borat to draw unsuspecting others into revealing some of their ugly bigotries. Bigotries like… antisemitism. Borat is a deeply antisemitic character, which enables the people who Borat encounters to feel comfortable exposing their own. He has also taken on serious roles, most recently playing Eli Cohen in The Spy. We love the unusual but effective route Sacha Baron Cohen is taking to defend the Jewish people, and his more conventional activism, including a powerful speech about social media for the ADL is pretty great too.
Aly Silverberg, aka @jewishgirlprobs, has been making people laugh for years with her funny and relatable memes about being a young Jew. Her memes take complicated Jewish topics and put them into a digestible and easily shareable format for Jews to repost and to show non-Jews what we are all about.
Lucy Lipiner is a Holocaust Survivor who has recently taken to social media to combat Holocaust denial and misuse. By sharing images and stories from her childhood in Nazi-occupied Poland, Lucy has been able to bring such raw and personal take to the current Holocaust narrative online, one that many young people need to see.
Liz Kennedy is the genius founder behind Beauty Magnet — described as “the Swiss Army Knife of Beauty”, featuring 5 beauty tools magnetized and stuck together in a Swiss Army Knife Style fashion. Kennedy’s genius has allowed her to amass a social media following of over 99k, and posts about her trips to Israel and flourishing Jewish Identity. We are proud of her for presenting our community in a positive and enjoyable light.
Lucia da Silva
Lucia da Silva rose to prominance during July 2022 for her Bat Mitzvah at the Kotel. While this may seem like a routine occurrence for such a holy site in Jerusalem, but da Silva’s Bat Mitzvah was unique as she led a Torah reading — an act forbidden to women by the ultra-orthdox, especially at the Western Wall. She was heckled and cat-called throughout her bat mitzvah, but she persevered. We are proud of Lucia for standing up for equality and justice for all Jews.
Matthew Nouriel is more widely known by their alter persona of Empress Mizrahi. Their Persian, Jewish, and Queer identity has allowed them to reach tens of thousands of people online on a variety of topics including Judaism, Zionism and Israel. They have also been published in Jewish Journal, Hey Alma, and other blogs and websites.
Simone Friedman is the Founder and Chair of the Partnership for Patient Advocacy, and manages several charitable giving programs under the EJF Philanthropies umbrella. In addition to patient advocacy, Simone’s interests include promoting a food system that centers around health, sustainability, and justice — lifting up entrepreneurship and opportunities for new business creation, and supporting efforts to help close the racial wealth gap. Simone embodies many Jewish values in her work, but most of all her commitment to repairing the world, Tikkun Olam, which is one of the many reasons she is high up on our list.
Tova Ricardo, known as @tovathepoet on instagram, has been sharing her content for years, inspiring many in both the Black and Jewish communities. In recent years, she has used her platform to advocate for both communities. Her art, poetry and beautiful ideas have inspired so many Jews around the world, and she doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Mona Molayem is best known for sharing her luxury travels with her social media following. Her jet-setting has taken her everywhere from Colombia to Israel, and she has shared every step of the process with her online fam. We are so proud that she has presented the beauty of Israel in a positive a-political light, and strive to do the same. She also regularly speaks about her Iranian Jewish heritage, which sheds a necessary light on the diversity of our people.
This United Talent Influencer and fashion guru is also known for being a proud Israeli-American Jew. Woot woot. He is outspoken in his continual support for Israel and worldwide Jewry, racking up hundreds of likes and shares for his succinct commentary and great style.
Matchmaker matchmaker, make me a Bashert by Lizzy! In addition to running her matchmaking Instagram page, she is also the proud mom of three adorable children, and an even prouder Zionist. With over 207k followers on Instagram, she posts about her Jewishness regularly and also speaks out in support of Israel at every opportunity. Kol Hakavod Lizzy, and good luck with your role in the next season of the Real Housewives of New York!
Noah Shufutinksy, better known by his stage name “Westside Gravy”, has been releasing iconic Jewish rap music since 2016. His most recent album “Black Kippah Activities” was released this past year with amazing tracks such as “Been Through It” and “Hamsa”. We would definitely recommend listening to this album and his other works during the High Holidays (and every other day).
Sabrina is a freelance journalist and campaigner based in Britain. She specializes in British politics, student issues and antisemitism, and has written for The Telegraph, Mail+, and The Independent ,and has appeared on GBNews and the BBC. After being the target of a harassment campaign by antisemites in her school, she graduated and never stopped fighting for justice. She is a proud Jewish voice and a fair, fierce journalist.
Archie Gootesman is the co-founder of the non-profit, JewBelong. JewBelong is centered around making Judaism inclusive to all and highlighting antisemitism. You may be familiar with Gootesman’s work — her JewBelong Times Square Billboards about the Holocaust and rising antisemitsm went viral and continue to make their rounds on social media. Archie continues to do amazing work and inspire so many Jews every day.
Sefira is an LA born Israel based Judaica artist who creates art around topics such as Judaism, Israel, positivity, and creativity. Her talents have been featured by Chabad, The Forward and many other publications. If you want to see her work regularly, be sure to follow her on Instagram @sefiracreative where she shares the most engaging Jewish art.
Tony J Westbrook
Tony has made a name for himself on TikTok under the username @frumjewishblackboy. In addition to his TikTok presence, Westbrook also works in Jewish education and Civic Engagement. Recently, Westbrook also became the Director of Jewish Service Learning at Repair the World. We are oh so inspired by Tony’s work to continue to repair the world.
Chef Adeena Sussman
Adeena Sussman is the author of NYT bestseller “Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen” and has helped co-author numerous other cookbooks including Chrissy Teigen’s. Adeena has racked up hundreds of thousands of followers, sharing recipes from her cookbooks, and snippets from her life in Tel Aviv. Adeena made Aliyah in 2018 and has since been published in Haaretz and Times of Israel. We cannot wait for her next book!
Yury Revich is a classically trained violinist and composer. He has won the ECHO Klassik Award, the International Classical Music Award, and his recording of Saint-Georges double concertos was listed on the US Billboard classical charts in 2021. In addition to all of these noteworthy awards and achievements, Revich has been an intensely proud Jew, and has spoken up for our community through his prolific art.
Maya Rudoph is a brilliant comedic actor who has been making us laugh since she joined SNL in 2000. From the ‘sweater weather’ skit to the film 'Bridesmaids', her incredible characters are unforgettable. She comes from a musical family, her mother is African American singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton and her father is composer and “pretty adorable Jew’ Richard Rudolph. Maya has been involved in music as well, including a Prince tribute band, called Princess. She’s recently started a production company with BFF (and fellow Jew!) Natasha Lyonne. We can’t wait to see what they will do!
Ilana Kaufman is the Executive Director of the Jews of Color Initiative. She works to bring Jewish life, racial justice and equity into harmony. She was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Code Switch” and has been published in eJewish Philanthropy and the Foundation review. Ilana is a force of justice, inclusion and better representation of Jews of Color. She is a brave voice for Jewish unity through diversity.
Tova Dorfman has too many hats for this short bio but we’ll give it a try: she is the Deputy Chair of the World Zionist Organization, the chair of the Israel Department and Holocause Commemoration Worldwide, a board member of the Israeli Political Party Yesh Atid (and has been since the party’s conception in 2012), Director of Herzl Center and Museum of the World Zionist Organization, and Director of the Steinhardt Family Foundation in Israel. Phew! She oversees the provision of assistance to a variety of nonprofits operating in the area of children and youth at risk, education and young adult leadership. She’s as involved as it gets in positively representing our people.
Chef Michael Solomonov
In the world of culinary art, Chef Solomonov is a legend. He is the founder of the renowned Philadelphia restaurant Zahav which received the James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Restaurant” Award in 2019. He has also been Awarded “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” in 2011. His restaurant Laser Wolf was named as one of the “50 places we’re most excited about” by the New York Times in 2021 and his documentary, “In Search of Israeli Cuisine” much like his best selling books, received audience applause. We admire how this brave Jewish chef never shies away from his identity.
Melissa Chapman is the creative genius behind the Staten Island Family. She regularly posts on the official page and to her personal instagram page where she has amassed over 99k followers. Melissa is a passionate advocate for Zionism and has recently been involved in campaigns such as “You don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist”. We agree.
Tyler Samuels aka @BluntBlackJew has grown an impressive social media presence talking about his experience as a Black, Jamaican Jew. He has also published multiple pieces in Tablet Magazine including “Immoral Esther” about the morality of Queen Esther’s actions in the Purim story. He is a voice for justice and truth, inspiring many in this fight.
Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll
A warrior with a pen — and we don’t mean that figuratively. The ever talented Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll has made it her mission to fight against antisemitism with her writing, featured on The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, The UK Jewish Chronicle, The Forward and much more! This multi-hyphenated woman is not only a podcast host, and a public speaker, but a rockstar mother with a passion to make a better tomorrow.
Israeli Consul General in New York, Ambassador Asaf Zamir, is a long standing Israeli politician and diplomat. From his time as Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv to serving in the Knesset, Asaf has long been a fresh voice for Israel which younger people can relate to better than any Ambassador before. With his wit, charm, and brilliance Ambassador Zamir is representing Israel and the Jewish community to a wider and more engaged audience than ever before. We are big fans and hope he will stay around!
Rabbi Sandra has become one of the strongest Jewish voices on Instagram and Tiktok. As a black, gay, Jewish, military vetran, Rabbi Sandra has been able to reach many people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives to promote positivity and tolerance amongst all people. Her writing and videos make us even prouder to be Jewish.
Keren Hajioff is the Spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s of Israel. She currently serves under Prime Minister Yair Lapid after having also served under former PM Naftali Bennett, as his Special Advisor for Foreign Affairs and Communications. Keren is the youngest person ever to have held these two roles and one of the few people to be asked to work for two Prime Ministers. In her 13 years of IDF service, Hajioff served as the Spokesperson of the Northern Command and as the IDF Head of Social Media. Her work helped the IDF amass 6 million followers on social media in the course of just a few years. She took part in a number of operations and wars in Israel and has been awarded various honors within the military, some of which cannot be shared.
If you are not following Emily Schrader online you are missing a key voice in the fight for women, Israel, and human rights. A long-standing digital creative, Emily has met and advocated for Jews in front of world leaders, including MPs from Canada, the EU, and members of congress, about the crisis of online antisemitism. Her voice is one we are listening to and honored to have. She’s a true heroine for the Jewish people.
With over 100K followers on TikTok, Elisheva works hard to improve the historical and cultural literacy of her followers with humor, book recommendations, and exploring her American, Scottish, and Israeli identities. These tri-national opinions are always interesting and always on point. She never shies away from her Jewish heritage and always speaking up against antisemitism.
Calling all Real Housewives fans! Leah McSweeny, who has appeared on the Real Housewives of New York City since 2020, is a proud Jew! She is also the founder of the women’s streetwear brand Married to the Mob. She recently founded Happy Place, a sustainable home goods and loungewear company. She loves being loud and proud which very much aligns with our personal philosophy.
Yafa Yasmine Esther
Repping the Mizrahi, Bukharan, and Ashkenazi Jewish communities, Yasmine is also an incredible and vocal advocate for disabled Jews. She uses her platform to highlight her love for Jewish culture as well as the struggles that exist both inside, and outside the Jewish community. We love following her work and learn so much from her every day!
An Israeli activist for Jewish and Indigenous rights. Yirmiyahu is a writer and speaker specializing in Jewish diversity and identity. Danzig is of Caribbean, Ashkenazic, and Palestinian Jewish descent. He served as a squad commander in a counter-terrorist unit of the Israeli Border Police. He speaks Hebrew, English, Arabic, Yiddish, and Guyanese Creole. Online he has been a voice for unity and peace and an brilliant Jewish educator.
Rep. Alma Hernandez
Not only a member of the Arizona State Legislature, but the youngest woman to be elected, Rep. Hernandez is a Jewish heroine. She has long worked to coordinate Tuscon’s Jewish Community Relations Council and worked with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Rep. Hernandez has continued to use her position and platform to speak up against antisemitism in Tuscon and around the globe.
Tracy Ann Oberman
Tracy Ann Oberman uses her voice as a renowned British actress to call out antisemitism wherever she sees it. From highlighting the history of antisemitism in her role as Nancy Malinovsky in “Ridley Road” (we loved that show!), to calling out her actor and performers union for its double standards surrounding Israel, when Tracy talks people listen. We sure did listen this year and we love this Jewish queen!
Otherwise known as Rami Matan Even-Esh, Kosha Dillz is an Israeli-American rapper who performed alongside Matisyahu before releasing his debut solo in 2009. He is a cast member on MTV/VH1's Wild N Out with Nick Cannon. Kosha Dillz highlights his Jewish roots through his music, but also through his style, including specialized kippot he features on his Instagram. He uses his platform to highlight his heritage and the beauty of Jewish people and diversity.
If you want to know how to make vegan latkes this is who you ask. Jessica Seinfield has authored three bestselling cookbooks and is the founder of the Good + Foundation, a non-profit which donates goods and services to families in need, in order to relieve the financial load and create opportunities to ‘break the cycle of family poverty.’ Jessica is as true to herself online as she is offline, and advocates for every Jewish person to embrace their idenity — no matter if it’s socially or for yourself.
Lahav Harkov made Aliyah to Israel from New Jersey at age 17 and has thrived and contributed enormously to the country and the Jewish people. She’s the Diplomatic Correspondent at the Jerusalem Post, and frequently interviewed for her expertise on Israeli politics in international news and on podcasts.
Zak is taking the stage by storm — and that’s not just because he was on American Idol! Zak is an actor for film and theater, making his Broadway debut as Sky in Mamma Mia! after appearing off-Broadway in Disaster and Lucky Guy. His singing voice is not the only thing speaking volumes. His efforts as a Jewish man paves the way for future generations to not only embrace their identity, but to actively look for ways to learn more.
Cathy Heller is a coach and creator of the podcast and book ‘Don’t Keep Your Day Job: How to Turn Your Passion Into Your Career.’ She has racked up over 40 million downloads of her inspirational podcast. She feels her Judaism is an important part of her belief that everyone is divinely different, with unique gifts to offer the world.
An Israeli actress, writer, and producer, Noa Tishby has used her platform to advocate against antisemitism wherever it appears. Tishby’s first book, “Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth,” took on the important task of highlighting Israel’s history, and its existence long before 1948. She continues her advocacy and educational outreach online and as a Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism and the Delegitimization of Israel.
While frequently described as ‘Arab’ in the entertainment press, Paula Abdul is in fact a Mizrahi Jew! She is a singer, dancer, choreographer, actress and television personality who’s 80’s/90’s hits are truly iconic. She is the second woman on our list to pursue a ‘late’ Bat Mitzvah, and she chose to have hers in Israel. We love to see a Mizrahi Queen!
Actor, singer, writer and director on film, stage and television…multi-talented Jonah Platt wears many hats and wears them all well. He’s been outspoken in defending Jewish people online and never shy away from speaking up about tough issues the Jewish community is facing. We’re big fans of him being a role model for Jews as an outspoken defender of Israel and the Jewish people.
As the second woman to hold the Chair of Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) position, Julie Platt brings with her a commitment to supporting women’s leadership, strengthening the Israel/diaspora relationship and preserving valuable institutions of American Jewish life, such as the summer camps that have nurtured an enduring love of Jewishness through many generations. Her last name may seem familiar- this is because she is the mother of Jonah, Ben and Henry Platt. Her dedication to Jewish life can be well observed in these three young men who have taken after their mother in speaking out against antisemitism as proud Jews. We just love the Platts!
Esther Perel shook up the world of love advice with her bestseller’ Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence’ which has since been translated into 25 languages. She’s been on Oprah’s Supersoul 100 and Forbes 50 over 50, and reaches millions through her TED talks and podcasts. As the child of Polish Holocaust survivors she credits their enthusiastic embrace of life after trauma for inspiring her study and work. Her approach to relationships comes from her parent’s life experiences and combines grounded realism with deep appreciation for the life-affirming power of passion and desire.
Following a three decade career in film and television, actor Joshua Malina is taking his voice to podcasts. His new work, ‘Chutzpod’, is a collaboration with Rabbi Shira Stutman and works to bring “a Jewish lens to life’s tough questions.” It has been met with great success even being named to The Boston Globe’s ’16 podcasts to keep an ear out for in 2022’ list. He is also one of the most outspoken Jews on twitter.
Jessie & Helena Ware
A food podcast with British Singer/songwriter Jessie Ware and her Jewish mother? Yes please! In addition to interviewing interesting guests of Table Manners, Jessica Ware has been responding to rising antisemitism with increased pride and visibility in her Jewishness. She is now pursuing an adult Bat Mitzvah, which has influenced one of our TLVI staffer to consider the same and surely many other Jews out there.
Rabbi David Wolpe
David Wolpe created waves when he announced his retirement this year after 25 prolific years as the Max Webb Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple. He has embraced the Jewish value of argument, giving public debates on behalf of ‘faith’ with famous atheist intellectuals. His retirement is not an end, simply the ‘next stage of his career’ in which he plans to continue his ongoing conversation with and in defense of the Jewish people. We are lucky to have a leader like Rabbi Wolpe.
Josh Cole and Matthew Waksman - Buttmitzvah
Where else can you dance with Sir Ian McClellan while dressed as one of the 10 plagues other than Buttmitzvah, London’s Queer Jewish clubnight? Josh Cole and Matthew Waksman are some of the creative minds behind this community celebration that Time Out magazine calls ‘Joyous and life-giving.’ Through making a space for LGBTQ+ Jews, they’ve made our community stronger.
Jinkx Monsoon is American drag queen, award-winning stage actress, singer, and winner of the fifth season of reality competition show, RuPaul’s Drag Race. Jinkx Monsoon was 18 when they discovered that despite a Catholic upbringing their mother’s ancestry is Jewish and so Jewishness became an important part of their drag character as a way of reconnecting to their roots. Jinkx Monsoon makes a special effort to reach out to and inspire queer Jewish youth.
This multi-hyphenated woman is both a philanthropist and business woman wrapped in a blanket of Jewish values. “Building more just and inclusive societies in the United States and Israel” has been the driving force as a Jewish advocate and in her support of criminal justice issues, reproductive rights, and voting access — a core element to achieving true equity!
Deborah Lipstadt’s appointment this year as United States Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism was applauded by many worldwide. She’s an eminent historian who’s been on the frontlines of fighting Holocaust denial in all its forms. Her famous 2000 libel case was the basis for the film ‘Denial” starring Rachel Weisz, and she’s been tackling the dangerous rise in ‘soft-core’ denial such as Holocaust comparison and inversion.
Maya is not only active on social media, but has also featured on the PR Power List for several years, as well as being crowned the third most influential women in social media in the United Kingdom. She’s the former global marketing and communications director for LADbible Group and she recently joined the fastest growing social-first talent agency as partner and Managing Director, Connect Management. With her meteoric success in the social media world, Maya has always been proud of her Jewish identity and unapologetic voice supporting the Jewish community.
Being a mother is already a full-time job, and a Jewish mom no less, but Miriam is making moves and serving as a resource to as many new parents as possible. She’s not only writing blogs about her journey, she’s even sharing the best deals for new parents and even providing reasons why! TLVi can’t recommend her website enough! If you haven’t already, theverybestbabystuff.com has everything you need to prepare yourself as a new parent!
Avery Stone Fish
A rockstar entrepreneur and artist using his passion for diversity, equality and inclusion, and implementing it in his work. You’ll might find him behind the scenes of a music video, marketing video as a director, producer and videographer. If he’s not holding a camera, then he’s either composing, working with his non-profit, @theartsprojectsyracuse, or collaborating as a Co-Founder at Stone Fish Studios. If you haven’t followed him on his social media — you’re missing out on a great time.
Also known as @itsnata, is using art as a medium to advocate for social issues, but as a reminder to prioritize your mental health! Mental health awareness is a huge part of Israeli based inspirational voice Nata’s mission to even the online-playing-field with more kindness and awareness. She is a warrior with more then 60 thousand followers, providing tools and references to populate the online-world with — as you’ll find on her profile — “joy, alignment and purpose”.
Russell F. Robinson
If you planted a tree in Israel for your B’nei Mitzvah, you’re going to want to read about this influential Jew. Russell F Robinson is the CEO of the Jewish National Fund-USA and is their youngest CEO since he took his position in 1997. Before his time at the Jewish National Fund-USA, he worked at United Jewish Appeal. Robinson has been named to numerous lists of influential people and influential Jews, but we felt the need to spotlight him again for all his amazing work.
Rabbi Yiscah Smith
Yiscah Smith is a spiritual activist, educator and influencer who shares Jewish mystical practices in order to help others connect to the Divine Spark within themselves. Her work aims to show the beauty of Jewish spirituality to a broader audience in order to reduce stigma. Yiscah teaches primarily at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Israel and at Applied Jewish Spirituality. She’s a true inspirational leader for countless Jews.
Vivianne Bowell invites us back in time to taste a lost world. Her cookbook ‘A Culinary Legacy, recipes from a Sephardi Egyptian Kitchen’ shares the flavors of growing up in Egypt, while her memoir ‘To Egypt With Love’ details her family’s urgent escape to England in 1956 when Arab states were expelling Jews. Memories like hers are an important part of bringing attention to this still under-represented period in Jewish history. We are truly inspired by her book and her work.
Sara Yael Hirschorn
Sara Yael Hirschorn is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Israel Studies at Northwestern University. Sara first made a name for herself back in 2017 when she published her book “City on a Hilltop: American Jews and the Israeli Settler Movement”. She has also been a contributor to New York Times, Haaretz and the Times of Israel. Online she’s been a voice for Jews and educated twitter users aboutour story and identity.
Robi Damelin is an Israeli peace activist who first became involved after her son, David, was killed by a Palestinian sniper when he was serving in the IDF Reserves in 2002. Since then, she has become the spokesperson and Director of International Relations for The Parents Circle Family Forum- an organization that attempts to bring peace and reconciliation between bereaved families from all sides of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Dr. Saba Somekh
Dr. Saba Somekh is an Iranian-American professor and writer who was born to a Persian Jewish family in Tehran. Her family escaped Iran to Los Angeles during the Iranian revolution and she eventually earned degrees from UC Berkeley, Harvard and UC Santa Barbara. She is best known for her work surrounding the Persian Jewish community in LA, and published a paper “Tehrangeles” that studied the intersection of Jewish, Persian, American, and Israeli Identity amongst the community.
Ronald Lauder keeps his dedication to defending the Jewish people at the heart of his widely varied professional, diplomatic and philanthropic career which has included negotiating on behalf of Israel with the Syrian President, opening an art gallery in Manhattan and establishing a charity seeking new treatments for Alzheimers. He also sponsors The Ronald S. Lauder Fellowship with the World Jewish Congress to train young leaders to be empowered and effective advocates for the state of Israel and Jewish people worldwide.
The British best selling author is also a major content creator across social media. Dov Forman worked to interview his 98-year-old great-grandmother, Lily Ebert, during the pandemic. Those conversations led to the publication of “Lily’s Promise,” telling Lily’s story of survival during the Holocaust before moving to Israel. Not only did great-grandson feature his great-grandmother’s story in words, but also launched her to social media stardom on TikTok.
A New York based stand-up comedian, Alex Edelman found success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014. Alex grew up in an Orthodox family and, while spending a year studying at a yeshiva in Jerusalem, helped to build the city’s first comedy club, Off the Wall Comedy. He has also worked with rabbis to help them include more humor into their services during the pandemic to help brighten everyone’s lives.
Ali Cobrin Resnick
Ali is an actress, model who embraces her Jewish identity and splits time between New York and Los Angeles. You’ll see her incredible work as an actress in "American Reunion", “Neighbors" and “The Iron Orchard or in the upcoming television series, “The Baxter’s”.
Rabbi Angela Buchdahl
Rabbi Angela Buchdahl is a woman of many ‘firsts.’ She is the first woman to lead the Central Synagogue in New York City as Senior Rabbi in its 180 year history. She is also the first Asian-American woman to be ordained as a Rabbi. Her work has involved combining Judaism and other cultures and her essay ‘Kimchee on the Seder plate’ describes her Korean mother substituting kimchee for the biting taste of horseradish, emblematic of the ‘mixed multitude’ that is the Jewish people.
Dame Maureen Lipman has had a long career acting on film, stage, television and comedy. She’s taken on some specifically Jewish roles, in the movie The Pianist and is currently starring as an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor in Rose at the Park Theatre. Lipman has long been an outspoken critic of antisemitism in the UK, especially within the Labour Party as well as by calling out the distortions in the media’s coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
HAIM: Este Arielle, Danielle Sari, and Alana Mychal
The HAIM Sisters! If you are a swiftie, you are already well acquainted with this musically talented sister group. If you haven’t heard of HAIM, you need to listen to their cover of “That Don’t Impress Me Much”. The HAIM sisters have opened for worldwide artists like Taylor Swift and have been proud Jews through the entire thing. If you haven’t ever noticed- their band name means “life” in Hebrew.
American journalist and author, Jake Tapper is best known for hosting The Lead with Jake Tapper and State of the Union on CNN. Jake attended Jewish summer camp growing up as well as an independent Jewish day school. “I spend more time devoted to doing good deeds, which is part of Judaism, than praying …” he told Jewish Insider. He regularly speaks up for Jewish people and uses his prominence for good.
A drag performer who came to prominence as a participant on the ninth season of reality competition show RuPaul’s Drag Race, Alexis went on to star in the reality program Dragnificent on TLC. Alexis grew up going to Shabbat dinners in the West Village of New York and has stated that drag and Judaism are related because they are both about being “your most authentic.” Alexis has shown so many LGBTQIA+ Jews that they can have a home in Judaism when there are often so many voices saying the contrary.
Mila Kunis was born to Jewish parents and Holocaust surviving grandparents in Ukraine, when it was controlled by the Soviet Union. For many reasons, including antisemitism, her parents left- bringing the family to the US when Mila Kunis was seven. This year, she made a heartfelt and powerful condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and with her husband Ashton Kutcher raised over 30 million dollars for fleeing refugees. She also stood in defense of Israelis when she signed a letter along with 200 other celebrities denouncing a cultural boycott of Israel.
Gidon Lev and Julie Gray
Gidon Lev was one of very few children to survive in the concentration camp he was imprisoned at, and later made his way to Israel to farm on a kibbutz and help build the state. Julie Gray made a conversion to Judaism when marrying her first husband only to find herself much later deeply pulled to make Aliyah. They met when she was going to edit his memoir and found themselves in a surprising partnership of love and creativity. Gidon has also been creating videos (for almost half a million followers) on TikTok to curb rising antisemitism.
British businessman, entrepreneur and media personality Alan Sugar was born to a Jewish tailor in London’s East End. He is now known as the “Boss” on both the BBC as well as the Australian Apprentice reality competitions. He went from being an active member and donor of Britain’s labour party to a strong critic of the antisemitism that sharply increased during the Corbyn era.
Vanessa Feltz started her career as the first female columnist for The Jewish Chronicle before going on to become a television personality, radio broadcaster, and journalist and having her own chat show “the Vanessa Show”. Vanessa has referred to her Jewish background in England as being similar to “growing up in Fiddler on the Roof”. Vanessa is an advocate for actors all around, using her voice to improve representation, not only raising awareness online — but in the hollywood offices demanding for accurate Jewish representation!
Born in Jerusalem to Mizrahi and Ashkenazi parents, Sarah has been inspired by the contrasts and juxtapositions she found in her environment. Her eye for beauty within realism has made her stand out as a casting director, and she is now working on her first feature film. We’re excited to watch her art grow!
At 19 years old, Ysabella Hazan, entered her first year of law school and has since been speaking around the work for her Zionism while using her online platform to fight for am Israel. Ysabella has worked at the Israeli consulate in public affairs and diplomacy. She founded a global Jewish empowerment movement called Decolonized Judean aimed at shifting culture and the narrative around Israel and the Jewish people. Through her work as a strategist, writer and advocate she has been recognized as Canada’s top 13 advocates and among the world’s top 50 Israeli activists, her work has even brought her to speak at the capital in Washington.
Mayan is an Israeli born and New York based photographer who has turned her lens towards an intimate view of a diverse range of communities, from LGBT youth in Mexico to women in the IDF. Her work has appeared everywhere from Vice to Vogue to the New York Times. We’re sure we will see many wonderful things from Mayan!
Michelle was raised by a Jewish mother and Hispanic father but with very little connection to Jewish community. Eventually she felt she needed to understand Israel and her Jewish roots which led to an exploration that resulted in taking a strong stand for the Jewish people. She has since made Aliyah and taken on a very long list of projects from central Shlicha to Hillel International to director of diaspora education at Stand With Us. We are so very appreciative of her deep commitment.
Step into the mind of Joshua Cogan with his breath taking photography that will take you through more than 65 countries, and been recognized across the globe, like SXSW, National Academy of TV and Science, and much more. His work documenting Jewish communities around the world would amaze you! Joshua is paving the way for future generations who love to explore and use their identity as a way of expression.
Nicola Mendelsohn CBE was raised in an Orthodox home, the child of a Kosher caterer, and in 2021 was named vice-president of Meta’s Global Business Group. By the time she was a senior in University, she had already raised £20000 for Jewish causes, and Jewish identity and community has been consistently important in her life. In 2018 she announced her diagnosis with a blood cancer called follicular lymphoma and launched a Foundation in 2019 dedicated to finding a cure within the decade. We are wishing her our very best!
Felicity Spector is a UK journalist who also educates an Instagram following of over 100k. This foodie features challah and tahini, among other delicacies, online. She has worked as a judge on The Great Taste Awards and written food features for website, Great British Chefs. She has made a number of food centered trips to Israel and posted about her experiences for her large following- showing off some of the best Israel has to offer.
Talia was born in Israel, moved to New York as a child and then moved back to Israel as an adult. She’s been a devoted practitioner and teacher of Yoga for many years. Her philosophy for life and practice ‘Love and all is coming’ truly infuses everything she does. She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband, artist Ezra Baderman, and her son and daughter. She’s very active on Instagram, sharing her beautiful yoga practice and family life to over 480k followers and in May of 2021 she used her large platform to discuss antisemitism and to counter the disinformation being spread in relation to the Israel/Hamas war.
Laur Plawker and Ash M. Seruya
Laur and Ash are the Jewish mental health awareness duo the world has been searching for! Using their cleverly named podcast, Kvetching On The Couch, Laur and Ash use their power to have weekly conversations about important mental health topics, spreading their message across ApplePodcast, Spotify and more!
Individually, Laur is not only an activist with her words, but her cooking too! You don’t get a name like @thehealinghappycook without living up to your expectation. Laur is using her incredible Jewish recipes to heal the online world one Challah at a time. Ash is not only an artist, but a psychotherapist too. She runs the popular Instagram page @badashtherapy and using her platform to tackle issues, from eating disorder recovery to antisemitism. Both of them are no nonsense and fearless, and we’re big fans!
Eric Andre is a stand-up comedian, a producer, writer and actor. His parody talk show The Eric Andre Show ran for 5 seasons and his film Bad Trip also stars Tiffany Haddish, another Jew we love! He’s been to Israel twice, once for Birthright (we’ve heard rumors that he still reminisces about it) and another time to perform a comedy show in Tel Aviv. On Passover. NBD.