Moving Tradition’s Kumi Teen Leadership Experience prepares Jewish teens in 11th and 12th grade for bold leadership and activism on college campuses, in social justice spaces, and wherever else their passions take them. Participants of the program will be equipped to interrupt racism, antisemitism, and other manifestations of oppression. Together, they will contribute to the building of more inclusive communities and movements for justice as Jews. We are pleased to welcome our 2023-2024 participants.
Eliyashu B. L.
Ezri R. – M.
Beckee Birger is the Fellowship Director (she/her/hers) for Kumi: An Anti-Oppression Teen Leadership Experience. Beckee’s passion for social justice has led her through a variety of jobs, such as special education attorney, AmeriCorp program manager, and career advisor at an education non-profit. She believes engaging people of all ages, but especially youth, in political education and community organizing is critical to our future, and she’s proud to celebrate her Judaism through a deep commitment to social change. In her free time, she’s a co-founder of JCUA’s Kol Or Jews of Color Caucus, a co-facilitator of Tzedek Lab’s Political Educators kabal, and she’s an avid board game player.
Rabbi Tamara Cohen, Chief Program Officer (she/her/hers), guides and supports Moving Traditions’ strategy, program development and partnership work in collaboration with her fabulous colleagues. Tamara knows that Jewishly-engaged, intersectional feminists of all genders can and will change the world. She is proud to have initiated Tzelem and Kol Koleinu and to be working on a new project for older teens to navigate issues of race, gender, sex, antisemitism, and Jewish identity today. Tamara is a board member of Women’s March, on her synagogue’s anti-racism task force and a member of the Bnot Esh Jewish feminist spirituality collective. A past participant in the Selah Leadership Program, Gen Now Fellowship and Rabbis without Borders, she is currently studying Movement Chaplaincy. Tamara was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and earned an MA in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA in Women’s Studies and English summa cum laude from Barnard College. When Tamara isn’t moving traditions and the Jewish community, she can be found reading and writing poetry, organizing community ritual, walking in Carpenter’s Woods, or having fun with her partner, Dr. Gwynn Kessler and their two children (preferably off screen but also, often, on).
Paige GoldMarche (she/her/hers) is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director who is expanding and supporting the Philadelphia region and beyond. She is also a Kol Koleinu Cohort leader. Paige holds an MA degree in Jewish Communal Service from Baltimore Hebrew Institute at Towson University, a Certificate in Non-Profit Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and a BA in International Development and Social Change from Clark University. When Paige isn’t connecting educators and teens to life-changing curriculum, she can be found hanging out with her wife and amazing kids, hunting down the best playgrounds in their new neighborhood in Philadelphia, and appreciating new and funky beers!
Chris Messinger believes in the power of young people. As a youthworker for more than 20 years, Chris has supported thousands of teens to find their voice and power in a world that doesn’t always recognize their brilliance. The “akusherke” (midwife) of several anthologies of teen stories, including Speak Up! and Out of the Blue! Chris revels in the power of story-telling to forge connection and speak truth to power. He co-founded the Social Justice Leadership Institute and the Sub/Urban Justice Program, which bring young people together across difference to make a better world. Some of his favorite things include seasonal fruit and spending time with his nieces. Chris writes all his bio’s in the third person, because otherwise it just feels like bragging – but a small handful of people have told him he’s pretty great.
Rachel Chang (she/her) is a Jewish musician, songleader, and educator, as well as a music therapist, living in Philadelphia, PA. Drawing from the many communities and identities that have shaped her, Rachel leads with expressive guitar, sensitive listening, and a deep intention to cultivate belonging. She leads music and prayer in a variety of communities, including at LUNAR, a collective and community of Asian Jews, and with children and families at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in NYC. She is also the director of A Queer Nigun Project, which uses nigunim as a collective healing practice for LGBTQIA+ people, for Jews of Color, and for incarcerated people in Jewish community. As a queer and multiracial Chinese-American Jew, Rachel has spent years grappling with what it means to belong, to take up space, and to be heard in Jewish community, and she has found music to be an invaluable resource.
Kumi is made possible by support from the Shards of Light Foundation through the Isabel P. Dunst Philanthropic Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington