As a new member of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s administrative team, Aliyah Vinikoor is looking forward to implementing the school’s JustCity social justice summer program for high school juniors and seniors “who have demonstrated a commitment to social change,” according to its website.
The Seattle native took the post of assistant dean of List College, the university’s undergraduate college, last year, directing the Fellowship for Jewish Social Entrepreneurship.
This is the first professional Jewish organization position for Aliyah, who grew up at Congregation Ezra Bessaroth and taught in its religious school. With a BA from Barnard and MSW from Hunter College, she worked for many years running shelters for homeless LGBT youth in New York City.
Aliyah says she’s excited about JustCity, which launches this summer. The school had always offered an academic summer program, but the social justice curriculum is new.
“High school students are already involved in this kind of social change work,” she says, and the program can give them the leadership tools they need. Plus, she adds, “New York in the summer is such a fun place to be.”
It’s a hybrid program, combining learning and action at the core of “Jewish tradition,” says Aliyah. “You learn in order to do.”
While she misses Seattle and the work-life balance she sees here, New York is “a really exciting place to be.”
“A huge swath of diverse communities” allows for an increasing grassroots movement in interfaith work and there is increased environmental consciousness.
“I’m part of the Jewish Greening Fellowship,” Aliyah notes. She also goes to concerts and a lot of gallery openings, and is active in the Jewish meditation community in Brooklyn, where she lives.
“It’s easy to get booked up,” she says.
• • •
Bonnie Rochman reads the Time Magazine with her cover story. (Photo: Joel Magalnick)
The cute baby on the cover of the Dec. 24, 2012 issue of Time Magazine may have caught your attention, but you probably didn’t know that the author of the cover story is Seattle’s Bonnie Rochman.
Bonnie writes a daily blog for Time called “Family Matters,” which she calls “a mix of research and culture, pop culture, society, current events” on parenting and related issues. She’s blogged since 2010, but this was her first cover story.
It came from an on-line series she did on genome sequencing in children, she explains, a five-part series that appeared on Time.com. The cover story was slated for November, “but then the Petraeus story broke,” she says, and it was bumped.
It was really exciting when it finally came out, Bonnie recalls, despite “a fair amount of stress involved with the whole production,” but she got a lot of great feedback from family and friends who saw the magazine in gas stations and airports around the country and sent her pictures.
A news correspondent for many years, Bonnie has reported from the Middle East, Myanmar and Vietnam for the Boston Globe, and for the Jerusalem Report and Fortune. She was at the News Observer in Raleigh, N.C., about eight years ago when they assigned her a new parenting blog.
“Newspapers were starting to realize that [they had to] stay current,” she says.
She wrote about her kids, “but not in a ‘my kids are so cute’ kind of way, more in a ‘trying to connect with other parents and talk about universal challenges’ way,” she says.
Bonnie was already a Time freelancer when the magazine launched its Healthland website and asked her to write about parenting. She blogs daily, which can be stressful, but still fun.
“I learn lots of new things [and] I get to talk to lots of very smart people, that’s my favorite part,” she says.
Growing up in a tight-knit Jewish community in North Carolina, Bonnie met her husband, Dov Pinker, when she studied at Hebrew University for a year. Dov, Bonnie and kids Aviv, Shira and Orli moved to Seattle in 2010 when Dov took a job here. They’ve become active members of Congregation Beth Shalom, where Bonnie coordinates the synagogue’s annual family camp. The weather’s been the biggest adjustment.
“We understand why people drop everything when the sun comes out,” she says.
They’ve been bitten by the Pacific Northwest camping bug, too.
“We moved here with no gear whatsoever and now we have Therm-a-Rests galore,” laughs Bonnie. “We didn’t even know that word when we moved out here!”