2020 Recipients of Rabbi Rosenberg Tikkun Olam Scholarship Award
The Rabbi Rosenberg Tikkun Olam Scholarship Award Committee has selected Trevor Fornara, Ellanora Lerner and Jared Linder as this year’s honorees. Since its inception in 2016, the Award Committee has only once selected multiple recipients of the Scholarship Award. This year’s honorees are all so deserving, that the committee was unable to choose from these three amazing graduates who each epitomize the meaning of Tikkun Olam!
Trevor Fornara is the son of Susan and Chris Fornara of Stonington. Trevor has grown up at Temple Emanu-El. He joined the Religious School in first grade and as he says, “have never ceased to be involved since.” In his application essay, Trevor speaks about “being consumed by a need to give back to the community that has contributed so much to my Jewish identity.” The list of ways that Trevor has contributed is a very long one: tutor and Faculty Assistant at the Religious School, Secretary and President of Yachad BBYO, member of the Temple’s Communication Committee, Youth Representative on the Temple Board, and Assistant Advisor of the Junior Youth Group. In his “spare time,” Trevor attended Jewish Community High School, celebrated his confirmation, wrote numerous articles for the Jewish Leader and has assisted in many community service projects for Temple Emanu-El and Yachad BBYO. Trevor is also extremely active in service to the town of Stonington and his high school: 150 hours of volunteer work for Stonington’s Community Center summer camps, after-school programs, food drives and beach clean-ups. Throughout his middle school and high school years, Trevor has been a leader for the Special Olympics Unified Activities, working with special needs individuals in sports and other school activities. Trevor truly believes in “Tikkun Olam” and has made it a significant part of his life.
Ellanora Lerner is the daughter of Emily and Arthur Lerner of New London. Ellanora became a member of Temple Emanu-El in sixth grade. In her own words, she has become an active member and youth leader, because she believes that “community is a necessary part of Jewish identity” for young people. In her essay, Ellanora describes the countless ways she has contributed to the Temple Emanu-El community: Vice President of Programming for Yachad BBYO, Faculty Assistant for the Religious School, student at the Jewish Community High School, a member of the Confirmation Class. As Vice President of Yachad BBYO, Ellanora has been instrumental in designing the group’s “mission statement,” creating a scholarship to pay for BBYO membership for all teen synagogue members, and expanding the group’s collaborations with other synagogues, community groups and churches. Ellanora is a talented writer and uses these skills to express her thoughts about her identity as a woman and a Jew. She is a member of and writes for both, “Jewish Women’s Archive’s Rising Voices Fellowship” and “Risen Zine”. As a student at Fishers Island School, “very small, not very diverse”, Ellanora brought the Jewish Federation’s Encountering Survivors and Encountering Differences program to her classmates. Ellanora works tirelessly to improve the world and help others. Last summer she volunteered at Safe Futures and this summer she had planned to work with Connecticut Legal Services, to assist low-income Connecticut residents.
Jared Linder is the son of Deborah Linder and Sam Linder of Waterford. Jared attended Solomon Schechter Academy and Temple Emanu-El Religious School and is an active participant at both Temple Emanu-El and Beth-El Synagogue. He is an honor student at Waterford High School. In his essay, Jared talks about being the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, and the promise he made to his grandfathers “to be a mensch”. Jared credits his leadership ability and his confidence to be an activist for world causes to his role models in the Jewish Community. He is a strong advocate for Social Justice and is outspoken on gun violence, climate change, mental health reform and migration. Like his fellow recipients, Jared has an impressive list of contributions to the Jewish Community: Faculty Assistant at the Religious School, Vice President of Jewish Heritage for Yachad BBYO, President of Yachad BBYO, Vice President of Jewish Heritage for the Connecticut Valley Region of BBYO, student at Jewish Community High School and a member of the Confirmation class. Jared has also been instrumental in assisting with temple fundraisers and driving senior citizens to services at Beth-El. Jared takes great pride in having led services at both synagogues, blown the shofar, read from the Torah and given D’var Torah.
It is unclear at this time, whether we will be able to honor Trevor, Ellanora and Jared in person. However, I hope our pride in their accomplishments is demonstrated in this written tribute. Their names will be added in our place of honor on the plaque in the Temple Atrium. We wish them the very best as they begin their college careers in the fall.