Karen Shalev, a sophomore and the 2020-21 StandWithUs Emerson Fellow at Worcester State University, was awarded $5,000 in grant funding for her winning proposal for the sixth annual World Jewish Congress Campus Pitch Competition. The winning pitches, including Karen’s and two others, were presented virtually via Zoom on Feb. 16.

Shalev presented her idea, “Shattering Glass Ceilings,” which provides a unique focus on Israeli innovation and diversity. This initiative will take the form of a glass walk-through exhibition with audio capabilities that will share stories of Israeli accomplishments that have broken glass ceilings.

Shalev remarked: “I am so excited to put on my event, ‘Shattering Glass Ceilings,’ to showcase the true diversity of Israel. This event allows nuance to be introduced into conversations about Israel while inspiring participants to shatter their own glass ceiling.” She is majoring in visual and performing arts and communication. Learn more about the competition and see Shalev’s project here.

Shalev was also featured in the StandWithUs New England Antisemitism Training Speaker Series on Feb. 15. It provides both high school and campus students the opportunity to engage with speakers on how to combat hatred and antisemitism in their own communities. The series is organized by StandWithUs New England senior campus coordinator Eliza Kanner and high school coordinator Stephanie Margolis.

Shalev translated to English as her grandmother, Holocaust survivor Michal Engel, told her story in Hebrew. Born in Paris in 1940, Michal was one of the French hidden children of the Holocaust. At 13, she won a competition whose prize was a trip to Israel and, soon after, she made aliyah. Michal described how she created a life for herself in the nascent state. She attained a bachelor’s in art and a master’s in education. Michal worked as a teacher, then principal, of a special needs elementary school in Yafo for many years before retiring. Michal resides in Israel as a proud grandmother of four and has become a renowned painter. It’s truly an inspirational story.

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