Class Correspondent

Rafi Abramowitz’s first play, “Truth of a Cause,” premiered in summer 2016 as part of New York City’s Midtown International Theatre Festival. The play is based on Rafi’s experiences with depression at Brandeis. Frustrated with feeling like two separate people, he personified his introverted and extroverted sides to work through their (his) issues, using the magic of theater and comedy. The play is dedicated to Jonathan Roth. David Benger was selected to the inaugural cohort of Schwarzman Scholars in Beijing, a group of 100 individuals selected from a pool of more than 3,000 applicants from 135 countries. He is pursuing a master’s in international relations at Tsinghua University. After his year as a Schwarzman Scholar, David plans to pursue a law degree, with the goal of maximizing the efficacy of international legal institutions and raising the profile of international human rights on diplomatic agendas. Alex Bernstein, who lives in Miami Beach, works at the Jeffrey Group, a consultancy that specializes in corporate communications and marketing in Latin America. He writes, “I miss Waltham, but I can’t complain about this weather.” Lydia Emmanouilidou, an associate producer for WGBH News’ higher-education desk, was part of the production team behind NPR’s award-winning investigative series “Injured Nurses.” Lydia identified sources, conducted interviews, gathered sound used in the radio reports and contributed to web components. Emily Eng is pursuing a master’s of music in conducting at the New England Conservatory. She is assistant conductor and general manager for the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra. Tali (Avital) Friedland married AJ (Abraham) Varon ’15 on Aug. 21, 2016. They met during AJ’s first semester at Brandeis. Luke Hayslip and Danielle Gross celebrated their fifth anniversary of being together. Luke is in the second year of an MSW program at Rutgers University and works at Princeton HealthCare. Danielle is in her third year at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Jennifer Mandelbaum graduated from Yale with a master’s in public health and is pursuing a PhD in health promotion, education and behavior at the University of South Carolina. Alexandra Patch worked as a speech-language pathology assistant at a public elementary school in Windsor, Vermont, in 2015. She is now pursuing a master’s in communication sciences and disorders at the University of Vermont. Brendan Reardon works in computational oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute. In 2014, after graduation, Andrea Verdeja (along with Abie Troen) won funding from Davis Projects for Peace to work in rural India with Hindu and Muslim “untouchable” women. Andrea filmed a documentary that explored the gender- and caste-based practice of manual scavenging. Today, she is a humanitarian protection officer for Oxfam in the Dominican Republic, where she led the creation of the country’s first protection cluster to guarantee human rights during disasters and in emergency settings. Aaron Weinberg, MA’15, was named Jewish outreach director at the Democratic National Committee, and led efforts in Jewish communities during the presidential election campaign. The Chicago native has extensive experience in Democratic politics, and Jewish and pro-Israel activism and training.

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