When I reach Fay Koyfman by WhatsApp, she’s just landed in Israel after a week on the March of the Living with her senior class from Northwest Yeshiva High School. The march was especially meaningful, because her grandmother is a survivor.

“I was able to march for my grandmother, who isn’t able to do that,” says Koyfman, whose family emigrated in 1991 from the former Soviet Union. Koyfman was accepted into Bryn Mawr for the fall but is taking a gap year at Midreshet Torah v’Avodah seminary in Israel, which she believes will bolster her Jewish values. “There are people who are going to say your ideology is wrong,” she says. “That’s the whole reason I’m studying and trying to put myself out there and indulging all these experiences — so I know what to say and how to stick up for myself.”

AGE 18


ROLE MODELS Her mom and grandma

Koyfman was active in environmental initiatives at The Jewish Day School and brought that passion to NYHS. With her sister, she recently led a project called Give a Stitch, where they upcycled sweaters into hats for people experiencing homelessness.

“Ten percent of a landfill is made up of clothing,” she says. “I wanted to do something to reduce pollution in the clothing industry.”

Koyfman, who aspires to be a pediatrician, is also involved with The Friendship Circle. She has become so intertwined with two families that she visits one of them every year in Denver, where they now live. On top of all this, she has a job at Arena Sports, sits on the Seattle NCSY board, and recently took up ukulele.

“It feels really busy,” she says, “but it keeps me fulfilled [knowing] that I’m helping everyone I want to help.”

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