Family, Friends, Hobbies, & Interests
My Roots and Family
My family’s rich culture opens doors for an array of enriching experiences. With family in every corner of the world– from the United States to Mexico, France, and Israel– I enjoy listening to their stories and learning about our history. Additionally, we stay close to our roots by keeping traditions alive and exploring further through traveling.
At home, we celebrate all the Jewish holidays in addition to our weekly Friday night dinners. Inviting our close friends and other family members, many who are academics or professionals, we always try to infuse meaning and education into our evening. With often set topics for conversation that connect to the holiday, our heated discussions are filled with a variety of perspectives. For example, this year during our Passover ‘seder,’ each guest was tasked with commenting on what enslaves and frees them in their personal lives. Adding a spice of intimacy and controversy to each celebration, we learn more about each other as our discussions go deep into the night.
Traveling with my family will always be a very prominent part of my life. Each year, we explore various new states and countries. Oftentimes, we choose to areas based on the country’s history and culture. From Morocco to Guatemala to Israel and all over Europe– my global perspective has enhanced my development and maturity over the years. For example, in Central America, my eyes were opened up to true poverty. Beyond coming home more appreciative for the life I have, I reflected further. I was amazed to see how people, who struggle to put food on the table for the families, are truly happy–it was beautiful. Among all these vacations however, the most incredible experience was in 2016, when I travelled in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland to deepen my research in Holocaust studies.
In my free time, I love spending time with my friends. Having moved schools a few times, I enjoy bringing all my friends together. Whether it be going on a hike, having dinner together, or seeing a movie, we engage in interesting conversations that keep us up all night! From politics to religion and philosophy, our discussions never fail to impress me as I constantly gather new ideas and knowledge. Having a great circle of friends around me is essential to enriching my life and broadening my perspectives.
I play varsity tennis and regularly compete in individual tournaments. I have been playing tennis for about 5 years and before that, I did gymnastics, soccer, and horseback riding. In the winter, I love going up to Vail or Utah with my dad and several friends and spending time on the slopes. I’ve been playing piano since I was 5 years old and despite it’s many challenges, I am thankful for being able to play and read music. I also love celebrating cultural festivals and holidays with my friends, ranging from Chinese and Japanese Tea ceremonies, to the Indian festival of Diwali, and the Persian New Year. I find my experiences in celebrating different cultures and philosophies extremely valuable.
My Academic Interest
My academic interest lies mainly in the humanities. Reading, analyzing, writing, critical thinking, and debating are all passions of mine. At school, I enjoy French class and taking history and literature electives to complement my social studies and English classes. More specifically, I have devoted a few years Holocaust studies. Conducting research, interviewing survivors locally and globally, and drawing parallels between history and current events fascinates me. I was fortunate enough to compete in a program called National History Day and present my work. I find that the field of humanities opens many doors that widen our perspective and transform the way we think. I find that personally, writing is a way to reflect, put my thoughts together, and express my feelings and opinions.
Beyond school, I enjoy applying my academic passions to projects that help others. Having experienced bullying when I was younger, I wrote a few of my stories and in addition, I constructed a method that helps kids stand up for themselves and manage adversity. Some of my friends and close family have also documented their experiences, adding to the collection of stories we are compiling. The books are on their way to being completed and then published soon!
The group Deeds by Kids was formed by my mom and I when I was younger. The group aims to help others–whether they be in need or seeking guidance– in my community. For example, we donated over 1,000 books to an underserved school in San Diego county. Now, through collaborative efforts of community members and Deeds by Kids volunteers, we constructed the SELF method.
SELF has been an ongoing project with a goal to publish stories of kids who have experienced adversity and bullying. Most of the stories collected are associated with diverse categories of bullying and each solution depends on the severity of each issue. The method encompasses tools and techniques to help manage these sticky situations. We also constructed a severity scale so each problem corresponds to an appropriate solution.
Through the SELF project I realized that the key to bullying is to having the tools to speak up assertively and act responsibly.