MAJIC 2019-20

Aliza Benor

Aliza Benor is a junior at Hamilton High School. She loves traveling and recently spent a semester abroad in Israel. She is passionate about political issues such as healthcare, immigrant rights, and gun control. She teaches 5th grade Hebrew school at her synagogue, Ikar, and holds a regional position at USY (an international Jewish youth group). She loves learning languages and has studied both Hebrew and Arabic. Additionally, she plays varsity tennis and has participated in Youth and Government. Lastly, she loves nature and rock and roll.

McKenna Blackshire

McKenna Blackshire is a junior at Pasadena High School, and she hopes to change the world. Throughout high school, she has been involved in Student Voices, a student leadership group focused on diversity, equity, and social justice, and various affinity clubs including Young Democrats, Students for Social Justice, Black Student Union, and Gay-Straight Alliance. This past summer, she attended the Seeds of Peace Camp and started an independent project called 'We Look Like This.' Her passions include activism and art.

Eva Brous-Light

Eva Brous-Light is a sophomore currently attending Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles. She is involved in a social entrepreneur fellowship at school and is one of the coordinators of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Shalhevet. Outside of school, Eva can be found biking around Los Angeles, engaging in fine arts or creative writing, partaking in gun violence protests, and listening to Chance the Rapper with her friends. She is passionate about exploring her Jewish identity and history and is excited to meet new people and hear new perspectives.

Zohar Chai

Zohar Chai is going into her junior year at Alexander Hamilton High School. She is currently enrolled in the humanity magnet at Hamilton due to her interest in behavioral changes of human beings over time. She volunteers with various different organizations in Los Angeles to fulfill her passion for community service. In addition, she enjoys baking, running, and taking care of her animals.

Sara Dermer

Sara Dermer is 17 years old and a senior at Valley Torah High School. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and reading. Sara is a teen ambassador for JWW, and tutors kids in her spare time. She is excited for this experience, and can’t wait to meet everyone.

Emma DuFine

Emma is a board member of Marlborough’s Violets’ Giving Circle, a charitable fund that helps provide educational opportunities for women and girls, and a founding member of Chrysalis Next-Gen, a group that aims to create a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals. In addition to volunteering at the Museum of Tolerance, Emma interns at Baby2Baby weekly. She also loves photography and spending time with her sister and three dogs. Emma is persistent, willing to overcome any difficulty she faces in her endeavors, and is tirelessly passionate about what she loves.

Mischa Esmail

I’m Mischa Esmail and I am a sophomore at Geffen Academy at UCLA. I enjoy playing a number of sports, including basketball and volleyball. I am also heavily interested in the arts: I dance, sing, act, and play the piano. In my school, I am a part of a number of programs, including community service programs, and I also serve as a student ambassador. I am blessed to be a part of an amazing religious community called the Shia Ismaili Muslims which provides me opportunities to volunteer within and outside the community. For example, I am a Santa Monica Youth Volunteer group which help serve the Ismalis within our community. Additionally, I volunteer with a group called I-Cerv which helps at many events, such as MLK Day of Service and beach clean-ups. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity MAJIC has given me and I look forward to learning and growing within this organization and beyond.

Reeyan Esmail

My name is Reeyan Esmail. I am a 15 year old sophomore currently attending Mira Costa High School. I am a student-athlete and I am a member of the Mira Costa football team. Aside from sports, I love animals, and one day I might even want to become a veterinarian. I am also a member of the LoveJoy foundation, which focuses on rescuing lost and abandoned animals and helping them recover so they can be adopted. I also enjoy traveling and immersing myself in new cultures, and I try to make connections with others in the process. I am very excited for the opportunity to learn and grow through the experience of MAJIC.

Ali Hashim

Ali Hashim is sixteen years old. He is currently a junior at Santa Monica High School and plays for the Samohi tennis team. He enjoys reading, learning, and doing community service at his Jamatkhana (a place of prayer). He has a deep passion for history and loves exploring it in his free time. As a member of the Shi'a Imami Ismaili Muslim community, he has been taught values like diversity and pluralism, and believes in the importance of learning about others people’s religious views. He can’t wait to get to know everyone and learn more about different faiths!

Samira Iqbal

Samira Iqbal is currently a junior at La Cañada High School. She is a Girl Scout, on the Pep Squad at her school, participates in Youth and Government and Youth in Business, and is the vice president of the Challenge Success club at her high school (a club that urges her school to embrace a different definition of success). In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach and spending time with her friends, family, and pets.

Griffin Joseph

Griffin Joseph is a 15-year-old 10th grader who currently attends Eagle Rock High School. Among many things, Griffin enjoys sports, reading, and learning. Griffin is also a part of the Nefesh community and is an activist who frequently participates in rallies, marches, and social justice projects. He lives in Eagle Rock with his mom, dad, brother, sister, their two good friends, and their two good dogs.

Shazaib Lalani

I'm Shazaib Lalani, a current sophomore at West Ranch High School. I identify as a Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim. I am a professional photographer and I enjoy making short films in my free time. I am also the head writer/editor of a self-developed blog website called The EV Addict, which is about the Electric Car movement. I march Trumpet for the West Ranch Marching Band and have been playing for about 7 years. I am also involved in community service through organizations such as iCERV (Aga Khan Council), which works with groups like LA Works, Big Sunday, and various other nonprofits. I am also an active volunteer at my place of worship, referred to as Jamatkhana. I strive to continuously educate myself while staying curious and I cannot wait to meet everyone and learn about everyone's culture!

Emma Limor

Emma Limor is a junior at Harvard Westlake school. She is an avid coder and competes in Vex robotics. She is passionate about politics and international relations and competes in Varsity Lincoln Douglas debate, model UN, and mock trial. She is involved in many finance and business clubs at her school and is on the business management team for her school’s newspaper. In her free time, she has worked at many of LA’s most prominent nonprofits and is now working on a social enterprise startup with her friends.

Maya Laila Al-Mansour Matthews

Maya Laila Al-Mansour Matthews is a senior at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Feliz. Maya is the Associated Student Body President and captain of the Varsity Debate and basketball teams. Additionally, she is a member of the track team, the Black Student Association, and the Asian Heritage Association. Maya loves to read, dance, tutor kids, debate, travel to new places, and play with her dogs. She loves her family more than anything and aspires to study medicine and biology. Maya's mantra is inspired by the film Black Panther: "In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe".

Tali Meisel

My name is Tali Meisel and I am a senior at Milken Community High School. I have grown up in Jewish day school and reform Jewish summer camps, and have invested myself deeply in Jewish values, learning, and culture. Over the last couple years, the same curiosity that propels me to learn more about my own religion has also pushed me to learn more about others. I have had the oppurtunity to do Jewish-Christian interfaith work through my family and school, so I am especially excited to part of the MAJIC cohort this year to learn the stories and experiences of my Muslim peers. I am grateful for the opportunity to share our stories and learn how to really listen and respond to issues in the world with our peers’ stories in mind.

Jennah Mohammed

Jennah Mohammed is dual-enrolled in Santa Monica College and an online charter school. This summer, she completed a John Hopkins program about exploring the legal stance of marginalized communities through history. She has been playing tennis and piano for the past two years. Her hobbies include reading and listening to music. She also loves to travel with her family.

Julian Tucker

Julian Tucker is currently a junior at Milken Community Schools. He loves studying history, writing, and mock trial. He has played the cello for the past eleven years. He attended kindergarten and 5th grade in Israel and is deeply invested in finding a solution that respects the dignity and aspirations of Jews and Palestinians.

Ehsan Varnous

Ehsan Varnous is currently in his senior year at Venice High School, excited for what his future in the world of college holds. He’s currently pursuing interests in programming and chasing his passion as an entrepreneur. Ehsan is a tenacious leader, built with intuition which led him to join a plethora of programs, of which MAJIC is the first inter-faith, problem-solving based one. He takes pride in being a practicing Twelver Shia Muslim, participating actively, running the live-streams of every program at the nearest masjid to bring them to new heights. Inspired by his love for Islam and eagerness to expand his involvement in the community, he’s prepared for the eye-opening experience which awaits within the program.

Deen Veera

Deen Veera attends Palos Verdes High School as a junior. He is on the board for the youth group of the Islamic Center of Southern California and regularly participates in the Center’s events. His interests and passions include music, food, film, and history. He’s no stranger to participating in social activist events, having attended rallies and marches in the past, as well as many interfaith events. He lives in Palos Verdes Estates and is the elder brother to two siblings, as well as the loving owner of three dogs.

Rebecca Yasha

Rebecca Yasha is a junior at Calabasas High School. She enjoys challenging herself and expanding her world-view. She is involved with USY, a youth organization for Conservative Jewish teenagers, and takes leadership roles in planning and executing social action programs for her peers. During the school year, Rebecca can be found tutoring high school students through NHS or participating in peer mediation sessions for Calabasas High School’s Peer Support. She is excited to make friends and learn more about other people’s beliefs.

Aliya Zigman

Aliya Zigman is a junior at Windward School. She loves tennis and is currently playing for the varsity team. She is a big advocate for mental health, and has been a part of Teen Line, a teen to teen crisis hotline, since 9th grade. Aliya loves to travel, and seeing different cultures and parts of the world is very important in her life.​