Eliana Becker (she/her)
Title: Class of 2026
“When I walk into a room, I’m very aware of how my gender and religion influence each other because aspects of identity intersect in ways that can be both beautiful and complicated. For example, as a Jewish woman, showing up in more religious spaces makes me anxious. Since fourth grade, I’ve felt the need to justify and prove myself in those spaces. But what I want to say is, ‘Hey, I’m Jewish. I’m a woman. I’m just doing other things that make me very Jewish, which doesn’t make me any less worthy of taking up space.’ But sometimes, feeling like I always have a point to prove feels exhausting.
At the same time, I really love picking up new skills as a Jewish woman. I think that it’s just fun. So this goes back to fourth grade with me learning Torah tropes, and now I have like, four or five tropes under my belt. And I like learning new ways to be Jewish, I like watching community members try things and then I think, Oh my gosh, I’m gonna do that, I’m going to go learn another trope set. I love finding spaces around the world that are also echoing the same sentiment of breaking out of what hasn’t traditionally been a space for Jewish women.
I’m working to establish and remind myself that I’m the one who gets to define who I am; instead of letting spaces assign me a role. For the first 18 years of my life. When I walked into school, the space was Jewish, but now I work to establish that for myself. And I feel very grateful that I have the resources to do that. These resources have shown me that there are many ways to be in the world and be Jewish and a woman.”