Maya Lichtmann (photo from Connect Model United Nations Vancouver)
Maya Lichtmann was selected in May as a Canadian high school intern for StandWithUs, an international organization that educates about Israel and fights antisemitism. She was chosen for the program after participating in a StandWithUs event at King David High School.
Lichtmann, a Grade 12 student at J.N. Burnett Secondary School in Richmond, attended a conference in August at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles with about 100 other high school interns, including about a dozen Canadians. She will join all high school and college interns in January at the same location.
As part of the internship, she recently delivered an educational program to two History 12 classes at her school. She covered the history of the Jewish people, how they came to Europe, the rise of Nazism, the Holocaust, the creation of the state of Israel and the rise of anti-Zionism. While she uses resources offered by StandWithUs, her presentations are developed independently.
“A lot of the presentations that StandWithUs have are catered toward Jewish audiences, because a lot of the kids who are doing the internship go to private Jewish schools,” she said. Because she goes to a public school, and one where a majority of students are of Asian heritage, she developed the presentations for audiences with limited knowledge of the topic. She received entirely positive feedback from a “100% non-Jewish audience,” she said.
Lichtmann plans to make a presentation about LGBTQ+ rights in Israel to her school’s gay-straight alliance, and one about Israel’s role in the international community at her Model United Nations Club, which she led as president last year. She will also be delivering a presentation at a student-run TEDx event.
“I’m very passionate about Israel,” she said. “It’s one of the key factors in fighting international antisemitism because I believe that unity and acceptance of Jewish people has been a struggle for the past 1,900 years, as the Jewish people were throughout the Diaspora, and I hope to continue to help Jewish people feel more accepted within society.”
She added: “My grandfather was in a concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen. We were forced to relocate after the Holocaust, so my family moved to Israel and my father was born in Israel and then immigrated to Canada. But my ties and connection to Israel are obviously still very strong.”
Lichtmann also is on her school’s student council, president of the school’s Women in Leadership Club, youth representative on the board of directors at the Thompson Community Centre in Richmond, and premier-elect of the Richmond-Delta Youth Parliament. She coaches cheerleading and tutors international students in English.
Lichtmann is a daughter of Mandy and Eyal Lichtmann and big sister to Noa and Liel.