Totally Awesome Teen: Meet Zoe Rosenstock

Zoe Rosenstock says music has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. As a young kid, she remembers gathering with her extended family for holidays, and there was always singing around the table. At 13, she asked her parents for a guitar and threw herself into learning how to play it so that she could start to put some music behind her poetry. “I would write and play guitar to process stuff,” Zoe explains.

Cut to just a few years later. While many teens have been complaining about varying degrees of boredom, Zoe, a sophomore at Winston Churchill High School and a member of WHC’s 2021 Confirmation Class, has used the COVID-19 pandemic to jump headfirst into launching her music career.

Zoe was selected as a “Top 20 Jewish Star” by Jewish Rock Radio in November 2020, an honor that has given her the opportunity to work with the Jewish Rock Radio network to help her take the next step in her journey as a future leader of the Jewish music world. Through this, she has connected, via Zoom for now because of COVID, with other young Jewish musicians and mentors in the industry, including Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, Eliana Light, Chava Mirel, Joe Buchanan, Rick Recht, and Naomi Less.

“I’m very lucky because my parents are very supportive, and they really believe in me,” Zoe says. She also credits WHC, specifically Director of Informal Education Ira Miller and Songleader Audrey Katz, who asked her to help out with Religious School programs. This, Zoe says, helped her overcome her biggest obstacle—stage fright. “Performing at services really helped me put myself in situations that I needed to get over that,” Zoe explains. “It’s also how I connect to Judaism.”

“The first time I heard Zoe sing, I knew that she was special,” Ira Miller says. “Over the last few years, it’s been incredible to see Zoe mature both as a musician and a student leader. She is committed to her music and to our Jewish teen community.“

What’s next for Zoe? Well, she was named a finalist in Montgomery County’s Youth Poet Laureate competition and is serving as one of three Poetry Ambassadors for the remainder of 2021. Her latest song, “Where Happiness Hides,” has been selected from more than 26,000 entries as a semifinalist in the International Songwriting Competition. Looking toward college, Zoe says she wants to continue to pursue music and is also interested in exploring the business side of the industry.

Zoe performs as “Zoe August” (her grandmother’s last name). You can find her at and follow her on Spotify, where you’ll soon be able to hear her first EP.

photos courtesy Audrey Benford

Check out Zoe’s brand new song “Where Happiness Hides”