"The Rhea Hirsch School of Education gave me a network of colleagues and professors who have supported me as I ventured out on my own to create Tzedek America from scratch," says Avram Mandell (’01). "Without that network, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to be an entrepreneur, risk everything and create my own nonprofit organization."
Avram is the founder and director of Tzedek America, a Jewish social justice and travel gap year program based in Los Angeles and only the second of its kind to be located in the United States. This national program is designed to encourage high school graduates to embrace their passions, explore what drives them, and find meaning in their lives. Through communal living in a shared house, national and international travel, social justice internships in local nonprofit organizations, adventure programming, and communal living and work responsibilities, participants experience firsthand the challenges facing America today, gaining a wealth of knowledge before even starting college.
Avram is an educator who is helping young adults explore their Jewish identity so that they will define their own path to Judaism. His students become confident and knowledgeable Jews who can clearly articulate their Jewish beliefs. They go on to become leaders among their peers and role models for other young Jewish adults who are not yet sure what role Judaism plays in their lives. Through Tzedek America, Avram is creating future leaders of Jewish organizations but also—and perhaps more importantly for the millennial generation—this HUC-JIR alumnus is raising up Jewish peer role models.
To learn more about Tzedek America, click here >
To learn more about the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, click here >