Avram Mandell
Executive Director and Founder
avram@tzedekamerica.org

Avram Mandell is a dynamic educator and respected member of the national Jewish community.

He brings nearly 20 years of experience developing and leading educational programs for Jewish children and teens. Avram aspires to create high-impact immersive programs that engage young adults in Jewish learning in a fun and relevant way and inspire them to incorporate Jewish values in their everyday lives.

Past Experience

Avram served as Director of Education at two major Reform congregations, most recently Leo Baeck Temple, a 600-family congregation in Los Angeles, California from 2004-2014. At Leo Baeck, he was responsible for all congregational learning, including a supplemental religious school, adult education, early childhood education, post-B’nai Mitzvah studies, and national service opportunities. Prior to joining Leo Baeck, he spent three years as Education Director at Temple Beth El, a 1,200-family synagogue in San Antonio, Texas.

Avram also brings youth group and camp experience, and once served as Assistant Director of the Union of Reform Judaism Camp Harlam and the regional advisor to the Pennsylvania High School Youth Group, NFTY-PAR.

Education and Training

Avram holds a Master of Arts degree in Jewish Education (MAJE) from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles, CA and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Miami University.

Professional Service

Avram served as co-chair of the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) and was elected to the board of the National Association of Temple Educators (NATE) from 2007-2009. He was a 2010 Pellie Technology Fellow and a 2013 PresenTenseLA Fellow. Avram is a frequent speaker on experiential education, Hebrew language acquisition, teen engagement, and technology in the classroom. He is the creator of two popular Hebrew learning apps and an award-winning Jewish radio station.

Avram authored “Carry Over the Feelings and Practices of Passover” (Reform Voices of Torah, April, 2011); “Derech HaLimud – The Way to Study” (The Hebrew Project, July, 2010); and “Funny Man”, Still Small Voice: Reflections on Being A Jewish Man (URJ Press, 2007).

Avram was named the 2016 RHSOE ALUMNI-IN-RESIDENCE Educator for the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles.

Personal

Avram brings many of his passions to Jewish education, including camping, improvisational comedy, music, and service. He is married to Abby Fifer Mandell, MAEd, Executive Director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and is the proud father of two children, Shai and Bo.

Liana Wertman
Coordinator of Residential Life and Engagement
liana@tzedekamerica.org 

Liana Wertman is your favorite camp counselor on the go. She can create a fun and educational experience, especially a Jewish one, on the go, and believes that community is the foundation of any good organization or life.

Liana is passionate about teen leadership and empowerment and believes that experiences outside of the classroom are the most important. Liana always looks to build engaging and interactive curriculum, hands-on experience building, and space for personal reflection for teens and young adults. She believes Judaism and its teachings offer insight and guidance to making your best self and your best world.

Past Experience

Liana was a counselor for seven years, working with Camp Harmony from 2009-2013 and as a full summer counselor for Gindling Hilltop Camp from 2012-2014 for kids ages 4-15. She has continued her work with Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps serving as the Director of the Counselor in Training and Leadership Program in 2016, working with twelve 17-year-olds on counselor skills, leadership skills, and programming. In these roles, she has found a passion for writing experiential education curriculum for high schoolers to learn community leadership and to facilitate personal growth.

Throughout her time at the University of Southern California, she worked major roles at KXSC Student Radio. As a sophomore, she served as Intern Coordinator, recruiting new students, helping them through their intern process at the station, and creating engaging programming to create community. Her senior year she was elected the General Manager. In this role, she organized and lead 40 staff members and oversaw all operations of the Radio Station.

She also worked as a Campus Engagement Intern and as Vice President of Tzedek at USC Hillel where she helped bring attendance and program diversity to new highs.

Education and Training

Liana graduated from the University of Southern California Class of 2016 with a B.A. in History and a minor in Environmental studies. She received a Renaissance Scholar award, and graduated as a fellow of the Sydney Harmon Polymathic Academy. She attended the Lycée Francais de Los Angeles for her entire primary and secondary education, graduating as Salutatorian.

She has lived in Israel studying permaculture farming, and receiving her Permaculture Design Certificate from Kibbutz Lotan. She also was trained as an Amir Farming Educator to teach organic Jewish farming to children.

Personal

Liana has a passion for the earth, sustainable agriculture, and good food. She loves Los Angeles, exploring its nature and its history, and would prefer to always be near a puppy.