Avram Mandell is a dynamic educator and respected member of the national Jewish community.
He brings over 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.
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.
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.
Avram brings many of his passions to Jewish education, including camping, improvisational comedy, music, and service. He is married to Abby Fifer Mandell, MAEd, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at USC Marshall School of Business, and is the proud father of two children, Shai and Bo.
Sandy Irani has been producing enriching events and gatherings for more than 15 years providing a meaningful platform for people to share their stories. Her background is mostly centered around community programming in the worlds of music and art. She has worked with organizations including Sofar Sounds, The Wild Honey Pie, The Resident Collective, and Acoustic Night New York. She is also an artist who has focused the last few years on travel photography and illustrating ketubbot, which you can see on her website.
Education and Training
Sandy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College. While attending Sarah Lawrence, Sandy worked as the Social Action Tikkun Olam teacher for the Temple Israel of Great Neck’s Youth House in New York, where she was an active member as a student. In her youth, Sandy found her own connection to Judaism through social action and social justice-related programs, many of which she was organizing herself as the president of several different service clubs through USY, Rotary International, and the Youth House. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2014 to be closer to her growing family, Sandy has worked as a volunteer coordinator, a retreat counselor, and a mentor hoping to educate and inspire young minds outside of the classroom.
Sandy can be seen most nights at a concert, a storytelling event, or seeking out unique experiences around Los Angeles. She loves to travel and is always down for a 90s night.
Rabbi Adrianne Pasternak is a Jewish educator, birth and postpartum doula, and life cycles rabbi with over 20 years of experience in educational leadership.
Rabbi Adrianne began her career in the early childhood classroom as a teacher and then assistant director before earning her Master’s degree in education. She served as an assistant Religious School director and spent 13 years as a Director of Education, directing both a supplemental religious school and early childhood center. Rabbi Adrianne is widely known for her innovative and creative experiential curricula and outside-the-box programming for students ages 18 months through 12th grade and their families. Rabbi Adrianne also facilitates adult education, art classes, and family retreats. She serves as an Outdoor Classroom consultant and teaches school administrators how to grow their communities, build strong long-term relationships and optimize learning potential.
In 2020 the world changed, and Rabbi Adrianne welcomed this opportunity to expand her knowledge and skills by becoming a certified birth and postpartum doula. She now helps expectant parents prepare for birth and beyond, calling on her three decades of experience as an educator and caregiver to nurture new families.
As a spiritual leader, Rabbi Adrianne officiates life cycle events and creative rituals grounded in Jewish tradition, provides pastoral care, and leads health and wellness workshops. She fosters strong relationships and helps others renew and reinvigorate their connection to Judaism in personal and meaningful ways.
Education and Training
Rabbi Adrianne holds Bachelor’s degrees in Jewish Studies, and Hebrew Literature, and a Master’s degree in Education (MaED) from American Jewish University and received semicha from ALEPH. She is a certified birth and postpartum doula.
Rabbi Adrianne served for two years as co-chair of the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) Principal’s Council and was elected to the board of the Jewish Educators Assembly where she served as a trustee for over 5 years. She is a graduate of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI), was a 2013 PresenTenseLA Fellow, and a member of the 2019-2020 cohort of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute (JECELI). She also holds teaching certificates from Moving Traditions, Facing History and Ourselves, and Rhythm and Ruach.
Rabbi Adrianne is passionate about creating loving and inclusive communities, crafting, spending time in nature, and most of all, being a loving wife to her husband and mother to her four children
Randall Fried has a great passion for experiential education and impact travel, having spent 15 years working with the International March of the Living as an educator for the Los Angeles delegation. Through his work with various organizations, he has learned how vital it is to move people to action and create community.
He has previously worked in the for-profit arena with Northwestern Mutual and other entrepreneurial endeavors before working in the nonprofit world. At the same time, Randall became involved in Jewish education and has spent over 20 years working with teens and teaching in the largest synagogues around the city.
Through his previous work with Wilshire Boulevard Temple where he served as the Director of Membership Engagement, and Laniado Development Fund, serving as the Director of West Coast Development, Randall has helped connect scores of people to communities and causes that bring meaningful engagement.
Education and Training
He is a member of the World Jewish Congress Jewish Diplomatic Corps, an elected member of the Studio City Neighborhood Council, currently serving as President, and an active member of Valley Beth Shalom. Randall is married, has two children, and calls Studio City, CA home
Pastor Rondell Eskridge
EDUCATOR IN RESIDENCE
Rondell Eskridge is a dedicated youth pastor who is deeply committed to cultivating healthy child development through culture, faith, and fun. Based in Inglewood, California, Rondell serves as the Middle School youth pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church, where he focuses on empowering young people to become responsible, reliable, and resilient individuals. With a strong foundation in his heritage, Rondell is able to create inclusive and cross-generational environments that go beyond race and societal barriers. In his role as a youth advocate, Rondell is dedicated to helping America’s youth navigate life’s challenges and keep God at the center of it all.
Rondell was the Chief Executive Officer of Sports, Fun, Fitness, located in Santa Monica, California providing summer, spring, and winter camps, and child care services for over 200 youths annually. Prior to this role, he served as a Physical Activities Specialist at Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District for five years. During this time, he created and implemented quarterly curriculums, managed inventory and equipment, built strong working relationships with colleagues and parents, and launched a school-wide anti-bullying program. He also trained staff for the Santa Monica Police Department and PAL league, earning the Teacher of the Year Award in 2016, and served as Keynote Speaker for the graduating class. As the Director of Youth Ministry at Calvary Chapel Crenshaw in Los Angeles, California, from January 2010 to January 2015, he preached and taught the Bible weekly, organized monthly outings and activities, and started a mentoring program.
Education and Training
Rondell earned an Associate of Arts and Sciences (AAS) degree in Business Administration and Management, General from West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
Rondell is happily married to Tanae Denean Eskridge and is a proud father to their son, Little Dell.
THE RABBI EMILY FEIGENSON, Z”L,
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND TEEN ENGAGEMENT FELLOW
Elana Beame is currently a student at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, studying for her master’s degree in Jewish Educational Leadership. She has over ten years of experience working with Jewish youth. She works hard to create interactive and meaningful projects that allow students to engage in Jewish culture, history, and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).
Elana served as Youth Engagement Director and Program Assistant at Temple Beth Am in Jupiter, Florida, for the past four years. Before that, she worked as a Residential Advisor at American Hebrew Academy, a Jewish boarding school. In college, she worked as a Youth Advisor for Temple Beth El in Fort Myers, Florida. She was the President of Hillel at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) for three years.
Through her more than fifteen-year involvement in the URJ world, she was a Unit Head at URJ 6 Points Sports Academy, North Carolina, and a camper at URJ Kutz Camp and URJ Camp Coleman. She was a youth group board member in high school for four years.
Education and Training
Elana received a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Studies and Criminal Justice from FGCU in Fort Myers, Florida. In 2015, she was honored as the Registered Student Organization President of the Year at FGCU for her leadership with Hillel. She is currently a member of the LEEP Cohort with NewCAJE.
In her spare time, you can find Elana playing trivia with friends, collecting unicorn and taco memorabilia, cheering on the Florida Panthers, or trying new local restaurants