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 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.

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.

Sandy Irani

Director of Operations

sandy@tzedekamerica.org

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.

Personal

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.

Lori Daitch

Mitzvah Project Central Coordinator

lori@tzedekamerica.org

Lori Daitch served as the Director of Education and Congregational Engagement at The Santa Monica Synagogue. Before her tenure at The SMS, Lori taught in the teen programs through the Los Angeles BJE, Religious School, and Early Childhood programs at Temple Isaiah, Temple Aliyah, and Leo Baeck Temple. Lori also served on staff at Camp Swig and JCA Shalom, bringing a camp background to her work. In addition to serving as Tzedek America’s Mitzvah Project Central Project Manager, Lori is the Director of Engagement at Beth Shir Shalom in Santa Monica, CA.

Lori has regularly led teen groups of 8th graders on a trip to see “Jewish New York” and to Washington, D.C to meet their representatives in Congress through a program sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. She and her teens also participated in The Jewish Federation Global Twinning Program, with partner schools in Vilnius and Tel Aviv, hosting visiting teens from those schools and taking teens from Los Angeles to visit their counterparts in Lithuania and Israel.

Professional Service

Lori has served as a national Board of The Association and Reform Jewish Educators (ARJE) and continues to serve on various committees of the ARJE. In addition, Lori has served as a long-standing member of the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE), RESHET LA program from Principals.

Lori was bestowed the Distinguished Educator honor by the ARJE and most recently “The Builder of Jewish Education” honor from the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE).

Personal

Lori is an LA native and grew up in Woodland Hills. She loves cooking, entertaining, theater, and travel and works to incorporate her passions into her work. Lori is the proud Aunt of four nieces and a nephew. Nothing brings her more joy than spending time with her family and friends.