San Diego Jewish Academy’s Zander Cowan, Naomi Suminski, and Ilana Engel were awarded SDJA’s Abraham Joshua Heschel Award for their work as the High School Chairs of The Walk to End Genocide – San Diego. The Walk to End Genocide, which took place April 7, raises awareness and funds to provide vital resources for those suffering from the horrors of genocide. Cowan and Engel were among the top fundraisers of the event, with Cowan raising the most money at over $1,600 and Engel raising nearly $1,000. Similar walks were also held in Los Angeles, Orange County, and other Southern California locations.
The coveted Abraham Joshua Heschel Award recognizes the SDJA student who embodies the powerful combination of Jewish Learning, Social Action and Tolerance.
Abraham Joshua Heschel was educated in early 20th century Europe. He pursued a doctorate degree from the University of Berlin and later taught Talmud there. In October of 1938, while living in Frankfurt, Germany, the Gestapo arrested him and deported him to Poland where he taught Jewish philosophy and Torah at the Warsaw Institute for Jewish Studies. Just weeks prior to the Nazi invasion of Poland, Heschel left and fled to London, England. His parents and five siblings, however, all perished in the Holocaust.
Heschel served as a professor of Jewish ethics and was one of the leading voices of Jewish philosophy and theology for a quarter of a century.
Each year, the winner of the Abraham Joshua Heschel Award is an SDJA high school student who exemplifies many of the characteristics of Heschel. The recipient earns the award through his or her deeds of kindness and commitment to the ideals of Heschel,
This year the award was given to three students for their work in creating and running The Walk, as well as their Judaic embodiment of the teachings of Heschel. Not only does this award come with honor, it also comes with a $500 check to the charity of their choice. They chose Jewish World Watch – a leading organization in the fight against genocide and mass atrocities.
For more information about San Diego Jewish Academy, visit www.sdja.com