CCA student among three recipients announced for 2022 Peter Chortek Leadership Award


Each year the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego (JCF) facilitates the Peter Chortek Leadership Award (PCLA), an award created by the Chortek Family to foster Jewish communal involvement by rewarding Jewish teens who are practicing Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.

The Peter Chortek Leadership Award was established in 2011 by the Chortek Family to honor the late Peter Chortek z”l. Chortek was not religious but was fiercely proud of being Jewish and committed to making a difference. His passion and focus was Jewish education, believing quality Jewish education would help ensure a vibrant Jewish future. For Chortek, this meant being supportive of venues that would aid Jewish continuity, such as day schools, Jewish camps, Hillel, Birthright, March of the Living, Jewish Community Centers, and synagogues. A total of 28 awards have been presented to date.

This award recognizes Jewish high school students in San Diego who are making a difference in the community through their innovative leadership. Applicants must 1) Currently be in high school and have organized and led an extraordinary Tikkun Olam project that has benefited their neighborhood, community, environment, or world; 2) Demonstrate initiative, passion, and positive spirit, inspiring others to make a difference and creating awareness about their issue, cause, or project; and 3) Have a long-term vision for growth and sustainability for their work and have been involved with their project for at least one year before submitting an application.

Peter Chortek Leadership Award recipients receive a $5,400 stipend, $540 to establish a Donor Advised Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation, and a professional video made about their project. This year the awards committee chose three recipients for the Peter Chortek Leadership Award. These awards were presented recently at a celebratory brunch for recipients and their families. All recipients have a passion for making a difference in the community, inspiring their peers to also get involved in service projects or social justice programs.

The Peter Chortek Leadership Award Committee is comprised of members of the Chortek family and other community leaders. Sammy and Shana Weisman and Nathan and Emily Chortek, Peter and Elaine Chortek z”l’s grandchildren, joined the awards committee this year, representing the third generation of the Chortek family. At the recent brunch, the committee recognized the passing of Elaine Chortek z”l and the contribution she made as matriarch of the family, leading as a role model with kindness, grace, modesty, and commitment.

This year’s award winners included:

Kiara Blacher
Kiara Blacher
(Courtesy of Jewish Community Foundation)

Kiara Blacher is a senior at Canyon Crest Academy who created Kids for a Cure, a charity organization that raises money for children suffering from medical issues. Kiara has made it her mission to promote accessibility to support and provide medical care for those who cannot afford it.

Elinor Amir-Lobel, a senior at La Jolla Country Day, was recognized for serving as the co-president of Female Empowerment and Education of Leaders (FEEL). This is a student organization at La Jolla Country Day School campus that creates an open space to discuss issues concerning sexism and inequality in the broader community.

Kate Chasin is a senior at Canyon Hills and is the co-chair of the Student Wellness Education Awareness and Resources (SWEAR) Committee. SWEAR is a student-led group that advocates for student mental health in the San Diego Unified School District.

Applications for the 2023 Peter Chortek Leadership Award will be available as early as September 2022 and will be due January 2023. Students are encouraged to start thinking about service projects that qualify, and those who meet the application criteria are invited to participate in this remarkable opportunity. Competitive applicants for this award will have dedicated significant time and commitment to creating a new project or program to improve their communities, enhancing an existing project, or inspiring a large number of their peers to get involved in service projects or social justice programs.

For additional information on the Peter Chortek Leadership Award, visit the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego website at