Nominated and written by Sarah Edelstein, NCSY Alumna
It was spring regional 2012 it was my first shabbaton. I was sitting towards the outside of the circle and Avi came and introduced himself, made a few jokes, and got me more involved with the shabbaton. Little did I know, he was going to be my TJJ advisor. When I went on TJJ I got to see the type of person Avi really is. He’s this crazy, outgoing, extremely knowledgeable, inspirational person who has such a love of Torah. He is the true example of how you can live a normal fun life within the Torah observant lifestyle. Avi had this book over the summer that had Chassidic lessons and everyday when we would travel to our next destination in Eretz Yisrael he would make an effort to teach me a small lesson from it. He probably just thought he was teaching me something small but in actuality, that was the start of me enjoying to learn and having that desire to learn a little bit each and every day.
Being the only religious person in my family and in a school with 2,900 kids in it, Avi was always there to help me remain strong with my new lifestyle. Avi has always expressed the importance of being a Jew and the responsibilities that we have as a nation to pass it on. I think my favorite part about what Avi does is that he does it straight from his heart and not for any other reason. He loves what he does and you can tell that nothing makes him happier than helping and teaching others, and I really respect that.
Through all the struggles in high school, Avi helped me with my decision to attend seminary in Israel for the year. I currently attend Machon Ma’ayan and I am coming back for Shana Bet. I will also be making Aliyah at the same time as I come back for Shana Bet. Many decisions needed to be made for my first couple years in Israel and they were made from the desire to learn Torah that from the beginning Avi taught me. I can honestly say that Avi has always been there as an inspiration to grow and continues to be with many other people.