Nominated and written by Naomi Benatar, NCSYer
Chaim Strassman was one of my TJJ advisors and he has continued to be an advisor with whom I can talk to about anything. I have been conflicted with how religious I will be when I grow up and I have been able to talk to Chaim about every aspect—from levels of kashrut to observing tzniut to covering my head when I marry. He never judges what I do or don’t know, or laughs when I need definitions for seemingly simple things. He finds parallel experiences from his own life to help me understand and to relieve some of my confusion and self-consciousness.
Chaim is also a fantastic educator. He is able to balance getting the job done with indulging related tangents. While I love pretty much all Jewish learning with every NCSY advisor, I particularly love learning with Chaim. While he is certainly more knowledgeable than I am of text and liturgy, he never insinuates that his opinions are consequently more true or correct. He respects and wholly hears every opinion, question or curiosity I pose. I am proud to be in NCSY, if for no other reason than to be associated with such kind, generous, intelligent, spiritual, funny and supportive people like Chaim Strassman.