JCC Association presents the Morton L. Mandel Jewish Educational Leadership Award biennially to an individual or an institution that has made a singular contribution to the enhancement of Jewish education in Jewish Community Centers and JCC camps.
Morton L. Mandel, JCC Association Honorary Chair, was the first to receive the award in 1998, in recognition of his efforts to strengthen Jewish education in JCCs throughout North America. In 1981, Mr. Mandel chaired the Commission on Maximizing Jewish Educational Effectiveness of JCCs (COMJEE). His leadership helped spur JCCs to strengthen their capacities to deliver effective Jewish educational services. Decades later, Mr. Mandel’s contribution to COMJEE continues to inspire the JCC Movement. The Award was re-named in his honor in 2000.
Congratulations to the 2012 Winner: Rabbi Alvin Mars
Rabbi Alvin Mars, is a senior educator with more than forty years of experience. Dr. Mars’s career incorporates work in both academic, residential, and community-based educational settings. He served for seven years as the director of Camp Ramah in California, where he created the California Tikvah program for children with learning disabilities and emotional challenges. He also established the Ramah Academy, a Jewish educational outreach program providing Ramah experiences to the adult Jewish community.
From 1984 to 1989, Dr. Mars was vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer of the University of Judaism. He was also founding dean of the Fingerhut School of Education, executive director of the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, as well as founding director of the American Hebrew Academy in North Carolina, the nation’s first liberal pluralistic Jewish boarding high school. Dr. Mars was founding chair of the Association of Institutions of Higher Learning for Jewish Education, the coordinating council of all universities and colleges in the United States and Canada with programs in Jewish education. As the initial director of JCC Association’s Mandel Center for Jewish Education, Dr. Mars created a variety of programs for JCC campers, camp directors, and adult members of JCCs that exposed them to the vitality and richness of Jewish culture.
Past Winners of the Morton L. Mandel Jewish Educational Leadership Award
1998 Morton L. Mandel, Cleveland, OH
2000 92nd Street YM-YWHA, New York, NY
2002 JCCs of Chicago, Chicago, IL
2004 The Melton School of the Hebrew University / The Florence Melton Adult Mini School
2006 Professor Barry Chazan
2008 The AVI CHAI Foundation
2010 The Marcus Foundation