Rebecca Akselrad

New Jersey, USA

I have an American passport and was born in West Caldwell, New Jersey. Together, my parents and grandparents instilled the importance of family, education, ‘chesed,’ and a good name. As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I grew up with a robust sense of history, Jewish identity, models of resilience, and an affinity for languages.

Currently, I hold a dual Master’s Degree from NYU and am in the process of acquiring a second Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. I am an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. At 31, this is my seventh year teaching a class of Kindergarteners how to read and write. Fortunately, my career path integrates my interests and allows me to work with recent immigrants who are new to the American school system. In many ways, my job reflects my own family history and my role has been described as the ‘ambassador to a child’s American dream.’

It is noteworthy that I first encountered the JICNY, when I was living on the Upper West Side. In my opinion, JICNY is an extraordinary organization because it offers a prism into the diverse demographics of New York City through the lens of the Jewish community. Every time I attend an event, I am simply enamored by the living mission, as it exists in reality because it transcends the anonymous nature of New York and in turn makes such a powerful impact on countless individuals.

As a globetrotter, I am always stepping outside of my home country in order to experience the beauty of Jewish communities in other countries. When I lived in Ecuador for example, I remember going to a Passover Seder in the North of Quito where the same songs were sang yet, the conversation about the familiar story was in Spanish and the food was spicier. Without packing a backpack, JICNY has replicated the magic of a Latino, Jewish experience, which I deeply desire, within the microcosm of my own home.

Thank you JICNY! Rebecca