Announcing the 2024 Recipient of the Avi West Jewish Educator Award

Announcing the 2024 Recipient of the Avi West Jewish Educator Award

As we prepare to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot, the feast of weeks, that celebrates the receiving of the 10 Commandments as well as the spring harvest, we are honored to reach out to you as someone who cares deeply about Jewish education and the legacy of Avi West, z”l.

We are very excited to announce this year’s Avi West Jewish Educator Award recipient, honoring the memory of our beloved community educator – Avi West, z”l. This Award is sponsored by the Avi West Endowment Fund, a partnership between Avi West’s family and the community.

The family and the review committee, comprised of Jewish educators, professionals and lay leaders, thoughtfully reviewed and deliberated on each nominee. It was a really tough decision.

Rabbi Eli Perles was selected as the 5784/2024 recipient of the Avi West Jewish Education Award. Rabbi Eli Perles is a Judaic studies special educator and curriculum specialist at Sulam, a special education inclusion program in the Greater Washington, D.C. area for students with diverse learning needs. He holds a master’s degree in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University and rabbinic ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College. Rabbi Perles integrates research-based best practices into his classroom teaching and specializes in applying Project-Based Learning to the Judaic studies curriculum, giving his students the opportunity to engage in experiential Torah learning. Rabbi Perles is passionate about making Torah learning accessible to all students and loves nothing more than to help children find authentic joy in the process. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Rabbi Perles develops curricula and assessment tools, mentors novice teachers, and provides professional development workshops on the application of Universal Design for Learning and other research-based practices to Judaic studies. One of his nominators wrote that “Rabbi Perles is a master Jewish educator, who weaves creativity, innovation, and personalized learning into all aspects of his classroom. He is constantly learning new tools and tricks to best support students and meet them where they are.”

We look forward to honoring Rabbi Eli Perles formally at a virtual award celebration in mid September. At this event we will learn from previous Jewish educator award recipients in our community and honor the talent and impact of Jewish educators across the Washington, D.C. metro area. We also will share plans for the Avi West Jewish Education Award for the 2025/5785 cycle. We look forward to celebrating with you in September.
We thank you for your ongoing commitment to Jewish education in our local community.


The Family of Avi West and the Avi West Jewish Educator Award Committee