Avi West Endowment

In Memory of Avi West, Our Community’s Beloved Master Teacher

A partnership between the Jewish Community and the West Family.

Donations to the Avi West Endowment will honor Avi’s memory and accomplishments by granting up to $5,000 to one exemplary local Jewish educator, as the recipient of the annual “Avi West Jewish Educator Award.” We hope you will honor Avi’s legacy and make a gift in his memory.

Gift Levels

$360Kehillah (Individual or Community Organization)

$36Talmid (Student)
$180Chaver (Friend)
$500Moreh Derech (Guide)
$1,000Lamdan (Scholar)
$5,000 Dugma Ishit (Role Model)
$10,000Manhig (Leader)
$25,000Gaon (Wise Person)
$50,000Tomchei Tzibur (Community Supporter)

Avi West, Leaving a Communal Legacy of Lifelong Jewish Living and Learning

As a master teacher and a creative, innovative educator, Avi’s depth of Jewish knowledge was only matched by his depth of character. Embodying warmth, empathy and humility, Avi demonstrated a unique talent for weaving together rich Jewish content with contemporary topics. He brilliantly created relevant, joyful learning experiences for people of all ages, backgrounds and identities. He helped us stretch and grow—as humans and as a Jewish community.

Avi West was born in 1952; a miracle baby to loving and caring parents who were told that carrying a pregnancy would not be possible. Fortunately, the determination and strength his mother embodied didn’t let that stop her.  Avi never stopped bringing wonder and delight to his family, classmates, peers, colleagues and friends. From school to summer camp to youth group to synagogue to concerts to foodie festivals, Avi’s magnetic personality attracted friends and fans of all walks of Jewish life.

Growing up without siblings, Avi connected with each and every one of us as a member of his Jewish family. With a career dedicated to K’lal Yisrael (the Jewish people) he made each of us feel better about the world and our role in it. He transformed our lives, and he transformed our community.

Avi was a true cornerstone of our Washington metro area Jewish community for over 40 years. He was the model of a Jewish communal professional.  He always had the best interests of the community at heart. Avi valued the uniqueness of each person and organization, while also recognizing our common interests and commitments.  Avi built trust and confidence across our community—even in times of contention or division—because he was guiding us toward the beacon of Jewish learning and literacy.  Avi was relatable, genuine, and exceedingly generous in time and spirit—a real mensch.

Avi’s smile and laugh were contagious; his energy and enthusiasm lit up the room because each person there felt he was shining uniquely for them. With unparalleled wit, whimsy, puns and word play Avi’s humor was legendary, yet he never took himself too seriously. He was masterful in selecting just the right poem or song to fit the beauty and poignancy of a moment. He infused meaning and purpose into his work bringing out the extraordinary in Jewish learning and in every person. Avi made room for every perspective at the table, and showed his appreciation for others, which is why he was beloved by so many.

Avi exuded endless optimism and hope that lifted our spirits. His spirit was lifted every day by his greatest treasures—his wife, Chagit; children Yohai (Yael) and Liron (Justin); and grandchildren whom he cherished dearly.

Avi died at age 68 in August 2021/Av 5781. His words, lessons, and actions will endure through the people he taught and then all of the people they taught. We are a better Jewish community because Avi was a part of it.  Zichrono l’vracha – his memory will always be a blessing.

Award Application and a Letter from the West Family

Dear Friends and Community Members,

On the occasion of his birthday, September 16th, we are thrilled to announce the opening of the Avi West Jewish Educator Award’s nomination/application process. We look forward to being able to honoring our father, husband, and beloved community Jewish educator in such a prestigious manner.

Award nominees should possess the ability to joyfully and creatively engage others. We are seeking someone who is passionate to grow their personal knowledge and professional skills so that they may expand their impact on our diverse Jewish learning community. The ideal award recipient is someone with a sense of humor, who is innovative and can demonstrate their commitment to continued professional development and the implementation of best practices in teaching and learning.

We want to thank the Award Selection Committee who worked along with us this past year to create the award. Most importantly, we are grateful to our friends, family, and Jewish community donors for their support and to the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington for housing the Avi West Endowment Fund.

Linked below you will find an overview and all the required forms for those applying or nominating someone for award consideration:

In the overview, you will find a PDF that enables you to preview the questions before you submit the online forms. Nominations/applications are due on November 16, 2022.

Please know that the Award Selection Committee and we are available to answer questions and help you navigate the nomination/application process. For general questions, please reach us at [email protected].

We look forward to your participation.

With much anticipation and gratitude,

Liron West Silbert
Chagit West
Yohai West