On Friday, Rashi was fortunate to virtually welcome Tikkun Alum Recipient Alexandra Katz (Tikkun Alum Recipient ’13, Rashi Alum ’03).
The Tikkun Alum Award was created in 2012 to celebrate Rashi alumni who demonstrate a strong commitment to social justice and tikkun olam (repairing the world) in their lives beyond Rashi. Through personal and professional efforts, Tikkun Alums embody the values of social justice that were instilled in them as Rashi students.
Tikkun Alums are recognized at the Rashi Annual Dinner and are invited to spend a day at the school, sharing with students their ongoing efforts and the ways in which Rashi social justice initiatives shaped their own directions and pursuits.
Alex spoke to our students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 and with the Middle School student leadership, sharing in age appropriate ways about her work as a Staff Attorney at the Bronx Defenders Office in the Bronx, New York.
Stephanie Rotsky introduced Alex with a Pirkei Avot quote: Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own (Pirkei Avot 2:10).
Alex has had 1,000 clients, and shared how she has never worked with someone who only did a bad thing to do a bad thing-that there’s always more to the story. Perhaps a mental health struggle, or a really difficult upbringing, or extenuating circumstances. She said she works “to see my clients as whole human beings.”
Students asked thoughtful and nuanced questions like: have you ever had a case where you believed the other side? Do you keep in touch with clients? What’s the longest case you’ve had? Have you ever wanted one of your clients to go to jail? Have you ever changed your mind about someone who was innocent?
Alex attended The Rashi School and shared that “I am who I am today because of the values I learned at Rashi. As a second grader in Stephanie Rotsky’s class, I honored Tzedakah Heroes…participated in the Tamchui project. Rashi taught me that I had a responsibility to make the world a better place. Today I put these values to use by fighting against injustice.”