Alumni Spotlight: Josh Ahdoot (’09), Los Angeles, USA

Josh Ahdoot (BJE Los Angeles ’09), Entrepreneur

This week we are proud to feature Josh Ahdoot (’09), alumnus from BJE Los Angeles, who, inspired by his March of the Living experience, strives to create safe spaces for inter-community dialogue.

Gas chambers, mass grave sites, bloody dolls and a toddler’s abandoned shoe are just some of the many things that changed my perspective on life forever. It’s been over ten years since I had the privilege of going on the March of The Living, but the memories engraved in my mind make it seem as if it was just yesterday. I will never forget the survivors I met and the concentration camps I visited.

I would never have thought that such a cruel part and place in Jewish history would be the place that made me most proud to be a Jew. With each passing day on the trip, my appreciation for my Jewish heritage began to grow at an exponential rate. The more I learned and saw, the more I vowed to forever fulfil my duty as a Jew and NEVER FORGET. I promised myself that I’d always stand up for the Jewish People whenever I had the chance and do whatever was in my power to create change.

As a proud Jew and Zionist, I’ve always looked for ways to take what I learned from my March of the Living experience and apply it towards helping my religion and the State of Israel. When a recent controversy over an anti-Semitic social media post made by the football wide receiver, DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles, and a follow-up remark by former NBA Basketball player Stephen Jackson became public, I decided that I could not stand idly by. Since I know that every race and religion have their own form of struggle, I wanted to do something to provide an opportunity for dialogue between the Jewish community and the Black community to discover what unites us rather than divides us.  

I contacted my childhood Rabbi, David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, and Stephen Jackson, the former NBA basketball player, and put together an Instagram Live conversation between them, so that we could all listen and learn. Rabbi Wolpe and Stephen Jackson had an honest and candid discussion that has hopefully opened the doors to further tolerance, mutual respect and understanding.

I am proud to share that over 10,000 people to date have watched this video and become more educated and, hopefully, more tolerant, because of it.

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