Adam Madorsky Social Justice Award 2019

Adam Madorsky Social Justice AwardThe Adam Madorsky Social Justice Award was created in 2016 in memory of Adam Madorsky, son of Karen and Jerry Madorsky, to recognize alumni who have continued to pursue social justice in their personal or professional life. Adam had a wonderful sense of humor and was a compassionate person with an overwhelming desire and ability to help those in need. The recipient(s) of this award will be recognized at the school’s Annual Meeting and will also visit Epstein Hillel to share with students their ongoing efforts, and the ways in which the school’s social justice experiences helped to shape and influence their pursuits and decisions. The recipients will also receive a donation to a charitable organization of their choice.

Current and former Epstein Hillel/Cohen Hillel families, faculty, staff and community members are invited to submit nominations for this year’s Adam Madorsky Social Justice Award. The following criteria should be followed when submitting nominations.

Nominees should be:

  • Alumni of Cohen/Epstein Hillel (graduated or attended) of college age or older.
  • A participant in an ongoing social justice project* (professional or personal), and/or someone who has demonstrated an outstanding effort or action in response to injustice.
  • Available to share their experience at Epstein Hillel with our current students.

*Finalists will be asked to provide supporting references of their social justice work.

The nomination period for this award is now closed. 

For questions or further information, please contact Deryn Pressman-Mashin, Director of Community Engagement, at

2019 Madorsky Honoree

Aaron Lawee '97

Aaron Lawee developed a passion for immigration law in his first year of law school and has been working with immigrant communities ever since. He focuses his practice on removal defense and family based immigration, including naturalization applications, family petitions, U-visas, and VAWA self-petitions. 

A native of Marblehead with both Iraqi and Ashkenazi roots, Aaron attended CHA from Kindergarten through 8th grade.  He then went Marblehead High School, earned a B.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Georgetown Law School. As a law student, he interned at various immigrants’ rights organizations in Washington D.C. Aaron also participated in a fact-finding mission regarding the resettlement of Iraqi refugees, for which he received highest honors.

Following his graduation from college, Aaron served in AVODAH (the Jewish Service Corps) where he worked at a legal services organization, helping people on food stamps and welfare who had lost their benefits. He then spent time in South America learning Spanish before beginning law school, which led to his work in the Hispanic community.

Aaron currently lives in Chicago with his wife, Sara, is a member of Congregation Anshe Emet, and attends services at Temple Sholom. Aaron is also a member of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, a Chicago organization that advocates for positive social change and works to combat poverty, racism, and antisemitism.

2018 Madorsky Honorees

Jacob Abbisso

Jacob Abbisso '14

After Jacob’s Cohen Hillel teacher challenged his classmates to be like a giraffe and “stick their necks out” for others, Jacob decided to help Marblehead’s abandoned animals and raise money for a local animal shelter. He taught himself to twist animal balloons and became known as The Balloon Kid who entertained at birthday parties and local events. To date, he has raised almost $20,000, for the Marblehead Animal Shelter. He has also donated his time and talents to Boston Children’s Hospital, SPUR, Sailing Heals, Save a Children’s Heart (in Tel Aviv), and other non-profits.  Jacob has been a Madrich at Temple Emanu-El, a Sloane Peer Leadership Fellow, president of the Environment Club at Gann Academy, and is on the Stand With Us teen council – a national organization that helps teens advocate for Israel. Jacob also serves on the EHS alumni engagement committee. He is a 2014 graduate of Cohen Hillel Academy, and will be a 2018 graduate of Gann Academy attending Wesleyan University in the fall.

Ashley Orenberg Waterberg

Ashley Orenberg Waterberg '98

Ashley has spent over 20 years exemplifying the spirit of tikkun olam in myriad ways. While in college, she spent time repairing homes in Mississippi that were damaged from Hurricane Katrina and taking care of children in Dominican Republic. After college, she was accepted into the AmeriCorps Program where she helped empower residents in low income areas in Vermont to create change in their communities. She later pursued graduate study in social work and currently works in the Revere Public Schools. Ashley spearheaded the approval of the Gay Straight Student Alliance organization in all the Revere middle schools. She began and is still active in the Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Youth and facilitates the planning of LGBT-related events in the Boston area. She also has worked for many years on the Governor’s commission for LGBTQ Affairs. Ashley is a 1998 graduate of Cohen Hillel Academy and 2002 graduate of University of Vermont. She earned her MSW from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis in 2010.

2017 Madorsky Honorees

Shane Skikne

Shane Skikne '07

Fueled by his passion for engineering and helping others, Shane started a non-profit company in California, The Launch Studio, which is dedicated to teaching Title I students about entrepreneurship. Students are supported as they design, prototype, manufacture,and market their own products to local businesses. Shane’s Launch Studio has expanded to three schools in the upcoming school year. Shane is a 2007 graduate of Epstein Hillel School, 2011 graduate of Gann Academy and a 2015 graduate of the Olin School of Engineering.

Zach Shwartz

Zach Schwartz '08

From a very early age, Zachary has been committed to helping others. For many years, he has been involved with EMARC (East Middlesex Association for Retarded Citizens) as the softball coach for the Special Olympics, and currently as Head Coach for their basketball team. He now serves on Cohen Hillel’s Board of Directors, and can still be found leading bingo for the elders at his temple in Malden. Zachary is a 2008 graduate of Epstein Hillel School, 2012 graduate of Gann Academy and 2016 graduate of Boston University.