Peter Chortek Leadership Award

Honoring San Diego Jewish high school students who demonstrate excellence in community service, leadership and philanthropy.

The Peter Chortek Leadership Award highlights high school students who inspire others through a volunteer service project that displays their initiative, passion and positive spirit. This award is based on the Jewish value of tikkun olam, or “repairing the world.”


2014 Applicants

The 2014 application is closed. The winners will be announced soon.

Criteria for award:

Watch all of the past Peter Chortek Leadership Award winners’ videos below.


Meet the 2013 Winners

Ari Krasner » Grade 12 – University City High School

Ari founded a campus club affiliate of Jewish Family Service’s Hand Up Youth Food Pantry to promote awareness about hunger and collect food and donations for the Pantry. Ari set out to educate his peers about food insecurity, but went above and beyond to revolutionize how the Pantry engages teens. Between recruiting students, teaching about hunger and event planning, Ari dedicates dozens of hours a month, leading to 450 community service hours between all participants, plus 1,500 pounds of food and hundreds of dollars collected for the Pantry.

Jenna Lizerbram » Grade 12 – La Costa Canyon High School

Since music had always been very important to her, Jenna united her passions of philanthropy and music to create YouthJamz when she was 13 years old. Her organization holds annual benefit concerts to raise funds to start music programs for underprivileged children around the world who do not have access to music education. Since 2010, YouthJamz has hosted four concerts and established and funded music programs for 800 children in San Diego, India and the Congo.

Jacob Gardenswartz » Grade 12 – Francis Parker School

Jacob helped to launch “Theater of Peace,” a program that uses short skits to educate elementary, middle and high school students about bullying. Pursuing tolerance and acceptance motivated Jacob to educate students to treat others with respect and kindness. Even going as far as sharing personal experiences, Jacob and his peer student performers explain bullying and provide tips for intervening in negative situations. In only two years, Theater of Peace has performed at over 200 assemblies and reached over 2,000 students across San Diego.

About the Peter Chortek Leadership Award

Peter Chortek z”l was not religious, but fiercely proud of being Jewish. He was committed to making a difference. His passion and focus was Jewish education, believing quality Jewish education would help insure a vibrant Jewish future. For Peter it meant being supportive of venues that would influence Jewish continuity. These include: day schools, Jewish camps, Hillel, Birthright, March of the Living, Jewish Community Centers and his synagogue.

The Peter Chortek Leadership Award was created to foster Jewish communal involvement by rewarding Jewish teens who are practicing tikkun olam, repairing the world.

Tikkun Olam Awards for teens around the country:

Diller 2013Know a teen with a passion for creating change? The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards is seeking nominations of Jewish teens who are actively engaged in social action. Up to 15 teens from across the country will be selected to receive $36,000 each for their exceptional leadership in projects that embody the value of tikkun olam, or “repairing the world.”

Community members can nominate young leaders now for the 2014 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards through a simple online form. Since 2007, this annual program of the Helen Diller Family Foundation has recognized 40 Jewish teens with nearly $1.5 million to further their projects and education. To nominate a teen or learn more about the program, visit Interested teens may apply through this online form. All Jewish teen volunteers who are 13 to 19 years old at the time of nomination are eligible. For questions, contact or (415) 512-6432. Deadline for nominations is January 11, 2015.