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Rabbi Eliezer (Lazer) Avtzon - Bio

Rabbi Eliezer (Lazer) Avtzon is the founder and Executive Director of the Global Jewish Assistance & Relief Network. The 13th of 15 children born to Rabbi Meir & Cheyena (Bina) Avtzon ob"m, Lazer grew up in Detroit, Michigan at a time the gates of the Former Soviet Union opened and thousands of immigrants came to the US, many of them settling in Detroit, where his parents volunteered day and night to help the new immigrants acclimate and settle in better conditions than when they arrived in 1953.

As a young child, Lazer assisted his mother distributing furniture, clothing and food to new immigrant families. Already at the young age of eight, he was leaving his parents Seder table to sing Russian and Ukrainian songs for 300+ immigrants feasting at a public communal Seder his mother organized for these families.

After his mothers passing in July1986, the young newly ordained Rabbi Avtzon, took upon himself to continue in her footsteps. From 1987 - 1990, he worked as the Director of the Machne Israel Development Fund, later as Director of Development for the United Lubavitcher Yeshivoth and then as Special Projects Director for Collel Chabad.

In 1991, with zero resources, but tremendous dedication, he established Gates of Benovolence, a religious not for profit, to begin collecting donations of food, clothing, toys and medications to send and distribute to Jewish communities across the Former Soviet Union. Within a short period of time, but still with very limited resources and still working from his bedroom, Rabbi Avtzon established the Global Jewish Assistance & Relief Network, a 501 C 3 not for profit charity, as he saw the tremendous potential to win large government contracts and corporate support for his efforts.

In the past 25 years, the Global Jewish Assistance raised, collected and distributed more than $180 Million dollars worth of food, clothing, toys, medical equipment and medications to needy people all across the Former Soviet Union and Israel.

Since 2001, our efforts shifted to Israel where far too many of our brethren struggle. Here too, the Global Jewish Assistance established Israel's First National Food Bank and later created A Full Plate and then ultimately, The FOOD CARD, providing over $10M dollars worth of assistance to tens of thousands of families.

In addition to serving as the Executive Director of the Global Jewish Assistance, Rabbi Avtzon is the Rabbi and spiritual leader of Cong. Merkaz Sepharad in Crown Heights and leader of the local Sephardic community. Additionally, Rabbi Avtzon assists Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila of Chabad of Central Africa and was greatly instrumental in the opening of new centers in Nigeria, Angola and Ghana, with several additional centers to be opened in the next few years.

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Biography

 

Born – 11/18/1963 Detroit, Michigan

 

Education:

Beth Yehudah Hebrew Day School 1966 – 1976

Telshe Yeshiva (Chicago) – 1977

United Lubavitcher Yeshivoth O.P. (Brooklyn, NY) – 1978 – 1980

Rabbinical College of America  (Morristown, NJ) – 1981

Oholei Torah Rabbinical Seminary (Brooklyn, NY) – 1982

Oholei Yosef Yitzchok – Casablanca, Morocco – 1983, 1984

Tomchei Tmimim Rabbinical College – New York and Montreal, Canada 1985,86

 

Degrees:

Masters In Religious Education 1982

Masters in Religious Law  and Rabbinic Ordination     1986

 

Work Experience:

Machne Israel Development Fund – Administrator – 1987

United Lubavitcher Yeshivoth – Director of Development 1988-89

Colel Chabad – Special Projects Coordinator – 1990

Gates of Benevolence – Founder & Director 1991

Global Jewish Assistance & Relief Network – Founder & Executive Director – February 1992 – present

 

Awards:

United States Department of State in recognition of efforts on behalf of needy people in the FSU – 1995

United States Department of Agriculture on behalf of … - 1999, 2000

Jewish Community of Dnepropetrovsk - 1999, 2000

Jewish Community of Kiev – 2000

 

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