LOS ANGELES—On December 6th, at the 2022 People’s Choice Awards, Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh, American Jewish University’s (AJU) VP of Jewish Engagement, was honored on stage by music icon, Lizzo. At the annual event, Lizzo, the Grammy-award winning artist, was given the “People’s Champion Award” for using her platform and global influence to inspire change. She shared the spotlight and stage with activists from around the country.
In her acceptance speech, Lizzo shared, “To be an icon isn’t about how long you have had your platform. Being an icon is what you do with that platform. Ever since the beginning of my career, I have used my platform to amplify marginalized voices. So tonight, I’m sharing this honor.”
On her recognition by Lizzo, Rabbi Rabizadeh shared, “I’m honored to be recognized alongside this powerful group of activists. Lizzo took a moment to shed a light on the work that each of us contribute to the world—and for my part, I cannot emphasize enough how the richness of the Jewish tradition is only made stronger by the diversity in which we are each able to celebrate it, regardless of culture, upbringing, or the color of our skin. We should make it a priority to ensure that people be included and feel welcomed.” Expanding on her work at AJU, Rabbi Rabizadeh added, “AJU’s Maas Center works to meet the evolving needs of the Jewish community with a commitment to fostering inclusive and welcoming spaces for those looking to engage with Judaism for the first time and those seeking to immerse themselves more deeply in their Jewish identity – this is a humbling recognition of our continued impact to the future of the Jewish tradition.”
At AJU, Rabbi Rabizadeh is the Director of the Maas Center of Jewish Journeys, the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program, and supervises the Ziering Brandeis Collegiate Institute (BCI) Program. Ordained at Hebrew Union College- JIR, Rabbi Rabizadeh has consistently used her voice to bridge the gaps within and between various Jewish and non-Jewish communities.
Recently, Rabbi Rabizadeh has focused on the humanitarian crisis in Iran and continues to galvanize support for Iranian human rights, especially for women and minority groups. Just last week, she led an event at AJU, titled “Baraye Iran” (For Iran) – a panel discussion with distinguished speakers on why this humanitarian crisis matters to the Jewish community and how to get involved.
About AJU: American Jewish University (AJU) is a thriving center of Jewish resources and talent that serves the Jewish community of the twenty-first century. A portal for Jewish belonging, AJU equips students, faculty, campers, and learners of all ages with the tools to create the ideas, build the structures, and develop the programs to advance Jewish wisdom and elevate Jewish living. For more information, visit www.aju.edu.
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ben [at] miller-ink.com (Ben Parnes)rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank" and rachel.richter [at] miller-ink.com (Rachel Richter)rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank"
Michelle Starkman, M.A., MBA
Vice President, Communications