Epstein Hillel School is pleased to announce Joshua Heerter ‘99 to be this year’s recipient of the Adam Madorsky Social Justice Award. The award, created in 2016 in memory of Adam Madorsky, son of Karen and Jerry Madorsky, recognizes alumni who have continued to pursue social justice in their personal or professional life. Joshua exemplifies the spirit and intent of the award, which will be presented to him on June 9, 2021, at EHS’s virtual annual meeting.

For over a decade, Joshua has been tutoring, mentoring, and teaching English to non-native-English-speaking students at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston. Joshua is a tenured professional staff member of the Language Lab, which is an especially diverse and dynamic space at the College whose mission is to provide a welcoming environment and academic support for students from underprivileged populations. In addition, he is currently tutoring a dual-enrolled Bridges to College class at Chelsea High School, the students of which are primarily Spanish-speaking immigrants. Through his work, he embodies the Jewish value of welcoming the stranger by supporting his non-English-speaking students with their transition into the United States.

“Since I often work with relatively new immigrants, I am also often the first Jew my students have ever met, and I have learned to navigate sharing that aspect of my identity in my work in interesting ways.”

Joshua is proud of the highly social-justice-driven scope of his work, a value he credits back to his days as a student in Karen Madorsky’s classroom.

“My work wouldn’t be successful without the care and strict dedication of Karen Madorsky. My three years of language arts instruction with her were the most rigorous of my entire life, leading me to not only earn a letter of specialization in professional writing during my undergraduate studies, but also enabled me to go on to pursue my master’s in the teaching of composition as well as led to the career that I have had thus far.”

Joshua has three younger siblings who are 5, 9, and 15 years younger than he is (Shoshana and Rachel Heerter were both Hillel students). Using the skills he learned in Karen’s classroom, he occasionally tutored his younger siblings as they grew up. Little did he know the hours spent helping his siblings were a foreshadow of the future.

Following Hillel, Joshua attended the New Jewish High School (now Gann Academy). While a student there, he interned for The Jewish Journal writing editorials and human interest stories. Joshua then went on to earn a degree in English Literature at UMass Amherst, completing an honor’s capstone project in creative writing and obtaining a certificate of professionalization in technical writing and professional communication. He attests that none of this would have been possible without the rigorous learning he was provided by Mrs. Madorsky at Hillel.

Joshua was chosen for the award this year because of his engagement with the underserved. He lives in Chelsea with his wife, Rasha.

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