Rabbi Mark Blazer, of Temple Beth Ami, was nationally recognized by the Academy for Jewish Religion on March 16 for serving his community for 25 years.
AJR is a non-denominational Jewish seminary that ordains rabbis and cantors for all Jewish communities.
Blazer said he feels rather uncomfortable when talking about his accomplishments and that he would rather talk about the good work of others. “I don’t want to feel like people are recognizing me for stuff,” Blazer said. “It’s nice, it’s nice to be recognized, but I really don’t need to be recognized.”
Blazer did admit some things he was proud of, one of which was helping start the Albert Einstein Academy — a public charter school that was a part of the William S. Hart Union High School District for seven years. While the school no longer exists in the area, it has continued in other states.
“I was really proud of how much we did in the very few years the school was in L.A. County and the Hart district. It was only open for seven years, but for those seven years, we ended up doing amazing things,” said Blazer. “That was really one of my greatest accomplishments — was really giving back to the entire community because it wasn’t faith-based, it wasn’t a Jewish school… We got to give back to the entire community.”
Another thing Blazer is proud of is helping start Family Promise, a local organization dedicated to fighting homelessness.
“Family Promise started as a way for churches and synagogues to respond to the homeless crisis,” said Blazer. “I’ve been involved with advocating on behalf of the homeless. Twenty-five years ago, I went to try to get what became Bridge to Home established and that was a success too. We were able to get the funding and the location for the homeless shelter. So I’ve worked real hard on that,” said Blazer. “We’ve been able to help hundreds of homeless families get out of really precarious situations through Family Promise and that’s one of my that’s… probably one of my proudest achievements ”
Blazer said another thing he’s very proud of is the cooperation between the different synagogues and congregations within the Santa Clarita Valley.
“One of the things that we’ve really been able to do is work together, across denominational lines in our Jewish community,” said Blazer. “That’s one of things I’m proud of, too, is that we will cooperate and work together. All the synagogues agree to cooperate and work together, which I think is really, that doesn’t happen a lot and it does happen in our community, which I’m proud of.”