Erica (Keenholtz) Crisses is the 2024 recipient of the Adam Madorsky Social Justice Award.

Erica Crisses to receive the Adam Madorsky Social Justice Award

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Erica Crisses to receive the Adam Madorsky Social Justice Award

Erica (Keenholtz) Crisses is the 2024 recipient of the Adam Madorsky Social Justice Award.

Volunteerism is a driving force for Erica (Keenholtz) Crisses. Erica credits much of her commitment to tikkun olam to the foundational experiences she had at Cohen Hillel Academy (class of 1994). “There was always a focus on giving back, which was woven into the academic and social components of the school,” Erica said.

Erica is this year’s recipient of the Adam Madorsky Social Justice Award at Epstein Hillel School. This award is given in memory of Adam Madorsky, son of Karen and Jerry Madorsky, to recognize Hillel alumni who have continued to pursue social justice in their personal or professional lives.

Karen Madorsky was Erica’s eighth grade English teacher and also taught a course from Facing History and Ourselves. The Facing History curriculum is rooted in Holocaust education but also examines human nature and emphasizes the importance of being an upstander. “Karen Madorsky left an indelible mark on me. She not only developed the skills necessary for academic success but also inspired a commitment to helping others.” This made receiving this award even more poignant for Erica. “I’m truly humbled and honored to be the recipient,” she said.

Erica grew up in Marblehead and currently resides in Scarsdale, NY, after living in New York City for 17 years. She is involved with many organizations in her community, particularly in the areas of youth education, pediatric healthcare, and Jewish communal services.

Erica currently serves as secretary on the board of directors for the Scarsdale School Education Foundation, a nonprofit that raises funds to support innovative programs and facilities not covered by the tax budget. Additionally, she co-chairs Learning from Our Differences at Heathcote Elementary School, a program aimed at fostering empathy and understanding among those who are different from themselves. In this role, Erica curates a series of speakers for each grade to educate them about various disabilities including visual and hearing impairments, physical impairments, and learning differences.

In the field of healthcare, Erica serves on the Pediatric Council at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City. The Pediatric Council funds groundbreaking research, provides financial support for those in need, improves patient experiences, and creates special opportunities for long-term patients. Erica became involved with HSS after her daughter was born with a birth defect that was treated by one of the hospital’s outstanding pediatric orthopedists. “When this doctor was forming council to support pediatrics, I felt passionate about both him and organization that helped our daughter,” she said.

Erica is also deeply committed to tikkun olam programming within the Scarsdale Jewish community. She serves on the Board of Trustees of Westchester Reform Temple and co-chairs the Scarsdale Board
of UJA-Federation. In this position, she organizes volunteer opportunities at Jewish day camps, JCC’s, nursing homes, and facilities for underserved communities. Additionally, she arranges programs and speakers to educate the community on various topics.

In 2022, Erica began a five-year term as a member of the Jewish Federation’s National Young Leadership Cabinet. This program aims to develop a group of Jewish leaders from across the United States through educational retreats and international missions. Erica recently traveled with this group to Latvia, Hungary, Argentina, and Uruguay to gain a deeper understanding of the global Jewish community and see firsthand how raised funds are benefitting these communities.

In her most recent social action efforts, Erica has been involved with the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.  She has spent time with freed hostages and family members, organizing engagements for them to share their stories and raise awareness about the remaining hostages taken on Oct. 7.

Erica has a bachelor’s in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and works in the fashion industry where she previously held positions at Bloomingdale’s and Gucci. She is currently launching a women’s clothing line that will debut in the coming year. Erica and her husband Alexander have three children: daughter Blake (13) and twin boys, Austin and Spencer (10). Erica is the daughter of Dr. Steven and Roberta Keenholtz and visits “home” in Marblehead often to see her parents, siblings, niece and nephews.

Erica Crisses will be honored with the Adam Madorsky Social Justice Award at the Epstein Hillel School annual meeting on Wednesday, June 5th at 7:00 p.m. Those who wish to attend may RSVP to lkreevoy@epsteinhillel.org.

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