Eddie Esses, 27, Promoting Sephardic Civic Engagement


facebook.com/eddie.esses / @eddieesses

The Jewish Week’s annual 36 Under 36 honors young leaders, entrepreneurs and change-makers who are making a difference in the life of Jewish New York. For the full list of this year’s “36ers,” click here.

What do you do?

I focus on increasing civic engagement in the Sephardic community, working to keep the community close to important elected officials by conducting public interviews and bringing them around our local institutions. I recently co-founded the Sephardic Discussion Forum which focuses on providing a platform for respectful civil discussion on community and world topics. Additionally, I worked on bringing a charter school option to community parents to address the growing tuition crisis and put together events focused on increasing awareness in the community on issues of race.

How does your Jewish identity influence your work?

Growing up in the Sephardic Jewish community, I’ve felt the special sense of connection that people have to one another in such a tight-knit community. It’s inspired me to do everything in my power to help secure the brightest possible future for the community, whether it be through civic involvement or activism for important local causes.

Was there a formative Jewish experience that influenced your life path?

Traveling to different parts of the world and seeking out the local Chabad or synagogue each time has always given me a very special feeling of a unique brotherhood and the sense that as Jews, we always have a network of people that we may have never even met who are nevertheless always there for us.

Do you have a favorite inspiring quote?

“Talk about a dream, try to make it real.” (Bruce Springsteen)

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