The Barbara and Harold Falik Young Leadership Award
Aliza Plotkin grew up in the Washington DC suburbs and was actively engaged in the Jewish Community from the time she was a young child. She held a variety of leadership roles in BBYO, volunteered in Jewish preschools and became an advocate for children with special needs as a counselor at Camp JCC. Aliza graduated from Frostburg State University with a degree in Theater and Psychology in 2006 and moved to New Orleans, LA. Initially working as the teen director at the New Orleans JCC, Aliza soon returned to her love of Early Childhood Education. She began teaching at Abeona House Child Discovery Center in New Orleans, a “grassroots” preschool founded to meet the needs of families recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. As Abeona House grew, Aliza became Center Director, training new staff in child development and best practices, and supporting growing community during times of change.
During this period, she discovered her passion for working with adults, realizing the impact that relationships and connections have on community building. It was there, in post-Katrina New Orleans, Aliza became focused on advocacy and social justice, and began her commitment to the important work of NCJW. After moving to Houston in 2013, Aliza quickly became a member of the NCJW Greater Houston Section Board, serving as fundraising and community service Vice President. These roles saw Aliza chair both the chapter’s annual gala as well as the advocacy event, Hannah’s Vision.
She is currently completing her two-year term as the Greater Houston Section’s president and in August will be installed as a member of the NCJW National Board for the upcoming triennial. Aliza’s recent election makes her the first representative from Houston in well over a decade for the organization that serves over 90,000 members nationally.
After the birth of her son in 2015, Aliza started working as a consultant with organizations such as Houston Jewish Federation and local Jewish preschools, facilitating communities of practices, leading workshops, supporting family engagement and working as a teacher mentor. She has served on the planning committee for several Paradigm Project conferences, a member of the PJ Library committee, headed up the Mischpacha & Me committee and been an active volunteer at the Becker School.
Aliza is married to a dedicated Jewish communal professional, Jason, for whom she met through BBYO as teens. Together, they have a four-year old son Isaac, who like his parents is a very visible throughout our Houston Jewish community.