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Steve Tepper Jewish Hero

390 Votes for Steve Tepper

Share Your Hero

Steve Tepper

Chandler, Arizona

How is your Hero working to make the world a better place?

With a special emphasis on educating young people, Steve uses the lessons of the Holocaust to prevent future acts of hate. The East Valley Jewish Community Center in Chandler, Ariz., is building its own Holocaust museum and educational center, inspired by Steve Tepper's vision. Steve did much of the initial strategic and operational planning uncompensated so that any funds raised could go toward construction and consultant costs. Now, with a $2 million investment from the City of Chandler and a handful of generous benefactors, Steve is leading a volunteer-based steering committee toward an active awareness and fundraising campaign. Since joining the JCC in 2005, he has improved diversity awareness and training in the community, partnering with the city government to bring special events and programs to Chandler. For example, the JCC will host the Anne Frank USA traveling exhibit now twice when it arrives again in February 2012. Steve's work to preserve the stories of the Holocaust for the next generation is especially poignant in this modern area of increased bullying, gun violence, gang activity and more. Steve has forever changed each community he's lived and worked in for the better. As Director of Children, Youth and Camping Services at the Tucson JCC, for example, he took a very small program that included children with special needs and created the largest program in the system. He was honored by the Governor's Council of Arizona and as part of the Inclusion for All Hall of Fame.

How has your Hero impacted your life and inspired you?

Steve recruited me to the East Valley JCC Board; an intimidating commitment for a woman with an interfaith family and a 7-month-old. He confided in me that his work takes him from his family more than he would like, especially with the addition of the museum project. But he is doing it for them—so that his children will grow up in a world without discrimination. This alone is inspiring, but what has impacted my community and me the most is his relationship building, especially with other faith communities. He opens important doors that lead to understanding and acceptance.

What type of work does your Hero do?

Jewish education, identity, and culture, Social justice, Youth