Welcome to Ira Dounn
Ira Dounn, Teen Educator, was raised in Teaneck, NJ, attending Teaneck public schools, Hebrew school at both the Teaneck Jewish Center and at Congregation Beth Am, and then the Bergen Academy of Reform Judaism (BARJ) during his high school years. During his senior year of high school, he began a close relationship with his mentors Rabbi Dr. Samuel Mendelowitz and Rhoda Mendelowitz, who largely inspired his desire to develop his Jewish and Jewish textual knowledge.
Ira attended the University of Chicago (AB, 2004) where he concentrated in Public Policy Studies and also had a particular interest in the Great Books Program. While at Chicago, he was a board member and the project leader of Habitat for Humanity, and also participated in service learning trips with Hillel to New Orleans and to Buenos Aires, Argentina. With a Muslim colleague, Ira founded the Jewish-Muslim Dialogue Group (JMD) at the University of Chicago. He also worked at Cook County Hospital’s Trauma Department with the University of Chicago’s Summer Links Program during the summer of 2002 and worked for Lawyers for Human Rights in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa as a University of Chicago Human Rights Program Intern during the summer of 2003.
After college, Ira went to Israel, where he studied Hebrew at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Milah ulpanim, and studied Jewish texts at Yeshivat Hamivtar in Efrat, followed by study at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah until 2008. In January 2008, he traveled to Ghana on American Jewish World Service’s (AJWS) Rabbinical School Delegation. Since March 2008, he has worked at Jewish Child Care Association’s (JCCA) Bukharian Teen Lounge, a comprehensive after-school program for Bukharian teenagers in Queens where he continues to work.
Among other things, Ira is enthusiastic about playing sports (soccer, baseball, bowling, table tennis, and many others), Broadway shows, reading (especially on the subway), Jewish informal education, traveling to new places, and meeting new people.