“Sinai Akiba has been part of the fabric of my family’s life since I can remember,” he says. “The School helped shape who I am as a human being socially, professionally, academically – and it’s served as a home away from home.”
Growing up in the 1980s, Jason witnessed some of the most significant moments in the School’s history, such as the merger with Sinai Temple in 1986 and the orchestra’s first performance in Israel in 1988.
Jason, who plays the violin, saxophone and drums, remembers the Israel trip as formative for his development both as a musician and a Jew. The orchestra performed in schools, kibbutzim, community centers and stages all over Israel, and even unknowingly performed for then-future Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
Along with his community, Jason solidified his connection to his ancient Jewish homeland and to his love of music through those memorable summer weeks. Today, every Lainer School eighth grade class travels to Israel whether in the orchestra or not, sharing in the tradition of deeply formative experience.
Jason’s love of music continued after graduation. He played in numerous venues with his band throughout his years at UC Berkeley, where he earned a degree in English literature, and at USC, where he earned his law degree. “Music is an enormous part of my life now, one that I am excited to share with my daughter,” he says. “It’s a social activity, a stress reliever and a really great way to connect with human beings on a deeper level.”
Upon graduating USC Law School, Jason launched his legal career in entertainment law for Radar Pictures, but soon discovered a passion for business development in digital media, working for companies such as Myspace, DEFY Media and currently, Google. He says the digital media and technology space requires crafting compelling stories every day to bring quality content to diverse audiences. “I love storytelling,” he says. “I focused on digital media because that has become the next evolution in the craft of sharing stories.”
He traces his love for stories back to SAA. “A huge part of what we did there was study biblical texts and literature,” he says. “Everything I’ve done stems from that pursuit.”
Remembering his favorite classes, Jewish history and English literature, Jason fondly recalls his wonderful teachers, including Ms. Lawrence, Ms. Baker, Rivka Shaked and Frida Eytan who guided him through his formative years with warmth and academic vigor.
Jason himself is proud that three of his nieces and nephews have graduated from Sinai Akiba and now his own daughter is a student in the Douglas Family Early Childhood Center. He knows that she will get a stellar education and a “recipe for living.”
“Imparting values, Judaism, and history are critical to raising a child,” he says. “Sinai Akiba provides kids with an opportunity to live their best lives.”