A 2001 graduate of ICJA, Joseph Zayan has been a part of Hatzalah Chicago’s since its inception and has worked as a volunteer paramedic with Hatzalah Chicago for the past decade. “My motivation is to do good in the community, and be able to serve others,” Joseph explains. He’s noticed that Hatzalah first responders can offer patients a high degree of “comfort and trust” and that he and his fellow Hatzalah volunteers have saved lives.
Joseph credits ICJA with helping spark his desire to good for others. “The focus that there was in the Academy on chesed and giving back to the community pushed me in that direction” of volunteering. In high school, Joseph recalls volunteering at Keshet was a formative influence, teaching him the value of reaching out to help his fellow Jews.
Another key lesson of ICJA was the school’s “focus on all the different chagim – it helped give me a love for what each holiday represents,” Joseph recalls. He’s drawn on those lessons in the years since: as a young single, Joseph used to plan holiday programming in his synagogue; today, he organizes Shabbat kiddushes for the Hatzalah community. Joseph currently lives in West Rogers Park with his wife Leah and five children. His oldest, Meir Zayan, is a freshman at ICJA, and Joseph is glad that he’s learning the same love for Yiddishkeit and chesed that Joseph learned at ICJA. Summing up his many years of community service, Joseph notes that his motivation and excitement “all came from Ida Crown”.