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The Ezra Seegull Leadership and Advocacy Fund

The Ezra Seegull Leadership and Advocacy Fund was established by Diane and Larry Seegull in memory of their beloved son, Ezra ’18 z”l. Ezra was an active, beloved, caring, funny and intelligent graduate of Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School. The Ezra Seegull Leadership and Advocacy Fund memorializes Ezra at BT by fostering his interest in advocacy as well as his passion for Israel and Judaism. With the generosity of the Seegulls, their friends and family, the fund will support extracurricular programs that were pivotal to his experience as a BT student: Model UN, mock trial, AIPAC, and the student newspaper.

“Ezra had a huge footprint at Beth Tfiloh and in the world, and had an impact on the lives of so many people. Though his loss was huge, I really believe he would have wanted us to focus not on the tragedy, but on the hope. And that is what this fund will do – for the memory of Ezra and for all the people who will benefit.”
– Dr. Zipora Schorr

The Seegulls are proud to support, in Ezra’s memory, programs that foster mentorship between students and which enhance leadership, public speaking and the advocacy skills of BT students. They encourage the Beth Tfiloh community to keep his memory alive by making a gift to the Ezra Seegull Leadership and Advocacy Fund to support these important areas of a Beth Tfiloh experience.
 
To donate a tribute gift in Ezra’s name, please click here and select the “Ezra Seegull Leadership and Advocacy Fund” from the drop-down menu.

Ezra was beloved by his family, teachers and friends, who share their memories of this extraordinary young man below:

“Ezra was always someone who excelled in his communication skills. His ability to navigate a discussion and see both sides of an issue allowed for interesting discussions. Accordingly, it was natural that he took an early interest in the high school newspaper, mock trial, AIPAC and Model UN.

In each of these extracurricular clubs, Ezra was not only able to enhance his writing and speaking skills, but  was able to work with students from other grades. More senior students were role models who encouraged him to practice and gain confidence in his verbal and leadership skills. Ezra was then able to help guide younger students as he became more senior. It is gratifying to know that just as Ezra benefited from the guidance  of more senior leaders of these clubs early on,  there were students who in turn expressed to us their appreciation for Ezra’s leadership. Collaboration between students, throughout high school, fostered by participating in these clubs facilitates role models for students as well as the enhancement of leadership and communication skills that have lifelong benefits.

We are gratified to know that students at BT will continue to benefit from the leadership opportunities that these clubs provide. ”

Diane and Larry Seegull
“Every morning of every day when I say my tfillos, I mention Ezra Seegull’s name out loud, whether I’m in shul, my car, standing by the ocean, anywhere.

I miss Ezra and will always miss him. He was an amazing newspaper team member, but he was better than amazing. He gave our publication his heart and his soul. No matter how many tests he had to prepare for, no matter how much homework he had, no matter what was going on his life, I knew Ezra wanted to serve his student community with every ounce of his energy.

Ezra was a Jewish history student of mine as well. He was always the last to leave class, because he wanted to talk to me about what was going on Israel, Capitol Hill and even Pikesville. Sometimes the bell for the beginning of the next class would sound and we’d both have to run through the hallways to get to our next class.

It remains stunning to me that he isn’t here to this day. I expect him to walk into Jewish history with his heavy backpack and list of questions.

He was a wonderful citizen of this world, a gentle genius. He was making the world better as a teenager. G-d only knows what he would have done in this world as an adult.

I seek comfort in thinking G-d probably needed Ezra for a universal project that we just don’t know about yet. Whatever that task is, Ezra is the right man for the job.

But I miss Ezra. Always will.”

– Phil Jacobs
“In 2013, I met Ezra on the fields of BT where we would be teammates playing lacrosse. As a 6th grader, I remember feeling so out of my league. Ezra was two years ahead of me and, in my eyes, "the big man on campus." He was everything I wanted to be - gregarious, extraordinarily motivated and driven, trusted, admired by others, optimistic, and had a keen sense of how to connect with people in a meaningful and authentic way instantly. Ezra entered high school the following year, and I figured our friendship would fade away; however, knowing Ezra, that ceased to occur.

For those who did not have the honor to know Ezra, let me give you a few examples of why Ezra was one of the most influential people in my life. In my final weeks of ninth grade, a yearly obsession plagued the school as teachers released their recommendations for advanced placement courses. I recall many friends expressing their happiness and pride, while others, including myself, experienced rejection, and disappointment. Later that day, I randomly ran into Ezra in the hallway and explained what had happened to me. He then recommended that I write a persuasive letter detailing my qualifications and desire for the advanced placement course. To my surprise, I gained entry. That was one of the first and most crucial lessons Ezra taught me about advocating for myself. I will forever be grateful to Ezra for his guidance and support.

He took me under his wing once again as he showed me the vast clubs BT has to offer. As Ezra guided me through different information sessions, I finally got to see the clubs he passionately participated in, such as Mock Trial, Model UN, Student Government, and AIPAC. While I told Ezra that I would not do well speaking in front of large groups or leading a crowd, he offered to coach me for tryouts. With his guidance, I was fortunate to make the Mock trial team and the Model UN team a year later. Whether in the courtroom where we matched as an attorney witness pair or representing different countries to solve global challenges, I learned how to speak publicly, debate, research and analyze data, and most importantly, grow into a confident student leader. Ezra embraced this role as my mentor throughout Mock Trial and Model UN, instilling professional and personal skills in me. Through my involvement in these clubs, Ezra taught me the art of compromise and persuasion and the skills to advocate for change. Ezra helped me find my voice. Being a part of Model UN and Mock Trial helped me realize that I had leadership potential and social abilities that probably would not have been discovered without these experiences or Ezra being a part of my life. I am forever grateful to Ezra; without his guidance and support, I would not be where I am today.

To those who aspire to join Mock Trial or Model UN - make that investment in yourself.

– Zach Pearlstone '20

Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School

Learning together. For life.
Baltimore’s only Jewish independent preparatory school serving PreSchool through Grade 12.