Aaron Aftergood ‘94
Sometimes there’s truth to clichés—as Sinai Akiba Academy alumnus Aaron Aftergood discovered about the adage “it takes a village to raise a child.” Raising three kids—ages 10, 8, and 5—with friends and community around him, has proven deeply fulfilling.
At any given day, Aaron and his closest friends from the Lainer School community, will encounter and embrace each other at carpool, in business, and on the greater Los Angeles social scene. These connections, as Aaron tells it, were initially cultivated at his old stomping ground, Sinai Akiba Academy.
“Sinai Akiba brought people together, embraced its families, and nurtured the relationships that formed,” Aaron said.
The education he received in Lower and Middle School is what inspired Aaron to extend his study of Judaism throughout his high school career at Harvard-Westlake, even after he graduated 8th Grade. At Aaron’s request, Ahoova Zeffren, a 5th Grade Sinai Akiba Judaic studies teacher, would host continuing classes in Judaism for Aaron and his friends once a week.
And Aaron still leads his classmates as an alumni ambassador, organizing reunions and bringing his “village” together to reconnect. For its own part, Lainer School continues to empower students like Aaron to infuse Jewish values wherever they travel.
Aaron’s travels overseas throughout his college career allowed him to grasp the extent of the Jewish community globally. As a legal studies major, Aaron took a class in urban planning, which gave him the opportunity to travel to Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Cape Town. He studied communities affected by poverty and hunger to research how to improve their quality of life through urban initiatives.
Aaron also actively searched for a Jewish presence in each destination. He found just that in a Chabad house Seder with over 100 Israeli soldiers in Rio, in synagogues in Mumbai, and in the Jewish community in Johannesburg. Aaron’s travels proved to him that connecting with Jews around the world was not only possible, but also an essential component of being Jewish, a part of the global Jewish “village.”
A lifelong learner, Aaron chose a career in law and business after graduating from University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law. Why law? The answer here, too, goes back to community.
“Having a legal education enables me to do things which might actually make our community and world a better place,” he said.
Currently, Aaron is using his legal and urban planning skills to advance the family business and revitalize neighborhoods through a real estate project across the country. His new company, Fishburn Kitchens, renovates the interior of industrial buildings into shared commercial kitchen facilities for local caterers, in cities such as Downtown LA, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Many of his clients run kosher companies. Through increased levels of commerce, the economic profile of neighborhoods, such as downtown LA, are revitalized and transformed into a greater “village” of people who connect through food creation.
Aaron is excited about finding more opportunities to give back to the community through this latest endeavor – and that initiative to give back is certainly a value he learned at Lainer School.
“Sinai Akiba brought people together, embraced its families, and nurtured the relationships that formed.”