Adam Lassman ’10

Our Rashi Community is an incubator for compassion. It was a start-up before the words were fashionable, where students and faculty join together to identify the issues that inspire them, fan the flames of new ideas and explore new paths to solutions. 

This is as true in Heidi Chappel’s first grade class as it is of Stephanie ’s programming each year or meeting with Joni to explore our individual B’nai Mitzvah projects. We are taught to capitalize on our strengths, to lead for good and to make an impact on the world around us. Tamchui taught us to choose our causes carefully and that no matter what stage in life, our efforts count. 

In 2003, I was in second grade when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a young child, I was shielded from mucho f the anxiety and distress that surrounded me, but still, I knew that everything was not ok. I wanted to help, but as an 8-year-old my reach was limited. My mother’s battle with the disease has been successful thanks to accurate information, early detection and access to excellent medical care. 

Over the years I imagined ways I might give other children and families peace of mind by increasing the chances that their mothers might have positive outcomes. Throughout my years at Rashi, I worked on an idea that ultimately grew into the Pink Seat Project. With additional support from Prozdor Start Up Project and the Diller Teen Fellowship Program, I was able to access dedicated mentors and funding to establish non-profit status, create a website and install Pink Seats at sports and entertainment venues in the Greater Boston Area and beyond. Funds generated are donated to local breast cancer organizations to broaden access to education and screening for women regardless of ability to pay. 

Now at the mid-point of my studies at the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, my Rashi experience still informs my outlook and my actions. My work with the Barton Research Group focuses on autonomous intelligence, seeking to understand and improve our world without risk to human life or our environment and on the M-Hybrid team, building a car that combines fuel, electronics and computer software to increase fuel economy and efficiency. With the support of OptiMize, an organization created for young entrepreneurs in pursuit of social action objectives, we have Pink Seats at University of Michigan theater productions and I anticipate the confirmation of seats in the “Big House” and other prominent venues soon. 

Tikkun Olam can only flourish with action. Rashi taught me to choose thoughtfully and act with determination to make a difference in our world. 

Adam is currently a student at the University of Michigan studying computer engineering. He was recognized for seeking awareness and funds for Breast Cancer support developing the Pink Seat Project both locally and while he is at Michigan.