Lee and Nechama Chernotsky live in Los Angeles, California with their three kids. A homeschooling family for over 6 years now, Lee and Nechama worked hard for their kids to start their education at a Jewish Montessori, in which they are still active.
Nechama, Lee’s wife and partner in purpose (soon to formally join the Speakers Bureau), laughingly describes Lee as “hallucinogenically optimistic, a renaissance man, an incredible father and listener who gives more than he takes.” Needless to say, Lee is selfless, and his passion manifests in his work with his foundation, ROSIES, a 501C3 nonprofit, to which Lee has found a chosen family with visionary philanthropic support from the Jeffrey and Leann Sobrato Charitable Fund.
ROSIES was created in honor of Lee’s grandmother, Rose, who was a survivor and a woman not to mess with! While you’ll have to imagine the exuberant smile that Lee had while talking about his Bubba, trust me when I say his love and devotion to his family shines through. ROSIES works to build a more accessible Los Angeles through experiences and enterprise. In truth, however, Lee wants as many individuals and organizations to benefit from the work of ROSIES as possible.
While the foundation is based in California, Lee does not limit his efforts to one geographic area. In fact, as a person with ADHD who understands the many barriers that people with disabilities face to success, Lee has made it very clear that “if there’s a door that’s open, I have to hold it open for as many people to come through as possible.” Lee’s work with ROSIES has promoted this mindset.
Lee is very authentic and has a genuine passion for the work he does. He and Nechama are a team, and they truly compliment and complete each other. To Nechama and Lee, Judaism is integrally woven into their everyday life and activities. Lee grew up in a liberal household, identifying with the Conservative Movement, within a very religious family. Nechama grew up in the Chabad community. Practicing Judaism has never been a “one and done” for this family. The concept of Judaism has been an ongoing conversation with their kids. They work to ensure intentional inclusion of Judaism every week, through practice, tradition, lighting Shabbat candles, Shabbat dinners and saying the Shema with their children at night. Lee leads a busy life, but said that “if on Saturday there’s work, then that means Tuesday is going to be our Shabbat. We are going to make sure that it gets celebrated.” As his grandfather used to say, “we don’t keep Shabbat, Shabbat keeps us.” Their oldest daughter will soon have her Bat-Mitzvah. Lee and Nechama say it is “a beautiful thing” to witness how their daughter has chosen to embrace Judaism.
Having searched for his passion and endured his share of hardships, Lee has said that founding ROSIES has saved his life. According to Lee, every day that he continues to share this mission and his passion for the work he is doing is another day that ROSIES has saved him. Lee admits that “it can be hard to have the less positive feeling out there, it’s better for everyone when we can have all of them out there.” Lee is grateful for the ability to have an incredible platform to share his family’s story, and their journey with ROSIES. If you are interested in having Lee come and speak at your organization, please contact Jake Stimell at JakeS@RespectAbility.org.