Why Are We Here?

May 4, 2017
8th of Iyyar, 5777

Dear AJA Community,

This week and last solidified for me (and hopefully, to many of you) why we are here. Why we have this school. Why we are a Modern Orthodox Day school. Why we are so proud of our role as a cornerstone of Jewish education in Atlanta. As we observed the events of Yom Hashoah, Yom HaZikaron & Yom Ha'atzmaut - watching the hard work unfold from our dedicated and talented Hebrew staff, our Shlichim, our US Student Council and our B’not Sherut  - it clearly answered my “why?”.

Ultimately, the reason we are all placed on this Earth is to partner with Hashem. Sharing the gift of tzedakah, raising our children, fulfilling mitzvot, demonstrating middot to our friends and neighbors, or just simply, doing what is right. All around us, there are opportunities to literally partner with G-d to do holy things in this world, and to treat all lives (and each other) as holy. It is what Parashat Achrei-Mot Kedoshim tells us this week...we are all holy, as created by G-d.

קְדשִׁ֣ים תִּֽהְי֑וּ כִּ֣י קָד֔וֹשׁ אֲנִ֖י ה' אֱלֹֽקיכֶֽם You shall be holy, for I, Hashem your G-d, am holy. (Vayikra 19:2) 

I believe that the best way to bring this to life for the children at AJA, is through our mission: teaching them commitment to the Love of Torah, Love of Israel and the Jewish people, and doing this all in a nurturing, inclusive and loving community.

As the events of the last two weeks unfolded - Yom Hashoah - Yom HaZikaron - Yom Ha'atzmaut (Lower SchoolUpper School) - I watched our students of all ages gain an understanding of our history, our challenges as Jews, and how they each have a unique role as a chain from the past to the future. They learned about kavod (respect) and honor for those who were killed in the Shoah, or defending Medinat Yisrael. It was moving to see the children ride the emotional wave between each of the very different days. They davened, sang, danced and celebrated in front of their peers, their teachers and members of our community. The Hebrew teachers, US Student Council, Shlichim and B’not Sherut turned every corner of both campuses into a tangible reflection of our love for Israel and pride in AJA. It was evident how important these days were for the children, and the connection they felt to their heritage.

This week was also about community. Watching all the parent volunteers, who, during Teacher Appreciation Week, showered our teachers and staff with such authentic gestures of gratitude - it was incredible. It reiterated to me, that we ALL understand this AJA journey is about our children, their future and their connection to community and Judaism...and our parents get it. Special thanks to all of you who contributed time and energy to thank our teachers all week. It meant a lot to everyone here.

As we move closer to Shabbat, I encourage you to talk to your children about what they learned this week at Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut and how it helped them cement their connection to our heritage, and our land, Israel. I guarantee they will have some special stories to tell.

L'shalom,

Rabbi Ari Leubitz

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Imagine...by Rabbi Ari Leubitz

 

August 26, 2016

13 Av 5776

 

Can you imagine…?

 

  • Being excited about the future

  • Being inspired by the depth and breadth of our staff

  • Being the top Atlanta Jewish Day School

 

No need to imagine -- it’s time to Reimagine AJA.

 

At AJA there is an energy in the air as we get ready for the school year as a partner in each child’s Jewish journey.

 

In the same way that we will watch the growth and changes in the children, we are delighted to share with you some significant changes at AJA.  My vision, as we Reimagine AJA, is to continue positioning ourselves as a highly competitive college preparatory Jewish Day School that is fiscally responsible to our board and families, while offering an outstanding progressive education for all our students.

 

To achieve this, changes are underway! From renovations to new construction, hiring talented faculty on both campuses, and announcing the addition of three accomplished staff members whose focus will be to assist in bringing the vision to fruition.

 

It is with great excitement that I introduce to you:

 

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In Operations: Mark Dingmann / CFO-COO

 

Mark will be focused on the operations and business side of the school. Mark brings an extensive business and financial background to the AJA family, and was the perfect choice for this role, His charge is to Reimagine Operations, and to drive efficiency from a fiscal perspective, leading to a positive impact on how we allocate each and every dollar. Mark will insure that all of our school resources are aligned properly, so that we are accountable, as an academic center and as a business, to meet our vision. It’s imperative that we add extra focus to the operations and fiscal piece of the puzzle.

 

In Marketing: Barrie Cohn / Director of Marketing and Communications

 

As we began to Reimagine AJA, we needed a dedicated resource to launch us on the path to be the most recognizable day school “brand”. We are focused on working to bring our families a clear, concise, dependable communications policy focusing on all things AJA. We recognize that we live / work in a fast-paced, pressure filled world, so it is a priority for us that we remain mindful of your time. Our goal is to share with you in the most efficient way all the exciting things at AJA! Barrie will be creating an overarching communications / marketing plan as well as a new and improved website as we work to Reimagine AJA.

 

In Admissions: Erica Gal / Director of Admissions

 

Along with these changes in Operations and Marketing, came the need to Reimagine Admissions. Erica’s role will be to continue placing AJA’s roots far, wide and deep into the greater Atlanta community, as well as nationally. She will be the face of admissions, nurturing connections with current and encouraging new families to join us. Erica’s passion and enthusiasm for Jewish education, as well as her personal experiences as an AJA parent, provides an authentic perspective to prospective families. She will provide an extension of the AJA brand - genuine, welcoming, nurturing, inclusive and approachable.

 

We are energized by all the changes, I ask you to come and see for yourself. Our doors and emails are always open. An important piece of our vision is to keep the communication flowing and open, so we want to hear from you.

 

The countdown to school begins. We cannot wait to see the children soon as we Reimagine AJA!

 

 

 

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