May 3, 2018
18 Iyyar 5778
Dear AJA Community,
Life is busy and complicated. In this world of numerous emails, voicemails and constant social media - I often wonder if my message is being heard. I’ve frequently written about our mission and our AJA vision, and I always hope that the message is heard loud and clear by everyone in our community. This week, my “I wonder if?” became an “A-ha! They hear me!”
On Monday evening, after our Jerry Siegel Legacy Golf Tournament, we held our inaugural AJA Dinner of Honor. It knocked my socks off. It wasn’t just the fact that we sold out and had to actually close registration (sorry - fire code!). It wasn’t only about our incredible and deserving honorees. What really impacted me was looking around the (beautifully decorated!) room and seeing the most amazing and diverse group of guests. I saw our AJA role models - from 20, 30, 50 years in our history. I saw grandparents, parents and children from all around Atlanta. I saw teachers smiling and enjoying a night of celebration of the school they cherish. I saw Rabbis and leaders from many different shuls, in one room as a community. Can you understand my joy?
Moshe taught the Kohanim in this week’s parsha to remember at all times that you are B’nai Aharon (sons of Aaron).” This seemingly superfluous language teaches us that they should stand out always as role models who are mindful of their past and future. Our honorees (Carol & Ian Ratner, Elisheva Johns, Kyle Johnson and Gennye Krasner) are truly role models to our children and our community.
I was moved that each of our honorees took the time from their own spotlight to compliment one another. They were not only attending as honorees, but were there to honor the others. I was moved by the video testimonies by our students, faculty and families about the honorees. Take a look HERE, you’ll see what I mean.
With every fiber of my being, I know we are creating something so special at AJA. I’ve said it before, and the over 300 of you in attendance on Monday night saw it for yourselves - front and center. The fusion of authentic Jewish values and academic excellence wrapped up in a nurturing and inclusive family-like community - well, that is our foundation for continued success.
I am so blessed. I work with remarkable and dedicated people who are so invested in the children and their future. I don’t take that for granted. I am part of a community with a wide range of geographies and affiliations - a warm and open group - our mishpacha. I don’t take that for granted.
In real estate, their mantra is “Location. Location. Location.”
At AJA, my mantra is “The people. The people. The people.”
It was clear to me on Monday night, that it is your mantra, too.
We’ve made so much progress, and as the old saying (and song) goes…
לֹא עָלֶיךָ הַמְּלָאכָה לִגְמֹר, וְלֹא אַתָּה בֶן חוֹרִין לִבָּטֵל מִמֶּנָּה
“It is not your responsibility to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”
Pirkei Avot, 2:16
Life is busy and complicated. My request remains the same. We need YOU to nurture our Committed Connected Community. We need your input, your participation, your ideas and your promotion to your own communities and circles about this wonderful school.
Rabbi Ari Leubitz
Read this week's D'var Torah - written by 7th Grader Josh Schulman