Schechter Manhattan’s Amazing Alumni!
It is Schechter Manahttan’s 25th year and even as we navigate a year like none before, there is much to celebrate about all that our school community has accomplished. As I have seen the current students return to school these past weeks, I have found myself thinking about all of the former students and families that have made up Schechter Manhattan over our 25 years, especially our incredible alumni. Many of them started with us in Gan, others joined in older grades, and all of them have grown into accomplished, resourceful, reflective, caring, Jewishly identified young adults.
Schechter Manhattan alumni go off to an array of competitive high schools and colleges, and then into their professional lives. They tell us that their years at Schechter Manhattan had a profound impact on their success as students and people. A few examples-
- Ella (Class 2015, Baruch College Campus High School, Brandeis) told us that she learned how to think carefully and ask critical questions, a skill she uses in her studies and life.
- Olivia (Class of 2016, Avenues New York, University of Chicago) said that learning how to read difficult texts to understand them, and then ask probing questions about their meaning so as to form her own opinions, has helped her identify her passions from a stance of deep knowledge.
- Sarah (Class of 2009, Ramaz, Princeton, Software Engineer at Bloomberg LP) said that she values the years of practice in collaborating with classmates at Schechter Manhattan, and that having developed strong collaboration skills helps her to succeed professionally.
- Jared (Class of 2019, Heschel) shared that the many opportunities to practice public speaking at Schechter Manhattan gives him confidence to present ideas to others, something he sees other teenagers struggling with.
- Amnon, (Class of 2016, Friends Seminary, Columbia & Tel Aviv University Dual Degree Program) told us that at Schechter Manhattan he nurtured a curiosity about other people, so that he always seeks to learn from others and build positive relationships.
When our alumni tell us these things, we could not be more proud. It is gratifying and humbling to hear them express how the educational and communal priorities at Schechter Manhattan are also so important to them. A few years ago we were thrilled to institute the Alumni Leadership Award to honor an alumna/us who has exemplified the Schechter Manhattan mission in their lives by translating ideas into meaningful action. Previous recipients of the award were Avital Morris (Class of 2008, Horace Mann, University of Chicago, Yale) and Ariel Kaminsky (Class of 2011, Birch Wathen Lenox, Cornell, UJA Federation of New York).
In June, the most recent Alumni Leadership Award honoree, Charles Kupferberg (Class of 2007, Horace Mann, University of Chicago, J Street), came back to Schechter Manhattan to meet with our 8th grade students. Charles presented to them about his work at J Street and shared his passion for Israel and making the world a better, more peaceful, place. I joined the session and was moved to hear our students ask Charles critical questions, as they worked to figure out how they want to engage with important issues and with Israel in their own lives. I am grateful to Charles for taking the time to engage in dialogue with our current students about important issues, and for serving as a role model of living out his Jewish values. Click here to see a video about Charles.
In this 25h anniversary year, we hope to connect with more of our alumni and strengthen the alumni network. To all of our alumni- we would love your help reconnecting with you and others. Please contact me if you would like to help. And even better, please come visit us, virtually for now. We would be thrilled to have many more presentations from our amazing alumni to inspire our students, the Schechter Manhattan graduates of the future.
Wishing us all a meaningful end to the high holidays.