Are you familiar with this Hebrew phrase, “l’dor v’dor”? If you receive emails from the Galinsky Academy, you have seen the phrase in reference to our annual fundraising campaign for education. Jewish organizations seem to like this phrase, and I guess it’s because it means that something is living or being passed on from one generation to the next. Most notably for us, as Jews, the phrase relates to our passing down of customs, prayers, beliefs, rituals and more from one generation of Jews to the next. What is at the core of all of this? Our Jewish education.
For me, l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation, includes four generations of family right here at the Jacksonville Jewish Center and in the schools of what we now call the Galinsky Academy.
First, my grandparents, having come from Russia, perfected their English at the JJC. Then their three daughters, including my mother, attended and later taught in the religious school at the JJC. Third generation comes to me: I attended all four of the JJC schools.
I began in preschool… I actually just saw my Pre-K teacher in Mandarin last week, and I see many of my former classmates often around our schools! I went to the Day School, then Religious School to finish my Bat Mitzvah training (since Day School ended with 6th grade), and then to Hebrew High School. I look back so fondly at all my years, teachers and friends. In fact, I cherish my education here so much that I can’t imagine my own girls attending school anywhere else.
That brings us to the current, fourth generation of my family in the schools of Galinsky Academy. Due to their age differences, my girls’ secular and Judaic studies cover a wide range of levels. While one is learning to add and subtract up to 20 and read and speak beginners’ Hebrew, another creates blog posts with video, links, photos and references, writes D’var Torah in English and Hebrew, recites prayers and speaks basic Hebrew. The oldest attained the needed education to advance to AP/Honors classes in high school, chant Torah, lead prayers at a moment’s notice, and so much more. This is what you find when you meet a family with three children of different ages who are attending various schools of the Galinsky Academy.
I could not be more proud…or more thankful for what we offer here in the Galinsky Academy.
Each and every one of our children deserve the best possible education in whatever form is appropriate for our particular family. That is why Galinsky Academy is so special and should be treasured by all of us here in our community and also by our families near and far. Whether you choose only DuBow Preschool, only Bernard & Alice Selevan Religious School or Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, Makom Hebrew High or any combination thereof, each child will receive the best education, the utmost care and attention, and the love that only our halls can offer.
Now, think of the next generations, l’dor v’dor…. Imagine this: Your child is grown and remembers his or her education, values and core beliefs as he or she was taught here at Galinsky Academy. Years from now, your child is the parent on the bimah, while his or her child is the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child chanting the prayers.
What have we done? We have given Judaism to the future. From generation to generation. It’s not only what we do now for us, but think of how we are contributing to future generations of the Galinsky Academy and how we are certainly adding to the richness of future Jewish communities and families potentially all over the world.
What we do and what we give today does make a difference. Please give what you can. Please make the Galinsky Academy a priority when you determine where and to which organizations you will give this year and in the future. We will all benefit, and our children’s children could benefit, too.
L’Dor V’Dor is the name for the Annual Giving Campaign at the Galinsky Academy. Tuition and endowments cover only 80% of our annual expenses. Annual Giving is needed to fill this gap to support essential school programs that directly benefit every student at the four Academy Schools and to provide scholarship funds to families in need of assistance.
Thank you for your support.
Now for Committee updates….
Head of Academy Report
- JFCS has a hired a special needs part-time employee. She has met with all school professionals, and we’re working on ways to see if her services will be of need and how it will fit with the Academy.
- Community of Kindness will be expanded to include more programming for the Religious School and Preschool.
- We are exploring different avenues for raising funds, such as outside grants and reaching out to more community members to support the Academy.
- We are planning a major donor event for January 2014. This will be hosted by the Selevan, DuBow, and Gottlieb Families. Dr. Mitzmacher will update the major donors.
- We are inviting those who have donated at least $5,000 over the last 4 years.
- The goal of the event is education, inspiration, and community building.
- Our goal for the current L’Dor V’Dor campaign, which runs through May 31, 2014, is $400,000. This includes an anonymous match of up to $130,000, so we need to actually raise $270,000.
- Last year we raised $330,000
- During the 50th anniversary year (2011 – 2012), we raised $550,000
- We have a new, accelerated timetable and deadlines for financial assistance to help in our budgeting process for the next school year. Financial assistance applications are due on line to SMART Tuition by 2/28/14.
Committee on Trustees
- All Committees and the Education Cabinet will assess themselves using a mini board assessment tool at their next meetings. We will do this twice during each 2-year term to look for areas of success and opportunities for improvements.
Head Support and Evaluation Committee
- This year we are looking at how to support our next HOS, such as how to introduce him or her to our community
- All websites have been redesigned except for MAKOM’s, which will be up shortly
- Currently have ads in Jewish News
- They have been brainstorming marketing ideas for the Religious School
Day School Committee
- Consensus is growing for having middle school uniforms.
- Re-enrollment materials going out much earlier this year. They will be out before winter break and will include new collateral.
- Middle School is working with a South African software company, called Jewish Interactive, to create and produce a Purim application. Students are working on all aspects of the job with respective professionals at Jewish Interactive, such as marketing, design, budget and more. Visit the blog for more information.
- One of our challenges for enrollment is the number of new preschools that have opened recently.
- Several new children have enrolled recently, and we will open a new, younger doobonim class in January.
- Inter-generational day was very successful. We dedicated the preschool kitchen in memory of Esther Ohayon.
- The Hanukkah program was very well attended and the VPK children loved having their 4th and 5th grade buddies participate as well.
- VPK visited River Garden for Hanukkah.
- We have MJGDS Middle School students from 8th grade volunteering in some of our classes as part of their mitzvah projects.
- We have many playgroups – Sundays at playgrounds, shalom baby, music and movement. These groups offer us ways to bring people into the preschool and hopefully increase enrollment.
Religious School/Makom Hebrew High School
- Religious School had a great Hanukkah Program with parents.
- We have 4 Madrachim (teen volunteers)
- Parent involvement has increased, and we have two parent volunteers plus room parents for each grade.
- We are offering a Hebrew class for parents on Sunday mornings and have 12 people registered.
- PTA has made a big effort to communicate with and include the religious school families, and this has definitely helped with involvement.
Security Update from Don Kriss, JJC Executive Director
- The JJC and the Galinsky Academy in cooperation with local law enforcement have run safety drills.
- The JJC has received a security grant from Homeland Security. This will be used on various enhancements, including video surveillance, ID’s for employees to enter the synagogue, bollards in front of the synagogue glass entrance.
Head of School Search Committee
- Members of the Academy’s committees and teachers/staff were asked to answer questions regarding their vision for the Academy for the next 5 years. This information is being used to aid in the search process.
- The position is posted with Schechter Network & DSLTI (Day School Leadership Training Institute).
- We have had 3 applicants, with whom we did Skype interviews in late November. At this time, we are not moving forward with any of them, but we will continue to search for new applicants and will post blog updates as news is available.