ICJA alumni, staff, parents and community members gathered on March 18 to celebrate 75 years of the Academy and to honor Rabbi Leonard (’76) and Margaret Matanky (’76). Over 500 people joined the Dr. Edward A. Crown Scholarship Dinner, making it the largest dinner in Academy history.

The dinner took place in ICJA’s state-of-the-art building with a reception in the commons area and the banquet in the gym, which was magnificently transformed into an elegant space.

Mr. Lester Crown attended the dinner and offered remarks, saying, “Rabbi Matanky’s ability, his dedication, his perseverance and his love for Jewish education is one of the primary reasons that the Academy is one of the finest Modern Orthodox schools in the country. As you know it supplies a wonderful Jewish education together with a fine secular education, and in addition has a number of athletic trophies to prove its all around excellence. Much of this is due to Lenny’s leadership.”

Eric Rothner, 75th anniversary chair, along with Shael Bellows, announced at the dinner a $1 million endowment campaign in honorof Rabbi and Mrs. Matanky and the 75th anniversary.

George Lennon (’76), MC of the dinner, announced the winner of  George Shay z”l Endowment Fund, an endowment gift to an ICJA academic department from alum Scott Shay (’75). The winning program this year was submitted by Dr. Jeremy Kahan, who is working to implement an EMT course to certify participating seniors and staff next year. The course will count as a science course for seniors. Academy teachers annually submit a grant proposal to a committee of lay and professional leaders who select a department to receive the funding. The purpose of the endowment is to enhance the learning environment and appreciation of academic arts and sciences. The endowment is intended to foster a passion for general studies, consistent with Torah values.

Dr. Steven Nasatir, president of JUF/JF, attended the dinner and spoke, saying, “The Academy is a gateway to the entire Jewish community…I kvell every time I walk through that door or have a chance to speak to any of the Academy’s remarkable students.”

The Matanky adult children all presented the Crown Leadership Award to their parents and then building committee chairs, Jacques Glisksberg and David Strulowitz, stepped in to surprise the Matankys with a “Matanky Way” street sign from The Village of Skokie that will be placed in our drive.

Rabbi Matanky closed the event with his meaningful speech, saying, “Seventy-five years ago, a group of inspired men and women, led by Rabbi Menachem B. Sacks a”h, built the Academy. A school that has prepared young men and women to become engaged Jewish leaders. A school that thrives on Torah and is proud of its place as a Religious Zionist Modern Orthodox school. Seventy five years ago they had a dream, and today we live their dream each and every day.”

Watch the video honoring Rabbi Leonard and Margaret Matanky