A member of the class of 1975, Debbie Hartman has been a fixture in Chicago’s Jewish life for over thirty years, serving on numerous boards and helping grow some of the most pivotal organizations in Jewish Chicago, serving in leadership roles at the Ark, Libenu, the Chevra Kadisha, Amit, Project Shield, local schools, and many other institutions. The Hartman Family Foundation’s Educator of the Year Award recognizes outstanding teachers in ATT-affiliated schools across Chicago each year.
Debbie traces her desire to build her community back to her time at ICJA. “The Chicago community was very good to me,” she recalls. “I have five sisters. We probably were not able to pay full tuition when were in the day school system. We always felt we should pay back to the community: pay it forward.” That’s a value Debbie has instilled in her own children, too: her daughter Julie Thomas is Ida Crown’s Vice President and Debbie’s other children are highly active in the Jewish community as well. Debbie’s grandsons Jonathan and Hershel Thomas are seniors at ICJA this year, and her grandson Aaron Hartman is a freshman.
“Education is so important,” Debbie notes. For thirty years, she’s been tirelessly working to ensure the highest quality Jewish education for the next generation.