A ’97 graduate of ICJA, Shlomo Starck is currently an ICJA parent: his daughter Leeya is a sophomore, and daughter Yolie is senior. Shlomo and his wife Becky (ICJA ’01) have two younger children who attend Arie Crown.
Shlomo co-founded Hatzalah Chicago in 2011, and volunteers for Hatzalah as an executive board member, CPR / AED / First Aid instructor, backup dispatcher, coordinator and paramedic. The first Orthodox Jew ever hired by the Chicago Fire Department, Shlomo works for the Chicago Fire Department as Fire Paramedic. “Shlomo enjoys making a Kiddush Hashem not only in the dozens of firehouses he operates out of, but also in the various and diverse neighborhoods throughout the vast Chicagoland area,” Becky notes.
Since graduating from ICJA, Shlomo has found himself drawing on the life lessons and values he learned here. ICJA’s requirement that all students do chesed was Shlomo’s first introduction to how rewarding it can be to volunteer and help others. “As a 14 to 18 year old, that matured me,” he recalls. The teachers and administrators at ICJA also made a lasting impression. Shlomo explains that learned about leadership from Rabbi Matanky. “There’s a calmness to the way he leads – I’ve taken away from that when you’re in a leadership position, try to lead with gentleness and calmness and respect for other people’s sensitivities.”
Another key piece of advice Shlomo recalls from ICJA was contained in a tag line at the bottom of Mr. Harris’s emails: Be kind and move on. “I really took that to heart,” Shlomo recalls: “My interpretation was don’t get involved in pettiness and pointless debates, and just do your job.” That heartfelt advice has helped Shlomo avoid and resolve conflicts, in his years since graduating from the Academy, and continues to guide him today.