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ICJA alumni, staff, parents and community members gathered on March 31st to celebrate 76 years of the Academy and to honor Barbara (’78) and Dr. Steve Geller, Jane and Eddie Best (’79) and Mr. Dave Newman. Over 400 people joined the Dr. Edward A. Crown Scholarship Dinner, which took place in ICJA’s state-of-the-art building with a reception in the commons area and the banquet in the gym. The gym was magnificently transformed into an elegant space, thanks to the very talented ICJA parent Aviva Appelbaum.

Rabbi Leonard Matanky introduced the awardees saying, “To describe what they mean to our community and how they have transformed our school would take hours because each of them is a shining light of inspiration, dedication and talent. They are people without whom we would not have this school, and without whom our students would not have the opportunities to learn and to grow. We are so fortunate to have them as honorees – because their lives and their contributions project the finest of Torah ideals and Academy dreams. Thank you Eddie and Jane, Steve and Barbara and Dave. We are so honored to honor you, and I am so blessed to have you as friends.”


Honoring Dave Newman, who has taught biology at ICJA for nearly five decades, was especially poignant. Between his ICJA students and HSBY biology students, Mr. Newman estimates he taught some 4,000 students. Read an article about Mr. Newman here.

Jane and Eddie Best were honored as long-time supporters of ICJA, and Jane was the project director for the ICJA capital fund to move to our new, state-of-the-art building.

Debbie and Dr. Steve Geller have also been long-time supporters of ICJA, and Debbie has been particularly active in enhancing the art program. She helped produce two magnificent mosaic projects at ICJA, including our latest project that was installed just before the dinner.

Debbie Geller pictured with local mosaic artist Chris Zonta

Dinner attendees, who are among ICJA’s most committed supporters, raised an astounding additional $120,000–including a $45,000 match–live during the dinner in a text to pledge campaign.

Many thanks to our Society of Patrons members, who support our school. The ICJA scholarship dinner supports the ICJA $1.6 million scholarship fund, which ensures that no Jewish child is denied the opportunity to receive a Jewish education.

Watch the video honoring Barbara and Dr. Steve Geller

Watch the video honoring Jane and Eddie Best

Watch the video honoring Dave Newman

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