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Welcome back to the Academy!

This past week has been one of the most exciting new school years on record! Not only did we begin the year with a yom iyun about the situation in Israel, but we also had our first “short Wednesday,” began our new tefillah program of varied minyan options for students, welcomed six new teachers, a new administrator – Dr. Shelley Green, and the class of 2018!
But the greatest thing about this new year is the fact that we continue to be true to our mission of more than 70 years – to inspire Bnei and Bnot Torah to thrive in the modern world.

Of course “our” modern world has so many new challenges and opportunities, that we continue to look for new ways to make a difference in the lives of our children. Our new strategic plan (SP2.0) is challenging us to incorporate technology and project-based learning in ways our founders never would have imagined. And our college guidance has totally revamped the way our students select universities and programs in Israel.

And there is so much more to come!

On Wednesday, we began to recite the 27th psalm in which we read King David’s wish, to both “live in the house of the L-rd” and “to visit His sanctuary.” How can we fulfill both the wish to be resident and a visitor in G-d’s house?

Perhaps the answer is by feeling at home in G-d’s presence, while never taking that feeling for granted. Which is also what we do every day at the Academy, as we preserve our traditions while constantly finding new ways to touch the hearts and souls of our students.
Yesterday, I and a number of teachers received an email from one of the young women who recently graduated the Academy and is now beginning to attend an Ivy league school.

She wrote:
Before getting here last week I was so nervous. I thought I would be the dumbest person in every class and feel so behind and lost compared to my peers because I went to a small Jewish private school.

Since I’ve been here however (after surviving my first day of classes), I realized how well you all prepared me at Ida Crown. Professors have made references to Candide, Immanuel Kant, Descartes, Adam Smith, and many other topics that I remember perfectly learning about in your classes at Ida Crown.

Because of everything that you all taught me and gave me in your classrooms, I feel like I belong here.

I wanted to thank you so much for everything that you gave me throughout my four years at ICJA, I really would be no where without all of you. Being in your classrooms was truly an honor.

What an honor it is to teach and to lead ICJA! We have a glorious history, an extraordinary present and a future of unimagined achievement.

Welcome back and welcome to ICJA 5775!

Rabbi Dr. Leonard A. Matanky

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