I am honored to be the chair of the board for Addlestone Hebrew Academy. I have served on Addlestone’s board on and off for about 20 years, during which time I have seen tremendous growth and change in our school. One thing, however, has remained steadfast: the school’s dedication to providing a strong foundation upon which our students can build.

Just as a building requires a foundation, so do children. The stronger the foundation, the higher one can build. Have you watched children building blocks? A toddler haphazardly places blocks one on top of another, building the tower as high as possible. It doesn’t take long, however, before the entire structure comes tumbling down. As a child matures, he starts to realize the importance of stability, and eventually the child determines how to maximize both the height and the stability of the tower by focusing more on building a foundation. This idea of foundation-building is important in education as well as in life. A person’s development builds on his foundational childhood experiences. The stronger they are, the more options the child has as he grows. After all, height cannot exist without stability.

Addlestone Hebrew Academy’s dual curriculum helps provide a solid foundation in wide and diverse matters – in analytical thinking, time management, Jewish identity and confidence. All these skills are extremely important for further learning and experience. AHA’s small class sizes enables teachers to focus on individual students, allowing for tailored learning opportunities. Our Judaic program focuses on analyzing ancient texts, proficiency in Hebrew language and a connection to Israel. This combination of foundation-building and nurtured teaching has proven powerfully successful. Evidence of this success can be seen in our alumni, who consistently do well in higher education, take the initiative and assume leadership roles. Their sense of identity, both Jewish and otherwise, and connection to Israel is very strong.

Over the past several weeks, many have asked why I agreed to take on the chairmanship. My answer is simple. I believe in the AHA product. I have seen firsthand the results of an AHA education. I know that my husband’s and my decision to educate our children at AHA was one of our best and most formative. It was the strong educational foundation my children received at AHA that set the stage for their current success. Without any doubt, Addlestone has been the most important investment in our children’s future.

Throughout the past year we have watched the new Addlestone Hebrew Academy school building rise from its carefully planned foundation. It seemed to take forever before the structure arose from the ground. Just like our new school building’s foundation, so have our programs carefully been planned and constructed. Our administrators, staff and board have put — and continue to put — a great deal of resources, time and care into your children’s educational foundation.

I am very excited to assume greater responsibility in this process. May Hashem bless us as we move into our new home, one built on solid foundations.

Deborah Ellison
AHA Board Chair