Atlanta Jewish Academy has formed an affiliate partnership with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Rabbi Pinchos Hecht, AJA’s head of school, said the partnership “reinforces our shared beliefs and hopes for the home we build together and the world we seek to perfect.”

Atlanta Jewish Academy Junior High science teacher Suzanne Sears explores the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. (Photo by Leah Braunstein Levy)

Atlanta Jewish Academy Junior High science teacher Suzanne Sears explores the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. (Photo by Leah Braunstein Levy)

Donations from A.J. Robinson and Nicole Ellerine, the parents of AJA alumni, helped make the partnership possible.

The new relationship enables frequent visits to the center at Centennial Olympic Park downtown by AJA students and teachers and their families. The school took advantage by arranging a trip to the center for all AJA faculty during the planning week before the school year started.

“The most powerful activity was the lunch counter,” Associate Head of School Paul Oberman said. “Sitting at the counter with closed eyes — sharing the experience of the lunch counter protesters, hearing the abuse and catcalls as the hatred escalated, having my counter shake with the blows being delivered — was incredibly powerful.”

Rabbi Asher Yablok, the dean of Judaic studies at AJA’s Upper School, and John Wilson, the curriculum coordinator, said it was heartbreaking to listen to a speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. on how he hoped to be remembered.

AJA teachers plan to incorporate their experiences into the curriculum and bring students to the museum.

Rabbi Reuven Travis, who teaches history and Judaics, said he looks forward to citing King as an example of “the difference that one person can make to the world.”

Humanities teacher Sally Stanhope pointed to “the importance of teaching our children gratitude for their rights and privileges.”

“We all have something to take back,” Judaic studies teacher Lisa Marks said. “We all want to convey our passion to the students.”