The Epstein School did not respond to a request for comment, but the four largest Jewish day schools in Sandy Springs sent the following letter criticizing the Best of Jewish Atlanta voting on day schools.
As active community members and the current presidents of the boards of the Davis Academy, the Epstein School, Atlanta Jewish Academy and the Weber School, we feel compelled to respond to the “Best of Jewish Atlanta” survey by the Atlanta Jewish Times.
While this survey has historically asked for feedback on subjects such as best bagel, restaurant and music, the addition of “best” Jewish day school and “best” nonprofit has taken this light and whimsical survey in a very different direction.
The beauty of the Jewish community, and one of the strengths of the Atlanta Jewish community in particular, is the variety of different houses of learning, action, support and worship. Similar to selecting a synagogue, where a parent chooses to send a child to school is a very personal choice based on the individual needs of that child and the priorities of each family. Choosing the right school is one of the most important choices parents will make, and we are blessed to have many wonderful options in our community.
We are diminishing the importance of education overall by suggesting that those who may love certain schools or those who perhaps haven’t yet had the opportunity to explore our schools should participate in a popular vote or best-of competition among organizations dedicated to changing lives.
This is very different from where one might stop to pick up a warm bagel.
You prefaced the survey by saying that this is unscientific and that there is no claim that the winners are actually the best. To that point, reporting results stating that one is the “best” or better over another is misleading and doesn’t paint a real picture for readers of the Jewish Times.
Moreover, it comes at a terrible time — a time when the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta is running its own survey to secure meaningful feedback from the Atlanta Jewish community (#IAmJewishATL) about the needs and future direction of our community.
The Jewish Times plays a key role in our community and has always been dedicated to reporting on stories important to the Jewish community as a whole. We would be remiss if we didn’t share our desire to keep us focused on what is truly important.
Come visit us and fill your pages with the incredible things happening in our communities. Publish these amazing stories, and leave the best-of schools and agencies portion of the survey on the proverbial cutting room floor.
Darrin Friedrich, president, the Epstein School
Debbie Kurzweil, president, the Davis Academy
Ian Ratner, president, Atlanta Jewish Academy
Tonia Sellers, president, the Weber School