Pupils of the Book

Both Atlanta Jewish Academy and Torah Day School of Atlanta held celebrations in January to mark the presentation of crucial books to some of their young pupils.

At AJA, second-graders each received a chumash, containing the Torah portions and their accompanying haftorah pieces of Scripture, to honor their achievements in Torah learning.

Led by teachers Lian Shalom, Cheryl Kunis and Miriam Fuchs, the second-graders acted out the escape from Egypt, including crossing the Red Sea, and the giving of the Torah. They also sang songs, including a list of all the Torah portions; played instruments; and each read from a Sefer Torah with Rav Shachar Shalom.

“Your new chumash contains all the information you need to solve the problems you encounter in life,” Associate Head of School Leah Summers told the children. “It will show you the right way to live, the right way to behave. Now you can read it yourself and discover what it’s trying to tell you.”

At TDSA, the first-graders received their first siddurim (prayer books) and celebrated with musical plays.

The first-grade girls’ original play was directed by parent alumna Rachelle Freedman in conjunction with teachers Michal Donowitz and Miriam Goldberger. The first-grade boys performed their own play, positioning them to begin davening with Rabbi Shalom Yosef Horowitz.

Also at Torah Day School, Rabbi Akiva Gross’ middle-schoolers recently taught chumash to kindergartners.

TDSA Championship

Rabbi Michael Alterman and fellow coach Charles Diener celebrate with the Torah Day School Thunder varsity basketball team after the boys won their division championship with a 39-35 win over the Museum School on Thursday, Jan. 28. The week before, the TDSA junior varsity won its division championship.

 

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Photo by R.M. Grossblatt

Ben Franklin Reaccredited

Ben Franklin Academy earned continuing accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement at the December meeting of Alpharetta-based AdvancED’s Accreditation Commission.

Ben Franklin, in the Emory University area, has held accreditation since 1992.

“Accreditation demonstrates to our students, parents and community that we are focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching learning environment, and maintaining an efficient and effective operation staffed by highly qualified educators,” Head of School Martha Burdette said.

SACS CASI grants accreditation for five years, based on an evaluation by a team of professionals against the organization’s standards and the implementation of a continuous process of school improvement.

“SACS CASI accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire school on the primary goal of creating lifelong learners,” Mark Elgart, the president and CEO of AdvancED, said in a statement. “Ben Franklin Academy is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement.”

 

Emory Endowment 17th

Emory University had the 17th-largest university endowment in the nation for fiscal 2015, according to the results of the annual National Association of College and University Business Officers-Commonfund Study of Endowments, announced Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Emory’s endowment had a market value of $6.7 billion, unchanged from fiscal 2014, making it one of three university endowments in Georgia worth at least $1 billion. The others were Georgia Tech at No. 47 with $1.86 billion, down 1.6 percent from $1.89 billion, and the University of Georgia at No. 92 with $1 billion, up 3 percent from $976 million.

Altogether, 93 U.S. universities had endowments worth at least $1 billion, led by Harvard University at $36.4 billion.

NACUBO reported that the average university endowment among 812 reporting institutions gained 2.4 percent from investments in fiscal 2015, compared with 15.5 percent in 2014. It was the worst year for investment returns on university endowments since fiscal 2012, when the average was a loss of 0.3 percent.

Emory had a 3.6 percent return on investments for the year ending June 30, 2015, the university said, but it distributed nearly $260 million for academic programs and research.