A NEW SCHOOL WITH A NEW VISION

SPECIAL FOR THE AJT

As many in the Atlanta Jewish community now know, the merger of GHA and YA — many months in the planning — is now complete. Our combined schools have a new name, Atlanta Jewish Academy (AJA), with a shared mission and board. The mission was developed in a collaborative fashion by the former boards of both schools, along with parents and leaders in our communities who worked tirelessly on behalf of our school and its new vision.

Atlanta Jewish Academy is a college preparatory, co-educational, preschool-12th grade, independent Jewish Day School, guided by modern Orthodox values and principles. We embody the ideals of community, tradition, individual development and educational innovation. Atlanta Jewish Academy develops the whole person for college and life by fostering a love of Torah, Israel, and all Jewish people through an excellent secular and Judaic education within an inclusive, nurturing community.

I am excited to be the first Head of School to lead AJA, with a program encompassing infants and toddlers through high school seniors. Our unique position enables us to provide a top-notch education in a full-service, caring community, never before available in Atlanta. The fact that our combined enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year exceeds the previous enrollments of both schools demonstrates the tremendous excitement generated in the greater Atlanta Jewish community by our merger.We continue to offer the finest in both Judaic and secular education, integrating the proud traditions and achievements of our institutions in the new Atlanta Jewish Academy. We will graduate students who have experienced and excelled in the rigors of a 21st century education and are fully prepared for life in our constantly evolving, fast-paced world. Our graduates will be models of lifelong learning. They will possess the skills and resilience to constantly expand their knowledge and personal growth, and will thereby be equipped to triumph in a world that reinvents itself every day. Our new school will continue to strive for excellence in all areas alongside the very best Jewish educational experience in the Atlanta Jewish community.

Integration and students first is at the heart of our merger. Atlanta Jewish Academy allows our students to prepare for life by allowing them the space to integrate their identity and education within their social context. At AJA, we foster a healthy balance and stability in a fast-moving world, always building on previous achievements, always refining and integrating what has been learned and experienced. Whether it is support or enrichment, we will be there to offer each of our students exactly what he or she needs throughout their time at Atlanta Jewish Academy.

A glance at the various studies, surveys, and statistics in recent years on the Jewish community sends a clear message: If you want your child to be an involved, proud Jew, your chances are vastly better if you send that child to a Jewish day school through high school. We continue the proud traditions of both our schools. Our graduates will continue to lead lives of service to their community and to their people, active in their Federation, their synagogue boards, Israel, and Jewish community projects all over Atlanta and the world. Our students enter our doors as seedlings full of infinite promise. By the time they leave, we — in partnership with our parents — will have helped them to grow up straight, tall, and strong, ready to offer support to others: their family, their community, and their world. This is the Atlanta Jewish Academy way.

Editor’s note: Rabbi Pinchos Hecht is the Head of School at Atlanta Jewish Academy. For more information, visit www.atljewishacademy.org.