Torah Day School of Atlanta recently hosted key supporters, including endowment donors, past presidents, founders and board members, at its inaugural endowment dinner to celebrate the achievements of the TDSA Generations Endowment Program.
Amid tables enhanced by the artwork of the day school’s students, the guests gathered to be inspired and encouraged to secure the future of the 32-year-old school.
In attendance were six past board presidents, including the founding president, Henry Falk. Also present were some founding parents who have dedicated themselves to Torah Day School’s sustainability with donations to the Endowment and Legacy Campaign.
Marcy Kalnitz, the school’s director of finance and development, presented the program after an introduction by the current board president, Rabbi Menachem Deutsch, who stressed that Torah Day School is a cornerstone for the Atlanta Jewish community, which would look very different without the Toco Hills school. Its existence made it possible for Rabbi Deutsch’s family (and many others) to move to Atlanta.
Torah Day School seeks to shape the goals of its students in a way that, no matter their future careers, love of G-d, the Torah and observant Jewish living will be central in their lives.
Rabbi Elimelech Gottlieb, who served as the acting head of school during the 2016-17 school year, presented a d’var Torah about the vision of a man who planted a tree and fell asleep, awaking 70 years later to see his grandson harvesting the fruit. His advice was to continue to dream big and plan while being sure not to sleep through the process.
Avigayil Landman, who graduated from Torah Day School in June, spoke about the pride and appreciation she and her classmates feel for the school and its teachers and the foundations they have built.
“At Torah Day School, I have seen so many teachers take the time and effort to connect with every student,” Avigayil said.
After saying the students see Torah study as a joy, she added, “By learning Torah for so many hours every day, the lessons, values and even the tests don’t weigh me down, but rather I feel inspired by them.”
Almost all Torah Day School graduates enroll in Jewish high schools, and most continue Jewish education in college.
Kalnitz noted that Torah Day School was one of seven schools selected to participate in the Prizmah Center for Jewish Day Schools Generations National Endowment program in fall 2015 to promote stability, facilitate innovation in programing, facilities and professional development, and support educational opportunities for students.
The program, whose costs are covered by a legacy gift to the school, includes the establishment of an endowment committee, professional training, three annual Educational Leadership Institute conferences and the creation of educational giving opportunities.
TDSA’s generations coach, Davida Isaacson Consulting President Davida Isaacson, who has worked with the school’s lay leadership for almost two years, praised the school for making it a priority to secure the future of Jewish education.
Pesha Izenberg, who chairs the school’s endowment committee, asked dinner attendees to hold table discussions on two questions: To what do you attribute your personal passion for Jewish day school? What would your dream be for TDSA if money were no object?
Dinner guests said the questions sparked lively dialogue.
Kalnitz and Izenberg presented gifts to endowment donors and outlined the goals of the generations project.
The 12-member endowment committee announced that the campaign had raised $728,000 to date in legacy and cash endowment gifts toward a goal by May 2018 of raising $1.4 million over three years, representing $4,000 for each of 350 students (the school’s enrollment).
To be a part of the endowment initiative, contact Kalnitz at email@example.com.