Rachel is a reporter/contributor for the AJT and graduated from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. After post graduate work at Columbia University, she teaches writing at Georgia State and hosts/produces cable programming. She can currently be seen on Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters.
Torah Day graduates run to line up for the ceremony.
Torah Day School of Atlanta honored its 36 graduates and their families as parents and grandparents held signs, cheered, and held their phones high for photos and videos at the eighth-grade graduation Monday night, June 12, at Congregation Beth Jacob.
The ceremony was especially meaningful for the acting head of school, Rabbi Elimelech Gottlieb, who spoke about the school’s unique ability to acknowledge each student. As the opening speaker, Rabbi Gottlieb also expressed excitement about the futures of the students, all of whom plan to attend Jewish high schools.
“We know each of our students’ names and recognize the worth and individuality of each. We treat them as they are,” Rabbi Gottlieb said. “We are so looking forward to hearing more from and about you through the years so that we may say we knew them when.”
Beth Jacob Senior Rabbi Ilan Feldman, Torah Day School’s rabbinic adviser, implored the students and families alike not to take the night for granted.
“Tonight is a gift,” Rabbi Feldman said. “Take all the Jewish children around the world your age, and an overwhelming number wouldn’t have the knowledge of Jewish life that you do. Don’t ever forget how special you are. Go out and make the difference the Jewish people tremendously need.”
Before receiving their diplomas, the 36 students stood to share memories from their time at the school and screen a slideshow put together by the graduating class. Roars of applause were heard throughout Heritage Hall from friends and family as photos of the students as younger children and in their times at school flashed on the screen.
As the diplomas were handed out, Rabbi Gottlieb stood smiling with each graduate as the crowd applauded. “We are so proud of our graduates,” he said. “In addition to their academic achievements, they show commitment to learning beyond the classroom and exemplify in action and initiative tzedakah, chesed, and ahavat Yisrael.”
Torah Day School’s acting head of school, Rabbi Elimelech Gottlieb, stresses the individual treatment students receive.
The Torah Day School Class of 2017 has 36 members.
The girls are on one side while the boys are on the other during the ceremony.