I write to enthusiastically endorse the American Hebrew Academy. (“A Visit To ‘The Jewish Exeter,’” Between The Lines, Dec. 7)
My daughter Talia is an Academy sophomore and is thriving as a student, a teenager and a Jew. Truthfully, boarding school was a foreign concept to us. But as our daughter entered her freshman year at Roslyn High School, we began to consider how another setting, a school without the nastier social pressures that often plague teenagers in affluent communities like ours, might benefit Talia. The American Hebrew Academy has created a unique Jewish community unlike any other. Students come from all parts of the United States and several foreign countries, including Israel. They are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, unaffiliated and secular, and although there are separate worship services for each denomination, the students otherwise celebrate Shabbat and each holy day as one community.
Perhaps most significant, the leadership of the Academy has created a community that is kind, forgiving, encouraging of diversity and accepting. And there are always adult eyes on the students. Each dorm has a number of enthusiastic staff responsible for supervising the students, for mentoring them and for enabling them to have an exciting yet appropriate social life. Each week we receive numerous e-mails charting the students’ activities and academic progress. In short, the Academy is a magnificent high school and certainly among the most successful institutions devoted to Jewish engagement in our community today.
Two years ago I would have recoiled at the prospect of “sending my daughter away” to boarding school. I am thankful we overcame that emotional hurdle and gave our daughter the opportunity to be an American Hebrew Academy student. She studies with teachers who inspire her and have earned her adoration and respect and her friendships with students from other walks of life have opened her eyes to the wider Jewish world. Yes, it was hard to move her into her dorm and return home without her, but I know it was the best decision we have made as her parents.
Temple Sinai of Roslyn Roslyn Heights, L.I.