I am one of those parents who never dreamed of sending a child to boarding school, and who would never consider a Jewish school for my children, despite being a very committed Conservative Jew (“A Visit To The ‘Jewish Exeter’” Between The Lines, Dec. 7).
But my son came home from a summer at Camp Ramah, raving about this new school in Greensboro, N.C., that he had heard about from admissions counselors who came to camp and from fellow campers who would be going there. This kid, my son, was not religiously observant and not particularly academically inclined (lazy academically might be a better description), but he had this Jewish neshama (soul) that he sort of kept hidden. He persisted in wanting to go to the American Hebrew Academy (AHA), and although it was an unexpected financial burden, we gave him the opportunity he wanted.
He blossomed at AHA. He became a leader and a very committed Jew. The school turned this kid into a mensch of the highest order. The four years he spent there were the best of his life. He was not sent away to school; he just extended his family. The AHA teachers, staff and administration became family to me as well. When he graduated AHA, he formally thanked me for the gift of letting him go there. Today, my son is in the middle of his college career, spending a year studying in Jerusalem. I could not be more proud of the young man that he has become, and AHA played a major role. Parents, as hard as it may be on you, consider giving your son or daughter this wonderful gift. You won’t regret it.