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Mazal Tov to our newest alumni in the Class of 2024 / 5784!

On Tuesday evening, the Etta and David Jonas Gymnasium was filled with warmth, gratitude, and joy as proud families, teachers, and friends gathered for the last major milestone of the school year: the commencement ceremony of the Class of 2024/5784.

Following Rabbi Jonathan Bubis’ inspiring invocation, Ben Fisher, Schechter Board President, welcomed everyone. He began his remarks by acknowledging the unwavering dedication of Schechter’s extraordinary tzevet (faculty and staff).

“They have guided you [our graduates] with wisdom and strength, challenged you in new and meaningful ways, and inspired each of you with resilience and courage that will catalyze your success as you move into your next chapters,” he said. “They have served as mentors, role models, and advocates for your success, and their impact on your lives will extend far beyond the walls of Schechter.”

The Class of 2024 has shown remarkable growth and resilience, as Nanci Caplan, 7-8 Sager School Principal, noted in her remarks to the graduates:

“Throughout your time here, you have navigated the unprecedented challenges of the COVID pandemic, the tragedy of the Highland Park shooting, and the heart-wrenching devastation of the war in Israel. And now, we are watching the rise of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. However, every single day, I am in awe of the way that you face adversity with courage and with grace.”

“We have significant work to do in our world today,” she added, “and it gives me great comfort to know that you are the generation that will continue to do this work. Last Friday, we did a text study together with Mrs. Bearman during your last Likrat Shabbat at Schechter. We talked about the the words of Rabbi Tarfon:

.לֹא עָלֶיךָ הַמְּלָאכָה לִגְמֹר, וְלֹא אַתָּה בֶן חוֹרִין לִבָּטֵל מִמֶּנָּה

“It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it.” 

Before the Class of 2024 received their diplomas, they heard Dr. Lena Kushnir recite the words inspired by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel one last time — a message that was so ingrained in their minds that they recited the words right along with her:

“Every action counts and every word has power so choose actions and words that will make the world a better and kinder place.”

“It is my deepest hope that Schechter has shaped your ability to choose words and actions to help you continue to grow as individuals and to impact the larger community,” added Dr. Kushnir.

Following the ceremony, the celebration continued in true Schechter style with a festive reception — complete with an over the top milkshake station, delicious passed appetizers, a balloon selfie wall, and lots of smiles, laughter, hugs, and photos.

Special thanks to graduation coordinators, Marsha Rosenson and Noreen Ohcana; reception coordinator, Shira Rozgovich; keyboard accompanist Danny Kahn; guitar accompanist, Rabbi Jonathan Bubis; and to Dr. David Sager and Jill Coltun (SSDS ’77) for representing the Sager family.

To view a recording of the Commencement Ceremony, listen to the messages from our faculty, and hear the reflections of our graduates, CLICK HERE. Check back on our social media to view photos from the Commencement Ceremony.

A Special Thank You From the Taitz Family

The Taitz family is one of many families whose last child graduated from Schechter this year. However, they are the only family that has called Schechter their home away from home for 23 consecutive years! Congratulations to Cindy and Ari Taitz and to their five Schechter graduates: Adam (SSDS ’10), Jason (SSDS ’12), Jonathan (SSDS ’15), Daniel (SSDS ’17), and Gabriella (SSDS ’24).

“Thank you Schechter for 23 incredible years,” said Cindy Taitz. “You have given our children and family so much more than an excellent Jewish and academic education. We are so blessed and while we may have no more kids to drop at school each morning, we we will always stay connected and cherish our time as proud parents of five Schechter alumni.”

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