2014 Fifteenth Commencement Ceremony
epxtq-zia ly xyr dyngd xefgnd ly meiqd qwhl Sunday | The fifteenth of June, two thousand fourteen
cZryz oeiqa fË†i | oey`x mei
“Be a blessing…and through you,
ja ekxape...dkxa dide All families of the earth will be blessed”
dnc`d zgtyn lk Genesis 12:2-3
COMMENCEMENT PROGRAM Processional
Pomp and Circumstance
Pledge of Allegiance
Anna Goodman, Tamar Lieberman, Keren Radbil
Led by Eden Diamond
Alan Crane, President, Board of Trustees
Anya Manning, Class of 2003
Class of 2014
Sara Newman (English) Talia Rubin (Hebrew)
Rabbi Marc Baker, Head of School Ralph Van Inwagen, Assistant Head of School Alan Crane, President Board of Trustees
Presentation of Class Gift
Members of the Class of 2014
Rabbi Marc Baker, Head of School
Members of the Faculty
Led by Yael Schwarzman
ThE MissiON Of GANN ACAdEMy is to educate, to inspire, and to empower intellectually confident, passionately engaged, ethically responsible Jews who, through critical thinking and the contribution of their unique voices, will create a vibrant Jewish future and build a better world where human dignity will flourish.
CLAss Of 2014
T h E G R A d UAT i N G C L A s s O f 2 0 1 4 Jacob Ethan Alford Daniel Ari Anisfeld Benjamin Harry Aronovitz Jacob S. Becker Ilan Belkind-Gerson Aaron Leo Benjamin Gabriel Saul Berkowitz Samantha Rosner Berman Noah Mordecai Bernays Eitan Refael Bloostein Li Yosifon Breite Maxim Benzion Bushmelov Rachel Kriegel Butler Abraham Zachary Cheloff Cynthia Ruth Cheloff Michael Alexander Chisholm Jacob Benjamin Coll Benjamin Kagan Cooper Jacob Seth Dannin Julia Heather Deardorff Eden Ariella Diamond Noah Samuel Elovitz Pauleen V. Faynberg Alisa Yardena Feldman Adam Fine Matthew Jacob Finn Sabrina Liora Fried Alexander Goldman Mackenzie Anne Goldwasser Annika Gompers Anna Rose Goodman Benjamin Alan Goodwin Daniel Ross Gray Joshua Michael Hailman Elana Mira Hershman Rachael Jean Hershon Hannah Rachel Hiam Jamie Nicole Hipsman Sarah Holland Talia Pearl Jaffe Merissa Elana Jaye Saul Charles Jonas Jacob Samuel Kampler Jeremy Aaron Kelleher Emma Sarah Klapper Sophie Charlotte Klein Sydney Amber Klein
Jamie Nicole Hipsman Sarah Holland Talia Pearl Jaffe Merissa Elana Jaye Saul Charles Jonas Jacob Samuel Kampler Jeremy Aaron Kelleher Emma Sarah Klapper Sophie Charlotte Klein Sydney Amber Klein Jonathan Lawrence Koralnik Harry Lee Kosowsky Marissa Lillian Langevin Shira Bruria Soleymani Lehmann Eliot Joseph Levitin Itamar Shalom Lewin-Arundale Tamar Esther Lieberman Serena Michelle Lipton Jessie MacInnes Daniel Rami Mangoubi Wyatt Trevor Mufson Emily Grace Nadel Uri Benjamin Nathan Sarah Anne Nathaniel Sara Abigail Newman Oshri Daniel Olsberg Jonah Raziel Paasche-Orlow Eleora Joy Pasternack Janna Nicole Pearlstein Avram Benjamin Pinals Keren Edith Radbil Grace Elizabeth Rubin Talia Sarit Rubin Ari Shalom Salzberg Basia Adi Schwartz Yael Miriam Schwarzman Jacob Wesley Shannon Ilana Simcha Shecter Molly Rose Shuman Jacob Ori Sivan Naomi Winick Small Gabriela Frieda Smookler Si Squires-Kasten Ariella Yehudit Sundel Benjamin Samuel Suttin Jordan Tavan Nicole Jace Teperman Harris Lloyd Wallack Corey Andrew Weilheimer Aaron Solomon Weiner Sierra Marlo Weiss Zachary Benjamin Weiss Rebecca Gikas Wihl Sophie Dana Witkes Lihi Zaks
Jacob Ethan Alford “I want to keep my dreams, even bad ones, because without them, I might have nothing all night long.” Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22 High School, or rather, Gann Academy, has given me an immeasurable mountain of experiences in all different disciplines and qualities. In almost every academic venture before Gann the norm was to remember the fun things and put the unpleasant in the back of one’s mind. I formally reject that philosophy. Gann has not just given me experiences, it has taught me what to do with them and how to embrace them, even the ugly ones. Using Joseph Heller’s words as a metaphor for my time at Gann Academy I savor each and every experience that Gann has given me. To be entirely honest, not every experience I had at Gann was enjoyable, but all of my experiences, including my discrete experiences within, were important. I choose to keep the memory of every experience I have had at Gann regardless of whether the memory is joyful or unpleasant, because “without them, I might have nothing all night long.”
Daniel Ari Anisfeld “Make for yourself a teacher, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every person favorably.” Pirkei Avot 1:6 This teaching reflects some of the principal lessons that I have learned during my time at Gann. Entering Gann, I believed that others were in control of my education. If I didn’t like my teacher or the curriculum was not challenging enough, I would just accept the fact that I wouldn’t learn up to my capabilities. But I have learned that I have the responsibility and power as a learner to find and make teachers for myself. I was also a fairly shy kid upon entering Gann. I had, and occasionally still have, a tendency to wait for the other person to make the first move. However, I have begun to learn that friendship is not a passive relationship—that one must be willing to reach out to actively acquire a friend. Most importantly, Gann has taught me that in order to make for yourself a teacher or acquire for yourself a friend, you need to judge everyone favorably, to be open to others, and remember that with a little effort, you can find teachers and friends wherever you go.
Benjamin Harry Aronovitz “Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.” Robert Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) Throughout my life at Gann, I have created memories that can last a lifetime. Through sports, student council, and Boy’s Modern Dance, I have created some amazing moments. I will carry the memories and friends I have made at Gann with me through college, and through my whole life. Even though everything has come to an end, and I cannot relive them, I am happy with the memories I have created.
Jacob S. Becker “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything innovative.” Woody Allen In my three years at Gann, I realized that the school never stops adapting. Whether it was the library, the curriculum, or the website, Gann is constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve. We as students might not appreciate or enjoy each and every change that is made, but the school responds to whatever the problem may be. Gann could just remain stagnant and uncontroversial, but instead chooses to try new things, even at the risk of failure.
Ilan Belkind-Gerson “Have a good reason to be scared.” Billy Joel I’ll be the first to admit that today will be a day themed by fears: graduation gowns and indefinite goodbyes scare me to no end. After all, I’ve no clue as to what lies ahead. That said, today will also be marked by a hopeful anticipation. If anything, my time at Gann has taught me that the best things in life are unexpected. At the end of the day, life deviates from one’s blueprint. Case in point: I never thought I would befriend the people I met, nor that I would learn the things I did. I could have never predicted my path. Virtually nothing turned out as expected. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. So, yes, the future will be unexpected and frightening, but that’s okay. What’s more, it’s good.
Aaron Leo Benjamin “A righteous man falls down seven times and gets up.” Proverbs, 24:16 Throughout my time at Gann, I have faced a lot of struggle, from the simplest of things to the most challenging of things. However, no matter what challenge it is, and no matter how many times it takes me, I have pushed through and been able to hold my head high as a senior, and be proud of the progress and accomplishments I have made, even with the setbacks that I have faced.
Gabriel Saul Berkowitz “From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven, and when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, the streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from that united being.” Baal Shem Tov Many years ago my mother showed me the truth of the Baal Shem Tov’s words. Throughout my life, she has been my most ardent supporter and best friend. Her strengths have helped offset my weaknesses. Through love, affection and care she has helped me to be my best. It came as no surprise that she encouraged me to come to Gann, for she saw many of the same qualities in my new school that she did in herself. The nurturing and supportive environment made me feel at home every time I walked into the building. Like Mom, the teachers and students at Gann pushed me to engage, work hard and enjoy every day. Our streams of light shined brighter together. Thank you Gann. Thank you Mom.
Samantha Rosner Berman “Be someone who makes you happy.” Samuel Berman “My greatest strength is my knowledge of what I don’t know.” Myron Rosner My Jewish identity is grounded by tradition and the passing of values from one generation to the next. Judaism has tied me so closely to my family, and taught me the true significance of these relationships. Four of the most important people in my life are my grandparents. The morals they have instilled in me and the unconditional love and support that they give me every day has shaped my identity in more ways than I can understand. “Be someone who makes you happy.” This is a phrase that my grandparents often say to me and a constant reminder of their great successes and how they dream about my own future. Their confidence in my ability to explore the world and find my place within it is central to my Jewish journey. I feel that over the last four years Gann has encouraged me to be just that, “someone who makes me happy.” It is a place that has empowered me to be an individual, and has encouraged me to devote myself to the values of community, hard work, friendship, and exploration. Gann has provided me with so many indelible experiences that have prompted me to learn so much about myself and gain some perspective on the world. As my grandfather always says, “My greatest strength is my knowledge of what I don’t know.” Throughout high school I have pursued a wide variety of studies, hobbies, sports, and relationships. I have traveled from Israel to Florida to the Grand Canyon with my fellow Gann students, and if there is one thing that I took away from each of these adventures, it is how much more there is to learn and discover. I have been inspired and valued by so many of my teachers and developed many meaningful life-long friendships. Gann is a school that cultivates leadership and nurtures a population of involved, happy, and well-adjusted students. I am so appreciative to have spent the last four years at Gann—surrounded by such great people and embraced by such a rich learning environment.
Noah Mordecai Bernays “A mother understands what a child does not say.” Jewish Proverb In ninth grade, I would answer questions simply to answer the question at hand. “What does the woman carrying the candle represent?” “Well, the teacher probably wants me to say something like, ‘she is a symbol of hope, of light for the others. The candle sheds light on all, representing a form of objective truth, etc.’” Throughout my years at Gann, however, and in my senior year specifically, I have been given the opportunity to study interesting material with thought-provoking teachers who have helped me begin to understand how complex and intentional a piece of writing can be. I can now better put myself into the mindset of an author and delve deeper into the thoughts and ideas that a character might go through when he performs a certain action. This, in turn, gives me a better insight into how real people and friends think, making me a more empathetic person.
Eitan Refael Bloostein “The entire purpose of our existence is to overcome negative habits.” The Vilna Gaon Every person has habits. These habits might range from something small, such as biting one’s nails, to something big, such as gambling; as small as brushing one’s teeth to as important as voting. I have recently realized that it is our habits that make us who we are. All people are perceived by others in the way they present themselves to the outside world. Gann Academy has given me both the comfortable environment and the knowledge that allows me to express myself to the world in ways that reflect my values and my true character. The education I have received at Gann has forced me to look at myself and the person I want to become in a critical way, encouraging me to form the habits that I hope define me.
Li Yosifon Breite “I don’t look at myself as a leader. I do look at myself as part of a community.” Michael J. Fox Ever since the first day that I visited Gann, I was struck by the sense of community at this school. Coming from public school, this was very new to me. I love the fact that I can walk down the hall and have teachers greet me by name, even teachers that I have never had. I remember that at my first all-school retreat, teachers came up to me, introduced themselves, and welcomed me to the school. As a transfer student, I really appreciated that. Although I have only been at Gann for two years, I feel that I have been completely accepted by my classmates, my teachers, and the rest of the Gann community.
Maxim Benzion Bushmelov “Thought is a strenuous art—few practice it, and then only at rare times.” David Ben-Gurion Gann is a wonderful environment in which we, as members of this community, are encouraged to push ourselves to question and think. We spent much of senior year studying the Holocaust. Even though many of the students have been learning about the Holocaust since kindergarten, we were still asked to revisit it one more time, except with a different goal in mind: to think about the problem of evil. This seemed like such a simple approach to studying the Holocaust, but it proved to be the most meaningful because instead of looking at facts or statistics we were instructed to simply think about why someone would act in evil ways. Students at Gann are part of the select group that practices thought, and it would not be possible without the intellectually challenging environment that Gann provides for us.
Rachel Kriegel Butler “Everything is illuminated in the light of the past. It is always along the side of us…on the inside, looking out.” Jonathan Safran Foer Education, and Jewish education in particular, is a pursuit that is constantly evolving and building on itself, as the lessons learned in the past shed light on the present and open new doorways to the future. The past, whether learned in history class, felt through stories told by older generations or experienced through a people’s collective memory, can feel like a heavy burden at times. Gann has taught me how to turn history into a lens through which to look at life, giving the present new meaning through its relationship to the past, and illuminating ideas that I might not otherwise see.
Abraham Zachary Cheloff “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Elie Wiesel, “Hope, Despair and Memory” (Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1986) To many children, social injustice means unfair actions committed by a government against its people, and they believe that the proper reaction to such injustice is riot and public protest. As individuals mature, their understanding of social injustice broadens to include those injustices that occur in one’s own neighborhood, community, and social stratum. It becomes our responsibility to fight for what we believe is right, even if just through advocacy in our daily speech, no matter how small the injustice might seem. As we have learned through examples at Gann, sitting by and allowing the injustice to continue is not an option. It is our responsibility as future leaders of our own community to stand up and speak out against the injustices that exist, whether on a CNN exclusive or in a Facebook post.
Cynthia Ruth Cheloff “Follow your passion. Nothing—not wealth, success, accolades, or fame—is worth spending a lifetime doing things you don’t enjoy.” Jonathan Sacks The buzz of activity is a constant at Gann. The classrooms and hallways spill over with the passions and interests of students, faculty, and staff. Throughout the school, dancers, singers, musicians and actors practice their craft while mathematicians, engineers, and scientists explore the unknown. At the same time historians, writers and poets put pen to paper as they reveal their innermost thoughts. At Gann the message is quite clear: whatever your passion or wherever your curiosity lies, our school is the place for you. People are not only allowed but encouraged to follow their passions. If opportunities don’t exist, they are created. Teachers here not only teach but provide the encouragement as well as the avenues to pursue individual interests. The Gann motto truly is to follow your dream and do whatever you love doing. Gann has opened up these doors for me and I am sure that my experiences here will be a path to my future.
Michael Alexander Chisholm “And the Lord said to Abram,‘Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.’” Genesis 12:1 Overall I’ve enjoyed my Gann experience. Gann feels like a second home and I’ve grown up a lot here. When it was time for Abram to move on, to set out on his path to become Abraham, God helped him along the way. Just as God guided Abram, my teachers have guided me on my way. Now it’s my time to leave my home and make my way towards my future, my own personal land of milk and honey.
Jacob Benjamin Coll “If you’re quiet, you’re not living. You’ve got to be noisy and colorful and lively.” Mel Brooks My four years at Gann have taught me one very important lesson: to really live, one must be engaged in life itself. This does not mean that we should only focus on what we are doing. It means that we must strive to live life actively. Before I attended Gann, I went to classes, I had friends, and I did a variety of other activities. But I was never really engaged outside of those activities’ parameters. Gann has taught me to not simply learn math in class, but to go out and apply my math skills in everyday life, which makes me hungry to learn more math. Gann has taught me to not listen to a discussion about politics, but barge into a conversation about politics and voice my opinion on the matter. It is a combination of focusing on the right things and seeing how those things fit into the greater scheme of life. Without this school, I would have never learned how to live life “colorfully.” Gann has given me the gift of both Technicolor and High Definition, and I plan on using these gifts forever.
Benjamin Kagan Cooper “You have to motivate yourself with challenges. That’s how you know you’re still alive.” Jerry Seinfeld When I began my journey at Gann, I had only been reading and writing for roughly three or four years due to my immense struggles with dyslexia as I went through elementary and middle school. Before high school, my sole challenge was one that everyone else I knew took for granted: being able to read and write, which was more than enough of a challenge to know I was still alive. However, as Gann helped me to understand, it was not enough to simply take the “easy way” out and let this be my only challenge. Although it was enough to keep me alive, Gann helped me see it was not enough to live. Throughout my life, as a result of my dyslexia, I have struggled with self-confidence. My teachers have always seen abilities in me that I did not believe existed. I interpreted my inability to read and write until I was 11 as a sign of stupidity. Gann pushed me not to focus on my perceived inabilities, but rather to focus on my abilities, and thus not passively be alive, but instead live. Years ago, I never would have believed that I would not only graduate high school, but also be going to college, and have my dream of medical school be an attainable reality. Thank you, Gann, for challenging and pushing me to fully live.
Jacob Seth Dannin “Look, I don’t want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you’re alive you’ve got to flap your arms and legs, you’ve got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must at very least think noisy and colorfully, or you’re not alive.” Mel Brooks To stay in one’s comfort zone is to do what is known and what is safe. Feeling comfortable makes us feel good. It makes us confident in what we know and who we are. But by staying in our comfort zone, we sacrifice the best of what the world has to offer. We miss out on challenges that might make our life more difficult in the moment. In the long run, however, it is overcoming those challenges that teaches us who we really are. It is impossible to know what you are truly capable of until you have seen it for yourself. Gann has taught me that while a comfort zone should be embraced, it should also be stretched. It has taught me to look at the value in an experience rather than focusing on a part of the experience that could push me out of my comfort zone. My goal for my future is to never be complacent. When you become too comfortable with what you have, you lose the opportunity to have experiences that make life special.
Julia Heather Deardorff “Control the public’s perception of you and nobody will care if you have any talent.” Rashida Jones We’re not all born with special talents, and many of us manage to succeed on hard work alone. I comfortably admit that I am an extraordinarily average person with no special talent, and yet, many people have entrusted me with challenging tasks. In the past four years, Gann Academy has taught me that you do not have to be especially gifted in one aspect of your life in order to achieve your goals. A good reputation among your peers offers more than any talent ever possibly could, and my experience at Gann has helped me realize that people more frequently gain respect by working hard rather than by being endowed with talent.
Eden Ariella Diamond ALICE She drank from a bottle called DRINK ME And she grew so tall, She ate from a plate called TASTE ME And down she shrank so small. And so she changed, while other folks Never tried nothin’ at all. Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends Though people sometimes complain about the limitations of such a small school, Gann’s size and unique philosophy have actually allowed me to expansively develop my potential. I have had exceptional opportunities that I would have never been offered in a larger school. Being a fish in a small pond has enabled me to have my voice heard both on the stage and in the classroom. Like Alice, I have grabbed at all of the experiences available and each adventure, for better or for worse, has shaped the person I am proud to be today. As I continue my journey in college and beyond, I hope to always seek out and take advantage of opportunities, allowing myself to shrink and grow and develop even further.
Noah Samuel Elovitz “After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her. At first I thought she talked too much; but now I should be sorry to have that voice fall silent and pass out of my life.” Mark Twain, Extracts From Adam’s Diary At first when I came to Gann I heard what I thought to be far too much propaganda about pluralism and community and similar nonsense. But now three years later I am realizing that this is the last time we will be forced to think about what it means to live in a community of people who understand the same religion differently. When I become an adult I will be able to find a community that has enough people in it that see Judaism in the same way as I do. I will lose the opportunity to think about how other people disagree with me and to struggle with that. In classes at Gann I discovered that the Jewish world is so divided that the different sects are not trying to find common ground. I think there is a huge gap in Judaism that Gann tried to bridge. I would like to say that when I grow up I will try as hard as I can to bridge the gap but I know that the career I am choosing will not have a direct connection to the Jewish world. In the future I will need to be active to be a part of the Jewish community, which makes me realize how much I have taken advantage of the Jewish school system. Just like Adam I will be sorry to have the voice of Gann fall out of my life.
Pauleen V. Faynberg “When the time comes for you to live, there aren’t enough years.” Jewish proverb Looking back at the past four years, time has been a tricky thing for me to deal with. It seemed as though time went slowly for the moments I wanted to end and passed quickly when I wanted the moments to last. Fortunately, Gann taught me how to fill my very best moments with passion and confidence, and to give these moments my all. At the same time, I learned how to eloquently tackle my least favorite moments in order to move on to the great ones as quickly as possible. I found a balance in my time here—a way to procrastinate efficiently—and when the time comes for me to live, I’ll know how to make the most out of it even though there are never enough years.
Alisa Yardena Feldman “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.” Albert Einstein Is the discovery of gravity just as much an invention as the cat-flap at the bottom of a door? This question sparked much inquiry in my tenth grade rabbinic literature class. We often strive to innovate, to transcend, to defy all odds and synthetically craft new ideas and even objects. Yet new insights into longstanding phenomena are central to progress in critical thought as well. Gann has encouraged me to question the existence of a disparity between invention of the “new” and discovery of the “old.” At Gann, students’ realizations and newly acquired understandings—whether they involve challenging texts or scientific concepts—are commended for their innovative nature, blurring the boundary between individual discovery and invention. Gann has given me an enduring appreciation for the discovery and pursuit of new ideas.
Adam Fine “All of us every single year, we’re a different person. I don’t think we’re the same person all our lives.” Steven Spielberg The experiences we face in life help us mold who we become and transform our personality and beliefs for the rest of our lives. At Gann, I have been exposed to life-changing experiences that have helped me mature and grow every year. For instance, in my Rabbinic Literature class, Western Philosophy, I have been able to learn about not only the past of the Jews, but also the possible future of the Jewish people. This class really helped me shape my identity as a proud Jew and will help me deal with many important decisions I will have to make later in my life after Gann.
Matthew Jacob Finn “The biggest risk is not taking any risk…In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” Mark Zuckerberg I’m not somebody who normally takes risks. And yet, I have found that I have been able to take risks during my Gann experience, and this ability has enabled me to gain confidence and develop new skills. Gann’s environment is warm, welcoming, and comfortable, which has allowed me not only to stay true to myself, but also to grow. As a result, and with support from both faculty and students, I have travelled halfway around the world with my classmates to learn about the Jewish homeland and also started a club. I pushed myself to turn one of my academic challenges—writing—into an activity that I now enjoy. Through becoming a sports writer for the Shevuon I was even able to contribute to the Gann community. Ultimately, I am grateful for Gann’s environment, which has allowed me to succeed by providing the ideal setting in which I could take risks.
Sabrina Liora Fried º.c`n aeh-dpde ,dyr xy`-lk z` midl` `xie" “And God saw all that he did, and behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31 Gann has allowed me to grow and learn both in the classroom and outside it. I have been empowered to pursue any and all of my interests stemming from my love for my community and peers. I have developed immense leadership skills through various mentorship and leadership programs that Gann offers. I have been able to explore my love of Israel and express my connection to the community. I have found true mentors in teachers, faculty, and coaches. I have been pushed to the limit physically and mentally and not been allowed to settle. At Gann I can be a nerd, a jock, a leader, and anything else I want to be. But above all else, over the past four years, the most important thing that Gann has given me is my voice. And now as I sit here ready to embark on a new journey in life, I reflect on everything that Gann has done for me and given me, “.c`n aeh dpde”
Alexander Goldman “See, I have put before you today life and good, and death and evil.” Deuteronomy, 30:15 This quote relates to my classroom experience at Gann. Every day there is some type of discussion that has many sides that can be interpreted many ways. There hasn’t been one day when someone just talks about the good or the bad of the conversation. It has always been both sides trying to convince the other why they are right. The skill of discovering which side to choose helps me see larger issues in real life. The discussions that I have had at Gann have helped me become a better person in the real world by listening to what others have to say and responding respectfully. Overall, Gann has been a stepping stone that is helping me take that next step in my career.
Mackenzie Anne Goldwasser “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corner of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleaning of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather the fallen fruit of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus, 19: 9-10 These couple of verses are talking about how you really have a choice in life. You can be the bigger person, and do the right and charitable thing, or you can be the smaller person and do the bare minimum while still technically doing the right thing. You can always find a way to do the bare minimum. At Gann, however, we have learned to immerse ourselves in our community service, and we have learned to go beyond the minimum amount of effort we can put into something, so that we can do our best for others, whether they have more than we do or not.
Annika Gompers “Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.” Louis D. Brandeis At Gann, I have been challenged and supported by peers and teachers alike, pushed to reach beyond my perceived limits. Whether it was taking a certain class, learning a specific piece of music, or even hiking the Grand Canyon, I have accomplished so much that I originally thought was impossible. I am a hugely different person from the freshman I was four years ago; I have gained a sense of curiosity and confidence that only Gann could have fostered, because as it turns out, in the right environment, the “impossible” is almost always possible.
Anna Rose Goodman “Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” Shel Silverstein At Gann, I have learned that there isn’t a correct way of doing, thinking or believing. I have been blessed with the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of students and teachers, each with vastly differing beliefs and ideas. Through Shabbatonim, conversations, and classes, I’ve witnessed a world of new customs and ideas. Experiencing these different perspectives has been incredibly valuable as it has encouraged me to develop my own voice and formulate my own opinions. By considering others’ viewpoints, I’ve gained greater insight into, and greater confidence in, my own beliefs, because I’ve learned that there is no right or wrong, but that “anything can be.” The knowledge that I’ve acquired over the past four years has led me to believe that anything is possible, and that true passion can achieve big dreams. I have obtained a firm understanding of who I am and what matters most to me. I am confident that this newfound courage will serve me well throughout all of my future endeavors.
Benjamin Alan Goodwin “Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story.” “Sayings of the Jewish Buddha” (original source unknown) I understood the wisdom of these words to mean that no matter how drastically I change the setting and the scenery of my life experiences, the person I tell myself I am will always join me for the ride. At some point between life and death, everyone puts in the effort to find the right-sized mirror or a well-adjusted stethoscope to accurately depict his/her ‘true’ self. But I can be the first to admit that my eyes are a bit biased, so I chose to examine myself through the eyes of my dog and of the panicked deer in front my beaming headlights, through the eyes of my friends and of my family. I, for one, feel that Gann has provided me with the support and environment needed to begin this process earlier than most other high school graduates. From these points of view, my initial depiction was one of a simple human, trying hard to live in a world with undefined instructions or directions. One who made many mistakes but learned from them all. But then I rubbed my eyes, cleaned the lenses and looked again, and I began to see a part of me that didn’t come with a backstory and wasn’t grounded by gravity or time. I saw the part of me that travels without baggage. At this moment I was able to create a distinction between my true self and the person I appear, and convince myself, to be. My Gann journey has been the forefront of my future journeys, and I plan on using these two perspectives on my physical, emotional, and spiritual existence to appreciate and grow from life on a whole new level.
Daniel Ross Gray “I don’t consider myself to be a major talent, so the only solace I can take is to hope I’m growing.” Paul Simon Like most teenage boys, I was relatively arrogant coming into high school. After all, I had just bested my elementary/middle school in an intensive nine-year battle. I was triumphant: my middle school had nothing left to teach me, so I had nothing left to learn. But, as I discovered in the next four years, one victory does not constitute a finish line. Rather, a victory is a signal that one can move onto his next battle. And so, at Gann, I persisted in my struggle to strive and grow—just as I will continue to do when I venture off to college and then into the great beyond of the real world.
Joshua Michael Hailman “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Albert Einstein This is a famous quote by Albert Einstein, who is a household name in physics. Einstein’s most powerful work was forcing physicists to think of physics in a whole new way, and he was famous for using thought experiments along with math and data. I think Gann embodies this maxim to the fullest. In addition to valuing math and science, Gann values its students. Other schools, more focused on knowledge, simply want to sit students down and talk at them and give them tests. At Gann, the teachers are engaging and the laid-back atmosphere allows us students to think outside the box. In my experience at Gann, I’ve been allowed to do a lot of projects. I’ve wanted to be a computer scientist since ninth grade, and at Gann I’ve been allowed to do programming-oriented labs and projects, especially during Ma’avar. Gann’s environment is perfect for thinking outside the box.
Elana Mira Hershman “Find yourself a teacher and get yourself a friend.” Pirkei Avot 2:6 While Gann has instilled in me moral values, profound knowledge, and many reasons to question seemingly inherent beliefs, Gann’s greatest gift to me has been its teachers, the incredible people who make the school what it is. Throughout my time here, my teachers have led me not only to an understanding of academic ideas, but to a greater understanding and appreciation of life. They have stood by me through intellectual crises and have encouraged me to push myself to great limits. The Pirkei Avot quote above could not be more fitting to describe my time here; many of my teachers have become my life mentors and even my friends, enabling me to learn, getting me through tough times, and helping me make important life decisions. It is because of the heart that each teacher puts into his or her subject that I have truly gained my zeal for learning.
Rachael Jean Hershon “Who is wise? One who learns from every person.” Pirkei Avot 4:1 I believe that Gann has caused me to have an absolute love of learning. Not only have I learned amazing things from my teachers, but the learning experiences that I’ve had with my classmates are beyond valuable. Some of the most important things I’ve learned have been from my peers. Being in an open environment in which I have had the opportunity to be exposed to so many interesting perspectives has changed me as a person. I’ve learned how to listen to others’ ideas without letting my own personal views cloud what they are saying. Gann has inspired me to make learning a lifetime commitment. As Pirkei Avot suggests, the ability to learn from others helps people become more intelligent because they are either strengthening their own personal values, or possibly adopting new ones.
Hannah Rachel Hiam “You’ve got to discover you, what you do, and trust it.” Barbra Streisand, My Passion for Design I firmly believe every individual has the gift and ability to positively contribute to humanity. Our responsibility is to involve ourselves in experiences, conversations, and adventures in order to shape and discern our potential. Discovering our inner selves is an eternal journey. We are always searching for the final conclusion of our fundamental beliefs, and our ability to sway our ethos keeps us human. I grasp how I have developed my essential principles and universal views as I approach my final chapter at Gann. Gann has provided me the guidance to build a foundation of knowledge. The teachers, lessons, and day-to-day conversations have grown into a plethora of intellectual thought and experience that I can choose from and apply to my life. As I transition out of high school, I am confident in what I believe and I am ready to accomplish my goals because of my foundation, so I too may contribute with my best competence.
Jamie Nicole Hipsman “Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.” Bob Dylan I will always remember the moments I shared with my friends. I have met some incredible people at Gann and I am very thankful for the times we shared. My friends are so caring and I know I can go to them about absolutely anything. The bond I have with my friends is something special and I would not change it for anything in the world. What I love most about my friends is how open we are with each other. I can trust my friends knowing that what I have to share with them will not be shared with others. I want to thank my friends for their never-ending support.
Sarah Holland “Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein Gann is a very unique institution, in that it has always been a place that values character over academic success. While many high schools encourage competition, Gann has always prioritized the integrity and happiness of its students over academic success. Being decent, well-rounded people is what will lead Gann students to having happy and fulfilling lives.
Talia Pearl Jaffe “Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge.” Abraham Joshua Heschel There has never been a point in my life where I have felt as though I know enough. There is always more to learn, more to understand, and more information to retain. When deciding where I was going to attend high school I was forced to ask myself: do I want to learn with the intent of gaining a larger breadth of knowledge, or do I want to learn without intent at all, but rather because it was the next step required of me in life? It became exceedingly clear to me as time went on that the former is what was important to me. I was extremely eager to learn for the sake of knowledge and understanding, and Gann Academy seemed to be the only place that would allow me to do so. Gann certainly has fulfilled those expectations.
Merissa Elana Jaye “You do not attain to knowledge by remaining on the shore and watching the foaming waves, you must make the venture and cast yourself in, you must swim, alert and with all your force.” Martin Buber When I was little, I obsessed over fantasy universes. After my flashlight was confiscated, I would close my eyes and imagine myself fighting dragons and defeating evil warlocks. In High School, I haven’t found any of these concrete and fantastic monsters; rather, the monster I have met is creepier and more insidious—apathy. It is the apathy that sneaks up in the wake of television commercials and drones, in the glare of Facebook and sweatshops. It is watching impossibly vast systems churn out injustice and inequality and being constantly told to sit down, relax, buy that thing! Growing up as an American teenager inspires defeat and exhaustion—a monster that my education has given me the tools to combat. In a reality where actions feel insignificant, my education has given me responsibility. Like childhood fairytales, my education at Gann has provided imagination—the ability to really encounter experiences outside of my own.
Saul Charles Jonas “All of us every single year, we’re a different person. I don’t think we’re the same person all our lives.” Steven Spielberg When I was young, I was told that my transition from a boy to a man, from a child to an adult, would occur during my Bar-Mitzvah. I didn’t think of the transition as a slow and evolving process. Understandably, I was a bit confused in the weeks following my Bar-Mitzvah. I still spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. I was expecting that when I became a man, I would instantly do away with childish things. It wasn’t until I came to Gann Academy that I realized that growing up is not an instant process. Each of the four years I’ve spent at Gann Academy, I have effectively been a different person. With each year, I moved closer to adulthood. At Gann, I was challenged to be my best self. The high energy, warm friendships, and student-faculty interactions all helped me in my search for adulthood. I think the most important lesson I learned from this supportive community was that I didn’t need to suddenly switch from child to adult. At Gann, I can take risks. I can challenge myself and explore my passions. I entered Gann as a child, but I believe I’m leaving as a different person. I’m leaving as an adult.
Jacob Samuel Kampler “Rabbi Tarfon says: The day is short, the task is great, the workers are lazy, the reward is great and the Master is insistent.” Pirkei Avot: 2:20 I have the reputation of being very lazy, but at Gann I have been pushed academically to where I had never been before. I have constantly been doing schoolwork from the minute I came home every day. Gann has taught me that there is never enough time, and that hard work pays off. From working hard I have acquired an even larger appreciation for my parents and all that they do for my brother and me. I now leave Gann knowing that I cannot be lazy, I must work hard, and that everything will work out in the end.
Jeremy Aaron Kelleher “Intelligent people know of what they speak; fools speak of what they know.” Minchas Shabbos Pirkei Avos 3:18 At Gann, I’ve grown as a thinker and as a learner. I’ve found a love for learning and an appreciation for those from whom I can learn. I want to walk this earth with intelligent people, learning from their knowledge and taking on new challenges. This quote illustrates the kind of person I wish to be: the person who knows of what he speaks. At Gann, I’ve learned many new things, but I don’t think one instituiton can teach you how to master your thoughts and dictate them to others. That ability is only achieved through personal reflection. It is on us as students and members of the community to truly process and appreciate what we learn. Only then will we be able to “know of what [we] speak” and converse intelligently with others. This is the intelligent person I wish to be and Gann has helped me make progress towards this goal.
Emma Sarah Klapper “I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.” Natalie Portman Throughout my time at Gann, I have understood the importance of learning, instead of just reciting facts that I’ve had to memorize for a test. I have been able to realize how significant being engaged and truly passionate about a subject is, and how it can help you in the long run. My favorite “learning moments” have been outside the classroom, talking with a teacher about the class that we had earlier and continuing the riveting and passionate discussion, but not always coming to a conclusion on the subject. Not all of my learning at Gann has been through academics, but also through the theater, which is my home away from home. I have grown to appreciate acting on a deeper level, learning about the character that I will be portraying, and learning about myself in the process. What I have discovered about myself while acting at Gann has been able to give me the confidence I need to do anything. Learning is beautiful, and it doesn’t always happen sitting behind a desk in a classroom.
Sophie Charlotte Klein “You have to motivate yourself with challenges. That’s how you know you’re still alive.” Jerry Seinfeld Gann is the one place that I have felt has challenged me every day and forced me to venture outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes it was hard, but I woke up every day for school knowing that I would become a better, more intelligent student—and even more, a better person. There are few people who are as lucky as we are to have come to such an incredible school where we are cared for by teachers and students alike. I know that in the next years of my life, I will never be cared for as I have been here. Although we may be off to a “realer” world, I know that I will be able to thrive based on the tools that Gann has given me.
Sydney Amber Klein “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein Throughout my four years at Gann, I have learned that in order to grow I must try new things. I have also learned that although it is possible to fail while trying something new, there is no opportunity to succeed if I am not at least willing to try. As I am now in a time of transition this lesson is even more prevalent than ever before. Within each mistake lives an opportunity to learn and grow.
Jonathan Lawrence Koralnik “Jewish humor was a device for self-criticism within the community, and I think that’s where it really was the most powerful. The humorist, like the prophet, would basically take people to task for their failings.” Rabbi Moshe Waldoks During my tenure as a chief editor of The Artichoke, I never viewed the newspaper as a particularly Jewish endeavor. Yet as I reflect on my Gann career, I realize that creating and publishing eleven issues of The Artichoke was actually the most Jewish experience I had in my four years of high school. Indeed, as a satirical publication, The Artichoke tapped into the vibrant Jewish tradition of using comedy as a means to hold the community accountable for its actions. Looking back, I believe that the impulse that led me to create The Artichoke—the desire to use comedy as a mechanism to inspire change in myself and others—originated from the deep-seated Jewish value of Tikkun Olam. The establishment of The Artichoke was sacred to my Jewish journey as it connected me to the rich and illustrious history of Jewish comedy. My greatest hope for the future of the Gann community is that The Artichoke will continue to thrive.
Harry Lee Kosowsky “I want to be an elite type of player, and not just for one year.” Ian Kinsler This quote from Ian Kinsler could be read as an expression of Gann’s mission: not only preparing students for high school and college academic success, but showing them how to be elite people throughout their lives. Gann’s ability to teach students how to interact with people who have entirely different viewpoints has been the most important way that Gann has prepared me for my adulthood. I first encountered this when I noticed that Gann’s community contained people of different Jewish denominations with conflicting convictions and traditions interacting without any problems. Later, in sophomore year, I learned about the two opposing and unsolvable narratives describing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and yet, students with incompatible viewpoints were able to benefit from hearing each other’s arguments. I originally struggled with the idea that people could belong to and cooperate with a community of people so intellectually and even culturally different from themselves, but Gann has taught me how to actually benefit from this kind of community. This skill will be useful in making me an elite person throughout my entire life, and not just for one year.
Marissa Lillian Langevin “I won’t allow myself to have tremendous fear.” Calvin Klein Fear is all in our minds. Whether a fear is rational or irrational, it is up to us to handle it in a way that does not hold us back from moving forward in our lives. I transferred to Gann Academy in my junior year of high school, even though I was constantly asked by people, “Aren’t you scared about starting over so late in the game?” Was I scared? Absolutely. But I also knew that transferring was what I needed to do. The inhibitions I had in regard to transferring were legitimate, but they were also in my head. I was the only person that could choose to not let fear hold me back in this new environment…so I didn’t. I knew that I only had two years at Gann to learn the ways of the school, establish strong friendships, and find a way to leave a mark, and I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way. Although there have been bumps in the road of my nearly smooth journey at Gann, I ultimately feel as though I have learned a lot about myself. I have grown as someone who will not let fear control me, and as someone who realizes that I am the only person that can control my life. If I want something to go a certain way, there is no reason that I should let anyone—or anything, especially fear—stop me.
Shira Bruria Soleymani Lehmann “Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘grow, grow.’ ” Breishit Rabbah 10:6 During the past four years that I have spent at Gann, I have been privileged to be in an environment that has functioned as my angel, egging me on to grow. The contrast between who I was when I first started Gann and who I am now is dramatic and makes this quote ring true for me. I have grown on so many different levels: I have deepened my knowledge, learned to think critically, learned to go out of my comfort zone and try new things. The many positive and even some of the disappointing aspects of Gann have made me a stronger person, have made me more confident, have taught me to be a leader and to be open to learning new ideas. I feel so lucky that throughout my high school journey I have had Gann sitting on my shoulder as my angel, continuously urging me to grow. Thankfully, I listened to my angel, and I have grown.
Eliot Joseph Levitin “To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or don’t be.” Golda Meir When I read this quote from one of early Israel’s most important leaders, immediately I think of my high school experience, especially at Gann Academy. In the first two years at Gann, I struggled with the question of who I was and what I wanted to be. I felt very insecure and I didn’t know anyone at first. I thought that I had to put on an act to become friends with people that don’t see the real me. Not being able to be friends with people for who I am seemed to be the compromise. Being introduced to all these kids who’ve known each other for a long time put me at a social disadvantage. It just seemed like reaching and sacrificing time for something that wasn’t worth it. Starting junior year, I realized that what I was doing was undermining my ability to make true, long lasting friendships. The question “to be or not to be” is parallel to my realization of accepting myself for who I am. Being who you are and being comfortable with your identity is the most essential part of any social situation. I decided to not be who I am not, and to be who I am now and to be who I will be for later on.
Itamar Shalom Lewin-Arundale “I believe that it is my responsibility as the prime minister of Israel to do whatever can be done to exploit the unique opportunities that lie ahead of us to move towards peace. Not everything can be done by one act.” Yitzhak Rabin This quote is the perfect summation of my Gann experience. Amidst deciding where to go to high school, I came to the conclusion that it’s my duty as a privileged young man to get the most out of the experience provided for me. Just like Rabin, as the master of my own actions, I am responsible to move myself towards success. I chose Gann because I knew that it would help me achieve those goals, and reach my full potential. Nonetheless completing high school is just one step forward: “Not everything can be done by one act.”
Tamar Esther Lieberman “Remember that people are more important than objects.” E.M. Hershman (21st century Jewish intellectual, student, and teacher—referring to someone’s love of a water bottle—but symbolically referring to Judaism and life) Monday morning during my free block, I overheard one of my previous English teachers teaching his senior class, talking fairly colloquially about life. I don’t remember exactly what he was saying, but it enticed me so much that I stopped outside the classroom and tucked myself into a corner next to the door so nobody inside could see me. But with the door open, I could hear wisdom and stories beyond any of our years, and in just that half-hour, standing with my ear to the wall as a seeming desperate auditor, I learned more than I ever expected to in all of high school. At Gann, I matured and intellectually thrived in infinite ways. But I wanted this paragraph to be a tribute to all my teachers and rebbes who inspire me to the point of pressing my ear to a wall in wonder. I finally figured out how much experience, intelligence, and kindness the teachers surrounding me had to pass on to me; it was that moment of epiphany senior year when I finally learned to take initiative to squeeze every drop of wisdom out of the greatness around me. High school ended with a dose of humility.
Serena Michelle Lipton “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Marilyn Monroe During my time at Gann, I have developed a greater sense of self, regardless of any social norms and societal expectations. The appreciation of my own flaws and imperfections has been the most important aspect of my journey to self-acceptance. Gann has provided a safe environment for me in these critical years to grow and change into the person I am meant to be. Thank you, Gann.
Jessie MacInnes “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein This quote is meaningful to me because I think people are often so tied up in what they are told to do that they don’t live for themselves and they don’t know who they are as individuals. People need to form opinions for themselves based on their own experiences, and if that means trying new things and making mistakes, those are valuable lessons in life and they shouldn’t regret them. I think being at Gann has helped me to realize the value of forming one’s own opinions through trying new things and arriving at facts based on one’s own experiences.
Daniel Rami Mangoubi “This instruction I am commanding you notfor hard “This instruction that Ithat am commanding you today—is nottoday—is hard or distant you. or It isdistant not for you. Itthat is you notcould in heaven, ‘who in heaven, say ‘who that will goyou up tocould heavensay for us, andwill bringgo it toup us,to andheaven recite it tous, us and that we may fulfill is it acrossitthetoocean that we you could ‘whoit?’ will cross for bring it to it?’ us,Nor and recite us that may say fulfill Nortois it the other side of the ocean and bring it to us and recite it to us that we may fulfill it?’ For this across the ocean that you could say ‘who will cross to the other side of the word is very close to you, in your mouths and in your hearts and in your deeds.” ocean and bring it to us and recite it to us that we may fulfill it?’ For this Deuteronomy 30:11-14 word is very close to you, in your mouths and in your hearts and in your In this excerpt from Moses’ farewell speech to the Israelites, Moses assures the people that deeds.” they have the capability to study and learn the Torah themselves. After four years at Gann Deuteronomy 30:11-14 Academy, I too can say that the Torah is not too difficult for me to understand, but is “very close” to me. The uniquely structured Judaics studies classes at Gann have taught me to analyze the text closely and critically in order to discover the meaning of the text. My teachers at Gann have taught me to think for myself and become an independent learner, so that I do not rely on others to tell me the answers but instead rely on my own intellect to discover.
Wyatt Trevor Mufson “Ours is a country built more on people than on territory. The Jews will come from everywhere: from France, from Russia, from America, from Yemen....Their faith is their passport.” David Ben-Gurion The most significant lesson that I have learned during my time at Gann is the idea of how important community is in life. At Gann, I have always felt that I am a part of a community and that I matter to the people around me. When I was a sophomore, I debated whether to transfer to a sports academy in Florida to take soccer more seriously, but after I spent a week there, I realized that there was no sense of community and that everyone was there only for themselves. At Gann, with all of our differences, I feel a strong connection to those around me and that I am part of the greater community. The sense of community is so important to me because I know that no matter what happens there will be someone there to help me.
Emily Grace Nadel “The rules are that whoever is the most passionate about something, wins.” Stephen Sondheim When I was a freshman, an Arts teacher taught me something that would not only define my experiences in Drama Club and theatre, but would come to define my entire academic and extracurricular career at Gann: the process is infinitely more important than the product. The process, not the product, is the statement of passion, growth, and development. In theatre, this meant that the rehearsals were ultimately more important than the performance, but this statement took on a larger meaning outside of the Black Box. It meant that my classes were defined by the material and not the grade, and beyond this, that my Gann experience is measured by the things I am passionate about and how I act on that passion over the course of four years. Instead of focusing on my report card, I have focused on the things that I love and find meaningful. This idea has translated into hours spent in the Dark Room developing photos, late night conversations at Shabbatonim about pluralism and multidenominationalism, and sitting in a locker pod picking apart the history of Iran, the ending of Winnie the Pooh, new legislation going through Congress, and every topic in between. Gann Academy has allowed me to pursue my passions in every area both academically and otherwise, and because of this, I have learned more about society, my community, and ultimately myself.
Uri Benjamin Nathan “Sometimes you just gotta be drop-kicked out of the nest.” Robert Downey Jr. As I’ve pushed my way through private Jewish schooling I’ve begun to notice more and more that my life is just a huge bubble. Although within this bubble there is safety, security, and the assurance that I’ll get what I need if I need it, I can’t really expect college to be anywhere close to the environment I was raised in, and for me, this is a good thing. The sudden change of leaving the nest will expose me to the reality of the world and will allow me to really grow as an individual, but there’s no doubting that the hardest part will be trying to move forward when Gann has provided me with the friends and memories I’ve come to cherish. Leaving the nest will be no easy task, but Gann’s amazing faculty and community have prepared me well for the next stage of my life.
Sarah Anne Nathaniel “Any planet is ‘Earth’ to those that live on it.” Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky Home is the place where we feel we belong. Gann Academy has been my home for the past four years because I could be myself here, and because it has offered me so much. At Gann, I have had opportunities that I might not have been able to find at another school. Gann was a place where I had to grow to meet academic challenges. And the school was willing to go to great lengths to keep it challenging—even hiring a new teacher to teach Multivariable Calculus to a five-student class. In addition to academic opportunities, Gann also gave me a place where I could be myself—comfortable and confident, with my quirks and eccentricities. I feel that Gann invited me to share my strengths, and add to the community. I have often been told that your high school years are among the most formative. Looking back, I am glad that Gann was my home for that time.
Sara Abigail Newman “If I look confused, it is because I am thinking.” Samuel Goldwyn I came into Gann as a self-assured freshman with a strong sense of who I was and what I believed. Within two years, my paradigms had been broken down. In almost every class, we were taught to think critically, to question our own beliefs, to support our views with evidence and thoughtful analysis rather than ready-made platitudes. The process of beginning to reexamine my own views was often challenging; I remember many late nights agonizing over a history thesis or struggling with the implications of a text for English class. Rather than swiftly replacing my beliefs with another set of viewpoints, I found myself in a sort of intellectual limbo, carefully weighing the merits of each side and rarely coming to a neat conclusion. Since then, I’ve learned to live in this limbo, and I credit my teachers at Gann for encouraging me to sit with it even when black-and-white answers offered an easy way out. In my time here, I’ve come to appreciate the value of confusion. Confusion has been at the root of some of my most fruitful intellectual experiences, spurring me to learn more, to deepen my ideas and expand my knowledge in a way I never would have if I believed I had all the answers. I leave Gann infinitely more confused than when I began freshman year, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Oshri Daniel Olsberg “If you will it, it is no dream.” Theodore Herzl I have applied this Zionistic message to my competitiveness on the tennis court. Often while I am playing doubles, my partner and I will say this to each other as a pump pump-up line. When I internalize this message on the court I feel unstoppable. I believe Herzl’s words of wisdom also apply within the walls of Gann Academy. The JSL team has helped me start clubs, and I have achieved much success in the classroom. At Gann, if you will it, it is no dream.
Jonah Raziel Paasche-Orlow “Is it only the sun that shines once for the mind, only the flash of existence, than none ever was?” Allen Ginsberg Four years at Gann have taught me to appreciate my opportunities and value my gifts. I have been given the canvas and the guidance to turn artistic caprices into steadfast passions and half-hearted commitments into lifestyles. At each turn I have encountered a mentor who both inspires me and engages me in conversation and real friendship. I have a deep love for this community that wells up from the pride that I place in my peers’ achievements, for when I see my friends bound up in the same discovery that I have experienced, I feel both fulfilled and empowered. I tune to my very own chord and it is with that emanation echoing around me that I poise myself at the threshold.
Eleora Joy Pasternack “Once I had tasted the fruit of the tree of knowledge, there was no going back.” Blu Greenberg Going to Gann has provided me with opportunities to take unforgettable classes with some of the greatest teachers, both of which have undoubtedly influenced what I plan to study in college and what I aspire to choose for a career. Before my tenth grade history class I never seriously envisioned myself having a career in politics. Before I attended the 2013 AIPAC policy conference as a Gann student delegate I never imagined myself as a pro-Israel lobbyist. As a Reform Jew I also believe strongly in choice through knowledge, so the Jewish literacy I have gained through Gann is also extremely important to me. There is nothing more important to me than receiving a good education, and as I head off to college this fall I know I’ll be ready because through Gann I’ve received the best education I could possibly hope for.
Janna Nicole Pearlstein “If I am not for myself who will be for me? Yet if I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?” Hillel from Pirkei Avot 1:14 High school is the time for teenagers to find out who they really are. I came into Gann four years ago not knowing who I was. I knew my name and where I came from but I wasn’t sure of my future. I didn’t know who I would hang out with or what new activities I would try while at a new school. I didn’t know I would form such amazing friendships with kids in different grades, discover a passion for a sport, or know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Before I came to Gann, I was stuck on a dirt path that led to nowhere. Now I’m on the golden road towards my future. I’m on the path towards studying interior design, playing club volleyball, and making new friends while at college. Without Gann, I wouldn’t have been open to new ideas. I wouldn’t have been able to live in Israel for three months, or to become friends with as many people as I have today.
Avram Benjamin Pinals “Be a tail to lions rather than a head to foxes.” Rabbi Mattiah ben Kharash Throughout middle school and high school, I have always been given the choice to do the necessary work and get by or to put in extra effort and excel. Gann has challenged me in this respect, pushing me to put in the extra work and giving me the tools to succeed in my education. In this quote, Rabbi Mattiah ben Kharash is making a reference to the way one should study Torah, learning with greater scholars in order to maximize learning. I think this eloquent metaphor can be applied to other scenarios of my high school experience, whether in the classroom, on the soccer field, or in the music room. As I look ahead to my future, there are sure to be expectations of me that I can either meet or exceed. Equipped with Rabbi Mattiah’s words and my experience at Gann, I know I’ll be able to put in all my effort to the challenges I set my mind to.
Keren Edith Radbil “When you’re driving through the desert, and your car runs out of gas, / Lotsa luck, pal, lotsa luck. / When you try to stop some strangers they will holler as they pass, / Lotsa luck, pal, lotsa luck. / So you walk eight miles, and all uphill, to call the Auto Club, / And the whole thing’s nip and tuck. / ‘Cause they’ll ask you for your number, and your number’s in your wallet, / and your wallet’s in your car, so lotsa luck.” Allan Sherman For many people, luck is a real thing. And they really rely on it. If something goes in an unexpected direction, they might think, “just my luck”. Through my time at Gann Academy, however, I have realized that if I ever want to get anywhere in life, I cannot simply rely on my luck to get me there. During my freshman year, I tried out for the Varsity Ultimate Frisbee team. Disappointingly, I did not make it. However, I did not let this get me down. I have pushed harder ever since. That season, I joined the team as manager; I went to every game, kept score and statistics. I recorded the games on video, I woke up early on Sunday mornings to go to practices, and I really gained a lot from not being on the team. This year is my third year on the team, and I have benefited greatly from it, not only because I got another year on the team, but because this year, I was elected to be one of the team’s three captains. Ultimate is not the only thing that I did not give up on. In my junior year, I ran for Student Council President. I was not elected for that position, but rather to the position of Officer of Programing. When I got elected to this position, I did not just blow it off like it was nothing, I pushed myself to be the best leader for Student Council that I could be. I learned a lot about myself and leadership, while also being able to teach others and to ensure a strong future for the coming Student Council generations. To anyone who thinks of giving up, only because something does not go your way, remember that everything happens for a reason, even if we do not know what it is right away.
Grace Elizabeth Rubin “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 This is one of my favorite quotes from the TaNaKh because it perfectly describes my Jewish identity. I believe that my identity would not be so dynamically developed, had I not chosen to attend Gann. The most important lesson we learn as part of the Gann community is the importance of kindness. Although my parents have always told me to “be a nice person,” the depth to which I now understand the meaning of said phrase is all thanks to my teachers and friends at school. I truly feel that what makes Gann such a special place is the emphasis we put on kindness: throughout the four years of high school students develop integrity, honesty, and generosity, all under the umbrella of kindness. Such glowing words are not said about many high school teenagers but as soon as I stepped into the building on my first day of school, I truly felt the love. Now not only do I feel the love, but I am a wiser and more graceful human being as I continue along my life path. I know that even when all my classmates and I are off having exciting new experiences, I will always cherish the connections I have made during my time here. Kindness corresponds to “goodness and mercy” in the Psalm and I thank everyone at Gann who has helped instill those values in me. The friendships and relationships I have made and developed here correspond to “dwell[ing] in the house of the Lord forever” because I will never forget all the wonderful sculptors at Gann Academy that have shaped me into the high school graduate I am proud to be today.
Talia Sarit Rubin “Assume for yourself a master, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every man to the side of merit.” Pirkei Avot 1:6 If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout my high school experience, this verse sums it up. Though in ninth grade, I was aware of the importance of friendship, mentorship, and an open minded attitude, it was only through my four years at Gann that I learned the importance of personal drive. I’ve begun to understand that I need to actively seek out the individuals who will most inspire me and push me to think deeply about the world. As the Pirkei Avot verse implies, “assuming” for myself a master or “acquiring” for myself a friend is an active process. I think my experiences at Gann have taught me that the more actively I pursue the relationships I care about, the more meaningful they will become.
Ari Shalom Salzberg “The nature of any human being, certainly anyone on Wall Street, is ‘the better deal you give the customer, the worse deal it is for you.’ ” Bernard Madoff I am happy to say that Gann Academy is no Wall Street. When I first arrived at Gann, I came as an introvert for whom the last thing on his mind was helping out others. Through Gann, I was able to grow from this stage to become the person that I am today. Gann has taught me that the best way to progress in any endeavor is to do so with help from others, and the community and environment that Gann provides is a necessity for this type of group learning. I now know that whatever career I may take after Gann, I will do so with the mindset of helping others, for that in turn does help myself. Maybe if Mr. Madoff could have spent a day at Gann Academy, his view on the world would have become a little bit lighter.
Basia Adi Schwartz “I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.” Natalie Portman Throughout my four years at Gann I have learned more about myself than I thought possible. I have learned study habits, such as how not to procrastinate. I have learned work habits, such as what it means to be part of a team. I have learned what it means to be a good friend, such as always being there for the ones I love. Most importantly, I have learned who I want to be, and how I want others to perceive me. Without these past four years at Gann, this would not have been possible. It is due to the relationships I formed with my teachers and the friendships I have made, that I have found who I am and what I want to become in life.
Yael Miriam Schwarzman “I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” Jewish Proverb Before I started going to Gann, I couldn’t imagine how having a long commute to and from school every day could possibly be beneficial to me. In fact, I couldn’t imagine it at all. Looking back on my Gann experience, I see my limits are not what I originally thought they were. Once I started using my time productively, I realized that everyone has the same number of hours in a day—what differs is how you use them. Thanks to Gann.
Jacob Wesley Shannon “I don’t exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it.” J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye Gann has done helpful things for me, but not in the way most people would have hoped. Having done JSA (Junior State of America) taught me why I don’t want to be a politician, having done theatre taught me why I don’t want to be an actor, and going to Gann taught me why I don’t want to be religious. It may sound like all these things failed me, but they actually just showed me an alternative path I’m not interested in. It’s not about being pleased with the institution, but being content with the trials it put you through, and the progress that came out of that. In that respect, Gann has done me justice, because it’s never made anything easy for me. I’m still looking for an institution and career path I’m totally pleased with, but I guess it’s my Judaism showing that I haven’t found one yet.
Ilana Simcha Shecter “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” Golda Meir The opportunity to make choices at Gann Academy is one of the school’s most liberating qualities. Choices pertaining to the level of our classes and our involvement in clubs and student council as well as our various Minyan options are examples of ways in which making a choice can define one’s Gann career. Personally, the choices I made to participate in advanced Science classes and pursue a leadership role within the Tikkun Olam Union have not only taught me more about myself, but they have also produced various accomplishments. I am proud to say that I have turned Gann’s various “sparks of possibility into flames of achievement,” and in doing so have happily discovered the type of person I hope to be in the future.
Molly Rose Shuman “Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” Marilyn Monroe Four years ago, if someone had told me that I would be graduating from a school other than my local public high school, I would never have believed it. And yet today, I couldn’t see myself graduating anywhere else. It was not until the end of my sophomore year that my parents thought I could benefit from switching schools. I wasn’t convinced, but still decided to talk to someone at Gann and take a tour. At that initial meeting, a single sentence gave me the confidence to apply. I was told, “You can survive at the local school, but would thrive here.” A year later I was finishing up my first year at Gann, and those ten words couldn’t have been more true. I had always been the person who blended into the background and felt invisible. I was someone who rode the wave of high school, but my two years here have taught me to make my own waves. At my old school, I didn’t know I had the potential to be who I have become, and I will always be grateful that Gann showed me who I really am.
Jacob Ori Sivan “You have to motivate yourself with challenges. That’s how you know you’re still alive.” Jerry Seinfeld One of the things I like most about Gann is that I’m constantly being challenged. There have been very few instances, over my years at Gann, in which I have not been kept busy with some intellectually challenging assignment’s due date looming on my calendar. While my peers and I have bonded many a time in lamentation over lost hours of free time, periodical multi-week vacations have taught me that there is nothing that inflicts a morbid sense of sloth like a well-needed vacation. There is nothing satisfying about going through life with ease: it is only by quickening your heart that you can find a pulse.
Naomi Winick Small “I don’t drink coffee. I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my entire life. That’s something you probably don’t know about me. I’ve hated the taste since I was a kid.” Steven Spielberg Drinking coffee made me feel jittery and agitated, leading me to choose a tired life over a caffeine life. I felt that as a teenager, there was an underlying assumption that I had to be sleep deprived and drink coffee to stay afloat in my day-to-day life but that wasn’t who I was, and nor was I satisfied with the boost of energy. At Gann I realized that I didn’t have to conform to any teenage expectations because the only expectation at Gann was that I’d be myself. I didn’t stick to one genre of activity but I allowed myself to be exposed to teams, clubs, and arts. Gann also set me up to discover that I have the power within me to achieve any task I’m given. I don’t need caffeine to get me through a day because in every class I’ve had, I could always find something little that sparked my interest. Thank you, Gann, for giving me the tools to be myself and find hidden inspiration.
Gabriella Frieda Smookler “If you are not a better person tomorrow than you are today, what need have you for a tomorrow?” Rebbe Nachman of Breslov On a daily basis at Gann, I profit from valuable interactions and experiences with my peers and educators. These relationships have exposed the many opportunities that are in one day. Every day each person has the availability to improve his or her worth as a human in this world. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov instructs us about the substance of time, and implies that daily we are given countless opportunities to improve and advance ourselves as individuals. As my Gann experience comes to a close and I progress to the next stage of my life, I will continue to hold on to the precious time Gann has invested in me and I will use this knowledge as tools to be grateful for my daily fortunes. I share Rabbi Nachman of Breslav’s belief that we shouldn’t forsake even one precious day, and that one should improve oneself day-to-day because it is pointless having a tomorrow if one doesn’t take advantage of the opportunities to improve.
Si Squires-Kasten “Every daring attempt to make a great change in existing conditions, every lofty vision of new possibilities for the human race, has been labeled Utopian.” Emma Goldman Four years at Gann Academy have instilled in me a profound appreciation for hope. The belief that humanity can effect great change, even in the face of corrupt or inhumane systems, is the essential component to realizing that change. Cynicism, or abused hope, is an oppressive tool; once one believes the best course of action around injustice is compromise, all hope for redemption is lost. Our only true option is to cling desperately to the moral and emotional integrity intrinsic to us as human beings.
Ariella Yehudit Sundel “Ben (the son of) Zoma said: Who is wise? He who learns from all people, as it is said: ‘From all those who taught me I gained understanding’ (Psalms 119:99).” Pirkei Avot 4:1 It’s not hard for me to forget to manually open my mind. It is something that must be done, however, or else I tend not to hear the other side, just a faulty claim or argument. Easily, I assume that my stance on a matter is correct. Realizing that every person holds a bit of truth, however, leads to the fact that no one has the truth. While we each possess our piece of wisdom, growth requires acknowledging our own gaps and constantly searching to fill them with the infinite truth that belongs to everyone.
Benjamin Samuel Suttin “For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you…We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this…It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions…It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” Ira Glass I have always had a tremendously difficult time motivating myself to complete my schoolwork (and not just while in the throes of Senioritis). I want to succeed in school and know that I am capable of completing my assignments. The biggest obstacle between me and completing any given paper is myself. I convince myself that any idea I have will in some way not be adequate to fulfill the requirements of the assignments. This generates a paralyzing fear that anything I write will bring failure. This fear often causes me to completely avoid the assignment instead of asking a teacher or parent to help me approach the task from another angle. I obsess so much over the idea that my work needs to be perfect that I write nothing at all. Over my time at Gann, I have made great progress with this struggle (thanks in large part to the support network that I have had here) but still have a long way to go before I conquer this challenge.
Jordan Tavan “[Learning] may be compared to one who enters the king’s outer chamber, his treasure house full of precious light. From there one sees a door to a more interior room and desires to enter it; and from there one sees rooms even further in, seeing that the nearer a room is to the king’s room itself, the more precious and adorned it is beyond comprehension compared to that outer room. And if one had not initially entered the first room, one would not have known a single thing about the existence of increasingly interior rooms, each more interior than the one before it...On account of the light that one first apprehends, one sees that there is an even greater light.” Rabbi Hayyim of Volozhin, Ruach Hayyim 6:1 Learning. Required learning. I’ve always enjoyed learning, but there are certain subjects that I’ve been less eager to learn. I was required to take classes in these subjects anyway, and for the most part I’ve benefited from them, although I haven’t always enjoyed the experience. I’m thankful for Gann’s academic requirements because some of the best classes I’ve taken were also the hardest, the ones in which I was confused for a good part of the class. Classes that have changed my entire worldview were frequently classes that I did not initially want to take, classes that I never would have taken had I had that option.
Nicole Jace Teperman “I don’t speak because I have the power to speak; I speak because I don’t have the power to remain silent.” Rabbi A.Y. Kook Looking back at my years at Gann, the vision of the timid, quiet, and somewhat awkward freshman version of me makes me smile. Although it’s hard for many people to believe, I came to Gann with limited political and religious opinions or convictions. There was very little that I felt passionate enough about to speak out strongly for, nor was I comfortable knowing when or how to express myself when I did. All of this has changed substantially over the course of my time at Gann. Through engaging classroom debates, intensive study, and even through hallway conversations with friends, I’ve developed a defined set of beliefs and opinions—beliefs that I am not afraid to give a voice to. My leadership in the Israel Advocacy Club has also helped me to become well informed on issues pertaining to Israeli politics and current events. Voicing my support for Israel comes much more naturally to me now, and I am confident in my knowledge and ability to articulate about it. I’m so grateful to Gann for providing the many opportunities that have enabled me to develop into a clear-thinker and to become an individual who cannot—and will not—stay silent when I feel I have something important to say. Having the “power” to speak is not necessarily what is important. What matters is having the confidence and the ability to speak what one is passionate about, even if everyone else remains silent. I am proud of the graduating version of who I have become, and will take away invaluable skills, knowledge, love and support that Gann has provided me every step along the way.
Harris Lloyd Wallack “I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.” Sandy Koufax This quote really speaks to me because it signifies the transformation that I have made throughout my time at Gann. During my freshman and sophomore years I would try, like Sandy, to “make them miss,” and I would avoid contact with people because I did not want any negative interactions. This led to me being somewhat standoffish and not having such a prolific social experience. Then during the Israel trip my junior year, I decided to make a change: instead of sticking by myself and avoiding conflict, I decided to “make them hit it”: to put myself out there, try to create good relationships with people, and stop worrying about the bad ones. As a result, just as Sandy became a good pitcher, I had a fulfilling time in high school.
Corey Andrew Weilheimer “I don’t speak because I have the power to speak; I speak because I don’t have the power to remain silent.” Rabbi A. Y. Kook I was never a shy kid. Because I was always asking questions and feeding my curiosity, adults saw me as talkative. Even so, I never really formed my own opinions or knew how to express the few I had. But through my time at Gann, I have learned that it is not just okay to have different thoughts and ideas, but that one should have one’s own philosophies to share with the world. Because of Gann’s open and accepting environment as well as a large number of students who live for the chance to debate, I have grown a passion for sharing ideas and opinions with the world. That being said, wherever life may take me, I know that my ideas will have a way of flourishing.
Aaron Solomon Weiner “Live long and prosper.” Leonard Nimoy, as Mr. Spock One of the most popular lines in science-fiction is “Live Long and Prosper,” spoken by Leonard Nimoy, playing Mr. Spock, with his hand raised in the formation of the Cohen’s blessing. This goodbye in Star Trek is saying ‘good luck in your life ahead,’ and it tries to set you up for success in the greater world. This is the type of goodbye that Gann gives us at graduation. It wants us to be involved and prosper in the world in light of our Gann careers. Gann, after four years here, prepares us for our lives ahead—pushing us off into the world to be the best people that we can be.
Sierra Marlo Weiss “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein When I first began my time at Gann four years ago, my biggest fear was failure. I worried about how this fear would play out in high school, starting in a new environment with more independence and more decisions to make. I didn’t know which classes to take, how to write high school essays, or how to branch out from my longtime friends. Over time, I learned to make mistakes and, instead of letting those mistakes hold me back, I used them to propel myself forward. My time at Gann taught me that it is okay to try new experiences and make mistakes because they teach you about yourself, your likes and dislikes, your passions and interests. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of the Gann community for the last four years and I appreciate the many opportunities I had to try new things and to make mistakes. I no longer fear failure, but embrace new experiences and learn from my mistakes.
Zachary Benjamin Weiss “I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.” Billy Joel It is an incredible thing to relinquish oneself of societal pressures and hypothetical judgment. To have an outlook on life that endorses improvement regardless of the difficulty, rather than the pursuit of commonality, and in some cases, the pursuit of failure, is seemingly impossible to attain. Gann has allowed me to break through the fear of rejection and provided me with the opportunity to strive for greatness. Countless times I have been told I have the world at my fingertips. Gann has allowed me to believe I will one day have the world in my hands.
Rebecca Gikas Wihl “Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge.” Abraham Joshua Heschel My sophomore year, I had the privilege of learning history in a class of highly engaged students. What I remember most vividly was on the last day of class when our teacher told us an anecdote about walking into the woods and seeing a Do Not Enter sign and questioning what really could happen if one went past the boundary. Perhaps there was a public safety concern, but perhaps he would face no personal ramifications for trespassing. Pacing and agitated he asked, “What is keeping you in your chairs right now? Why don’t you just walk out of class? Why do you accept my authority without question? Get out of your chairs and leave!” He pushed us to question the basic societal constructs and means of controlling and subduing masses of people. We were forced to confront the authenticity and truth in what authority figures, the media, and the masses had been telling us. Gann has emphasized the importance of discovering truth for oneself while balancing the need for unity among the collective community. This balance between the individual and the collective as well as the spirit of skepticism and curiosity challenge me immensely and push me to approach my life with greater attention and meaning.
Sophie Dana Witkes “Constant joy is a great mitzvah.” Rabbi Nachman of Breslav Gann Academy is a community overflowing with support, respect, and diversity that I have been blessed to be a part of. Coming from a non-practicing family, there was much to absorb within the hallways, classrooms and offices of this building throughout my four years. Like most people, I have struggled from time to time with my beliefs, and striving to keep a connection with my Judaism was not always easy. However, my educators have provided me with the resources and experiences to find a part of Judaism that I have found meaningful. Although I am unsure of where my Jewish path will take me past the walls of Gann, I am sure that I will always find a connection in one of the greatest mitzvahs of being joyful, taught to me by my incredibly wise teachers, mentors and educators at this school. Gann has provided me with unconditional love, invaluable knowledge and Jewish morals that I will forever hold dear to my heart, and that have coincidentally shaped me into a Jewish woman that I am proud to be.
Lihi Zaks “Every great story has a beginning, middle, and ending, not necessarily in that order. We are all great stories but not all written as chapter books.” Phil Kaye, lyrics from “Beginning, Middle & End” Chapter 115: A girl stands with her class and is about to graduate high school. She flips through the pages of this packet and talks with friends to avoid the sentimentality of the day. Chapter 78: A girl arrives to Gann Academy, not sure whether she is making the right decision. Chapter 91: A girl comes back from Israel, able to let go of her past, and is idealistic about the future. Chapter 86: The girl finishes sophomore history class, sure that she can analyze and be critical about anything. Chapter 97: The girl finishes her Jewish philosophy class, not sure how “Jewish” she really is, and is unsure of her future. I wish I could write this paragraph about an “aha” moment I had at Gann Academy. It would be so clean, collected, and introspective. But it wouldn’t be the truth about how I’ve changed during my high school years. Broadly, in the last few years, I have become more analytical and open-minded. I also have more gumption. I would attribute such developments not only to Gann Academy, but also to my dance studio, AMHSI (Alexander Muss High School in Israel), and all of the experiences in between, such as summer courses and internships. The chapters above represent the highlights of the last three years of my life with Gann Academy, but in reality my life would not make a good chapter book because I have been influenced by all of these different communities in continuous waves rather than through isolated instances.
C O L L E G E M AT R i C U L AT i O N s American University (4) Barnard College Binghamton University Boston University (4) Brandeis University (6) Brown University Bucknell University Clark University (2) Colby College Columbia University (3) Cornell University Davidson College Dickinson College Emory University Franklin and Marshall College The George Washington University (4) Hamilton College - NY Harvard College Macalester College Massachusetts Institute of Technology McGill University Michigan State University Mount Ida College Muhlenberg College New York University Northeastern University (4) Northwestern University Princeton University Queen Mary, University of London POST HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMS Bar Ilan Garin Tzabar Hevruta Kivunim Maale Gilboa Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim Nativ Tivnu
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Rhode Island School of Design Roger Williams University Syracuse University Trinity College Tufts University (2) Tulane University (2) University of Chicago University of Colorado at Boulder University of Delaware University of Maine University of Massachusetts, Amherst (5) University of Miami (2) University of Michigan (2) University of New Hampshire University of Pennsylvania (2) University of Pittsburgh University of Rochester (2) University of Vermont (2) Wake Forest University Washington University in St. Louis (7) Wesleyan University Yale University Yeshiva University/Stern College for Women
BOARd Of TRUsTEEs f A C U LT y & s TA f f
BOARd Of TRUsTEEs OFFICERS Rabbi Marc A. Baker - Head of School Alan Crane - President Michael Bohnen - Vice President Shira Goodman - Vice President Frank Litwin - Vice President Michael Weilheimer - Treasurer Jay Rosenbaum - Secretary Ezra Samet ‘01 – Clerk TRUSTEES Rachel Chafetz Scott Cohen Stephen Cohen Elizabeth Cooper William Foster Linda Greenseid Carol Harris Elizabeth Jick Debbie Lovich Cynthia Marcus Jamey Rosenfield Mark Rubin Stuart Salzberg Benjamin Sigel Adam Suttin Lisa Wallack HONORARY TRUSTEES Carl Blanchard Solomon Eisenberg Josh Elkin Bonnie Hausman Joshua Katzen George Krupp Alan Lobovits Shari Redstone Shira Ruderman Jonathan Sarna Leo Sprecher Sidney Swartz
G A N N A C A d E M y f A C U LT y A N d s TA f f Hannah Abelman Webley Alfred Shira Androphy Chris Aparo Susan Appelbaum Rachel Arcus-Goldberg Rabbi Marc Baker Sally Baker Brad Ballinger Ruti Barak Rabbi Dov Bard Rabbi Jethro Berkman Rabbi Leah Berkowitz Lena Bogomolni John Buckley Craig Byer Gina Carballo Christine Carpenter Dr. Kevin Cattrell Tom Cavanaugh Barak Cerf Dr. Susan Cheloff Simcha Cohen Matthew Conti Dr. Joseph Coulson Jim Crandell Ray Daniels Andrew Davis Placid Dingue Karen Dinon Sarah DuBeau-Farley Diane Dymek Carol Englander Rachel Friedrichs Timothy Fries James Frieze Ayelet Ganani Jaime Gaudor Sherri Geller Sharona Goder-Peled Robert Godoy
Dr. Jonathan Golden Lindsay Goldstein Laila Goodman Sam Green Leslie Grossman Patti Hampf Christopher Heap-Senhouse Barry Hershenow David Holzman David Hubbard Mara Iancovici Brian Infante Roberta Jacob Lisa Jacobs Rabbi David Jaffe Susan Johnson Christine Jozitis Yoni Kadden Rebecca Kadden Rachel Kalikow Gregory Kee Jeff Kellem Rabbi Aryeh Klapper Rachel Klein Alexandra Lahr Carley LaMalva Heather Lambert Jonathan Levens Warren Levenson Kevin Levin Sasha Lichtenstein Rabbi Moshe Lieberman Louise Linder John Lobosco Elizabeth Loewenberg Karl Mader Stephanie Mann Dr. Adam Marshak Colin McAlpine Rabbi Sara Meirowitz Lindsay Metivier
Christine Miller Joseph Miller Joshua Mocle Elena Morgan Lindsay Murphy Rahel Nessim Joshua Neudel Amy Newman Jim Nole Joanna Novick Riitta O'Connor Elaine O'Toole June O'Toole Patricia O'Toole Catherine Ollwerther Jess Paulin Chana Penini Donald Perkins Helen Phan Jacob Pinnolis Shelli Putterman-Kenett Lily Rabinoff-Goldman Luis Ramirez Shlomit Ravid Margot Rendall Sarah Rogers Danielle Roman Rabbi Derek Rosenbaum Rhonda Rosenbaum Dr. Ilana Rosenbluh AJ Rourke Farrah Rubenstein Christopher Russo Sherry Santangelo Aviva Scheur Sam Schilling Stacy Schwartz Hadassah Segal Abby Shapiro Rebecca Shimshak Allison Silber
Elisa Silveira Adams Brett Skolnick Jason Slavick Dr. Francene Sokol Karyn Spero Rabbi David Starr Darren Stineman Kelly Stubbs Vered Strapp Dr. Gerri Sweder
David Tabachnik Shaina Tofias Gisele Tzovaras Ralph Van Inwagen Jennifer Weinstock Mark Wilkins Dr. Marc Winer Steven Wood Sandy Woodward Shoshanah Zaritt
T h E s TA R- s PA N G L E d B A N N E R O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming. Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air. Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
h AT i K VA h As long as in the heart The Jewish spirit yearns With eyes turned eastward Looking toward Zion, then our hope, The hope of two thousand years, Is not lost: To be a free nation in our land, The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
Kol od balevav penimah nefesh yehudi homiyah Ulfa’atey mizrah kadimah ayin letiziyon tsofiyah Od lo avedah tikvatenu hatikvah bat shenot alpayim Lihyot am hofshi be’artzenu be’eretz tziyon virushalayim.
mipdkd zkxa jxnyie 'd jkxai jpgie jil` eipt 'd x`i mely jl myie jil` eipt 'd `yi Y’varech’cha Adonai v’yishm’recha Ya’eir Adonai panav eilecha vichuneka Yisa Adonai panav eilecha v’yasem l’cha shalom. May the Lord bless you and keep you! May the Lord shine His face upon you and be gracious to you! May the Lord lift up His face to you and grant you peace!
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