Denver Academy of Torah Kicks Off 25th Anniversary Year Celebration at Annual Parlor Meeting
25 years ago dedicated, driven parents, educators and community members established the Denver Academy of Torah and watched it grow and thrive. Today, with slightly less than 200 students, Denver Academy of Torah has come a long way in two and half decades. We still depend on our dedicated, driven parents, grandparents and community members to support our virbrant school. Once again, we saw this tremendous support at our annual Parlor Meeting on September 6, 2017.
Please enjoy the following speech by DAT faculty member and alumnus, Mr. Maxwell Rotbart, presented at our 2017.2018 Parlor Meeting:
Good evening. My name is Maxwell Rotbart and I teach history at the DAT Middle and High Schools, in addition to being a DAT alumnus from the Class of 2005.
As a young historian, I spend a lot of time thinking about dates. Will she call me back? What movies are playing on Saturday night?
I also spend a lot of time thinking about historical dates:
1066 - The Battle of Hastings
1492 - Columbus’s Voyage
1603 - The answer to the third question on tomorrow’s quiz
Tonight, however I want to focus on three key historical years. The first is 1728.
That’s the year that Yeshivat Minhat Arev - the School of Sweet Offerings - opened in New York City - the first Jewish day school in what’s now the United States.
Starting in 1755, it taught math, English, and Spanish, alongside its religious classes. It’s first professional teacher, Abraham Abrahams, was hired in 1762.
The school functioned until 1840, when it became a Sunday school, which still operates today on the Upper West Side as part of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue.
The second year that I want to examine is 1993. Twenty-five years ago, a group of community parents began the Denver Academy of Torah as a modern Orthodox, Zionist Jewish day school.
It’s founding fathers and mothers included many Denver families, some of whom are in the room this evening. The school was originally located in the chapel building at Congregation Rodef Shalom, before relocating to the Glassman Campus in 1999. The DAT High School opened its doors in 2010.
What do these institutions - Yeshivat Minhat Arev and DAT - located 250 years and 1,700 miles apart, have in common?
Among the notable individuals associated with the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue were U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo, poet Emma Lazarus, and Rabbi Gershom Seixas, who was an honored guest at George Washington’s first inauguration.
DAT isn’t yet in its third century, but our alumni are already making their mark.
From my own grade at DAT, one student is now a registered nurse; one, a graduate student at UC Berkeley studying de novo genome assembly; another, a pediatric genetic health resident.
The class immediately above me produced a molecular microbiology student and an adjunct professor of kinesiology.
Two of the students from the grades below me are now neuroscience students at Ivy League schools.
Keep in mind: The oldest of DAT’s alumni are still in their thirties.
DAT’s time is now. Now is when we begin to see blossom the seeds planted twenty-five years ago.
When I attended DAT, the school had 96 students from kindergarten to 8th grade. Today, we have 152 students in the lower school, and a thriving high school that my classmates and I could have only dreamed of attending. It’s been a remarkable period of growth.
The final year that I wish to examine is 2042, the year of DAT’s 50th anniversary parlor meeting.
This year’s kindergarten students will be 30; our high school seniors, 43.
I will be be addressing this audience for the 25th year in a row, still with a full head of hair.
If our student body continues to grow at the same rate that we’ve successfully sustained for the past 12 years, then we’ll have an enrollment of 463 students. That number may seemed far-fetched, but it’s only an average 36 children in each grade.
Though I can’t guarantee enrollment figures, I can assure you that every student in our building today will be firmly established as community leaders and upstanding members of society.
They’ll have become leading medical professionals, legal scholars, engineers, and religious authorities. They’ll be our dentists, public servants, scientists, and teachers. Maybe one or two of them will even end up teaching at their alma mater, with their kids enrolled as students.
If past is precedent and if history repeats itself, then the alumni of DAT’s second 25 years - the kids in our school right now - will be changing the world; just like our alumni are doing today.
We are building our own future at the Denver Academy of Torah. Thank you.
Click here to see pictures from our annual Parlor Meeting.
DAT Middle School Student Wins First Place in National Chidon HaTanach Competition
Denver Academy of Torah middle school student Noah Hill took first place in the National Chidon HaTanach competition that occurred on Sunday, May 14, 2017 in New York. The National Chidon HaTanach is the US National Bible Contest for Jewish Youth. The competition tests students on details of stories in several books of the Bible. Day school students of all denominations take exams in Hebrew, with separate exams for middle school and high school students. Over 400 students participated in this year’s Chidon HaTanach, with over 175 national finalists competing in New York.
Noah won 1st place for the 8th Grade Hebrew category. Noah, along with three other champions, will represent the United States in the International Chidon competition next year in Jerusalem, which is nationally televised in Israel on Yom HaAtzmaut.
We are extremely proud of Noah for this achievement as well as all of our other students who placed in the regional exam,” said Naomi Lev, Head of School at Denver Academy of Torah. “It is such a powerful statement that a student from Denver can compete at this level and win. This is a testament to the rigorous Hebrew and Judaic curriculum Denver Academy of Torah offers, first by focusing on Hebrew immersion, as well as a skills-based and intensive approach to Chumash, Navi, and Gemara. I would like to extend my appreciation to Rabbi Leib Zalesch, who coordinates the Chidon program for our school, and our entire Judaic Studies faculty for preparing Noah and all of our participants.”
Students at Denver Academy of Torah have consistently placed both regionally and nationally under the guidance of Mrs. Rivka Alter, Rabbi Hyiam Reiffman, and Rabbi Leib Zalesch. The school looks forward to many more successful participants in the years to come.
NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
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25 Years and Soaring!
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2017.2018 K-12 Calendar
Thank you for supporting our Parlor Meeting
Click here for pictures and Mr. Rotbart's 25th Anniversary Speech
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