A Message from Sandor Schuman, President, Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy Board of Trustees
Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy may be a K-8 Jewish day school, but there is another side to its story. I could describe Bet Shraga by telling you about my experiences with the school over the past 25 years as a member of the strategic planning and constitutional revision committees, trustee, and now as president of the Board of Trustees. But instead, I would like to tell you about my experiences as a parent of three Bet Shraga students.
Ben, Class of '99, acquired a facility for language at Bet Shraga, learning both Hebrew and Spanish, and in college added Portuguese. As a computer specialist for Seneca Insurance in Manhattan, he translates computer geek into ordinary English. Ben's legendary claim to Bet Shraga fame is that he won the school-wide Geography Bee – when he was in fourth grade. His geography and language interests have taken him to Scotland, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Brazil, and, most recently, Mexico. He still keeps in touch with some of his Bet Shraga classmates. In fact, he was the “best man” at one of their weddings this summer.
When I explained Bet Shraga's move to differentiated education to Sam, who started at Bet Shraga in 1996, he said, "If they'd had that when I was a student, maybe I could have stayed there." We transferred Sam, a kinesthetic and interpersonal learner, to another school at the start of third grade. His former classmates at Bet Shraga nonetheless invited him to their birthday parties and B'nai Mitzvot. Eighteen years later, he still "chills" with some of his old Bet Shraga buddies. If you’re in Amsterdam, New York and have to call 911, and if the paramedic who comes to your aid is wearing a kippah and a nametag that reads “Schuman,” be assured you are in excellent hands.
Many eighth graders might think theirs was the “all time best Bet Shraga class ever.” For Anna, Class of '05, this statement is especially true. I say is, present tense, because most of them, now in their post-college years, still keep in touch. In her college entrance essay, she contrasted her experiences in NCSY, the Orthodox youth organization, and Hashomer Hatzair, the secular, Socialist, Zionist youth organization. She studied sociology and education and did her education internship at Bet Shraga.
Yes, Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy is a K-8 school, but its story continues well beyond graduation. Bet Shraga sets the stage for lifelong friendships, affiliations, and learning. It is an integral and essential part of our community.
Welcome to Bet Shraga.
Sandor (Sandy) Schuman
President, Bet Shraga Board of Trustees
PS: Our Board of Trustees meets the third Monday of the month in the school library. Please join us!