The roaring ’20s were a time of economic prosperity for Americans who believed the sky was the limit when discussing the future of the country.
As the Jewish Healthcare Foundation enters its 20th year of existence, and Community Day School continues to thrive, the theme for this year’s Community Day School Winter Gala seemed obvious — a trip back to those heady times.
Influential figures in Jewish Pittsburgh gathered for this year’s event at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown, donning fedoras and flapper attire to celebrate CDS and its role in the Pittsburgh Jewish community.
“It is great to share this event with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation,” said Head of School Avi Baran Munro. “It’s wonderful to have them see what we do at CDS, and to see the role the school plays in our neighborhood.”
Despite the dancing and festive atmosphere within the grand ballroom of the William Penn, Munro took the time to praise the strides CDS has made to make the school more visible within the community.
“Our students become leaders, valedictorians, national merit finalists, it is true,” Munro said. “Most importantly, they become people who are compelled to make a difference in the world.”
She cited various projects CDS students have recently undertaken, including b’nai mitzva age pupils who are taking trips to local synagogues to help make morning minyans. One synagogue that has received these CDS students is Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha. Munro said students who made minyans there were treated to French toast breakfasts and returned to school promptly before first period.
One initiative that Munro is most proud of is the tuition assistance program CDS has.
“Finances should not be a barrier for someone to apply to CDS,” she said.
In fact, fundraising initiatives such as the Winter Gala dinner are one of the main reasons the tuition assistance program has been able to grow. Munro said currently more than 40 percent of families enrolled at CDS receive tuition assistance. Just recently, CDS (along with Pittsburgh’s other Jewish day schools) initiated a new program in which students starting school in the third grade and up can be granted their first year tuition free. Munro hopes this initiative will continue to bring in families that normally would not turn to CDS as a first choice in schooling.
“People who did not see themselves as day school families are turning toward us,” Munro said. “My dream is to see a line of families outside our door waiting to enroll their children. That line would represent a secure Jewish future for our city and for our people.”
Another shining moment of the night was the recognition of Stuart Kaplan as the Volunteer of the Year honoree. Kaplan, a CDS parent and trustee, was given the prestigious award for his tireless work with the school and within the community.
“Stu is committed to our school, to our students, and to our future, and we thank him for everything he does,” Munro said.
As Kaplan stepped off the podium upon receiving his award, the rest of the night’s festivities were under way. Tim Richart, who Munro credits with the vision to create great events such as the Winter Gala, said the event, in a word, was outstanding. Between the dancing, the food and the ambiance, the 2012 Winter Gala was the perfect way to recognize the achievements of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, and CDS.
“Our partnership is deep and it goes back a long time,” Munro said. “We are honored to share the celebration with you.”
(Brandt Gelman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)