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October 30, 1998     Jewish News
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October 30, 1998

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October 30, 1998 Southeastern Virginia Jewish News 9 I;R()NI TEI{I{I SARFAN PI{ESIi)ENT ()F TIlE B()ARi) ()F I)iRI,('T()RS Ascent of Let me begin by expressing my appreciation to Robert Josephberg, my immediate pre- decessor, who accomplished much in two short years. Bob was instrumental in overseeing the initial phase of expansion of Hebrew Academy's facilities. This included the much-needed Middle School wing and our new bright blue roof. In addition, he has single handedly made HAT's annual golf tournament a model to emulate. Bob is always upbeat and positive a genuine plea- sure to work with. It's a wonderful opportunity, although somewhat daunting to become president of the school . at such a successful time in its history. Our enrollment is the highest it has ever been; we are expanding and modernizing our facilities; we are wired for tech- nology into the next millennium. Our Judaic and General Studies programs are stellar thanks to a dedicated and highly-qualified staff. We now have a band, a choir, and our adorable little Suzuki violinists who may yet play Carnegie Hall. Hebrew Academy is moving in a very positive direction, and I have three main goals for my tenure: I would like to nurture a greater appreciation for Hebrew Academy as a vital asset, an expansion of school spirit encompassing the entire commu- nity so that every Jew in Tidewa- ter takes pride in its existence. We want to host more programs and events inviting the general participation of our community's members. I anticipate assisting in the continued physical growth of the school. There are a number of the Eagle community:wide aspects to this.. and I look forward to working closely with the UJFT, the Tide- water Jewish Foundation, and our sister agencies in planning for the entire community. 1 want to continue building a true commumty day school. 1 want the entire Jewish popula- tion of Hampton Roads to under- stand that Hebrew Academy is neither Conservative or Ortho- dox nor is it Reform. We are a Jewish Day School for the entire community. The Torah brings us together as Jews. Educating our children while teaching them to love their Judaism is our mis- sion. In closing, I would like to offer a modest analogy: visualize with me for a moment ... When I first became actively involved in the school, we had added the Gordon wing. In the last year, we attached the.Middle School wing. Our new roof serves as the feathers which protect our body. Our technology acts as our nervous system. Our teachers are our heart sustaining life. Our administrators and board members are the eyes which pro- vide a vision for the future. And our children link our souls, which bond the genera- tions. By now I hope you can see my bird an eagle that car- ries the Jewish people on its wings back to the heritage of our forefathers. Our HAT eagle is ready to soar into the 21 st centu- ry. In my capacity as President of Hebrew Academy of Tidewa- ter, I look forward to serving the Jewish community over the next two years. Prime Assets By Richard S. Marten When Rabbi Dr. Aaron and Hannah Baer arrived in Norfolk in the 1950s. Hebrew Academy was a fledgling and struggling school. The Baers gave the Acad- emy its educational and Jewish identity... They have made an enormous Jewish contribution to the entire Tidewater Community (which) assures that the communi- ty can be Jewishly viable and can meet the challenges of the 21st century. Their personal commit- ment has been an inspiration to all of us. So wrote Rabbi Israel Born- stein in honor of the Baers this past June on the occasion of B'nai Israel Congregation's 52nd Anniversary Gala Celebration. Hebrew Academy is extremely proud of its long association with Rabbi and Rebbetzin Baer, which continues to this day. They embody a wonderful combination of personal kindness, humility, scholarly brilliance, sensitivity, compassion, and dedication to yid- dishkeit. Their genuine humanity is expressed in Rabbi Baer's response to the question of man's purpose: "I believe G-d put us on earth to spread the knowledge of G-dliness and to develop our own G-dliness. Every human being is end6wed with a divine spark which we call the soul. Our duty is to acalize the soul; that is, to imitate G-d, to walk in His ways of mercy and kindness -- to help one another." Rabbi Baer was born on the Lower East Side of New York. Attending Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, one of the first yeshivas ifl the United States, and Rabbi Isaac Elchanon Theological Seminary Rabbi Aaron and Hannah Beer (more popularly known as Yeshi- va UniversityL he was among the first students of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik. a world-renowned Talmudic scholar and theologian. Rabbi Baer studied under Rabbi Yitzchak Hulner and Rabbi Moshe Poleyoff. In 1945, he was ordained at Yeshiva University, after which Rabbi Baer did gradu- ate studies at Columbia University under the world-famous Jewish historian. Salo Baron. Most of his career has been spent in Jewish Education as a teacher and head of school. Rabbi Baer was one of the first principals of Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. After a hiatus of sever- al years, Rabbi Baer came back to serve a second tenure as pnncipal. He is the author of numerous arti- cles in various Jewish periodicals. Among Rabbi Baer's private stu- dents are Betsabec Rothschild, patron of the arts in Israel, and Saiman Schocken, publisher of Schocken Books. Rabbi Baer's hobbies are clas- sical music and sports, and graphoanalysis, having received a Fellowship from the International Society of Graphoanalysis. Rebbetzin Hannah Baer was born and grew up in the Bronx, New York. She attended Hunter College and received a second baccalaureate in Hebrew Litera- ture from the College of Jewish Studies, Among the honors which she treasures most, Rehbetzin Baer was named Jewish Educator of the Year in Tidewater in 1982, the second individual to receive this award. The Baers met in 1950. Both were teaching at the Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck, NY They married in 1952. Interesting- ly, Hannah Baer mentions that mutual friends had told Rabbi Baer about her years before they actually became acquainted. "But I guess the descriptions didn't do me justice," she jokingly remarks. The Beers are the proud parents of five children, including two Talmudic scholars. Their grandchildren range in age from four months to 20 years. Rabbi Dr. Aaron and Hannah Beer are indissolubly bound up with the history of Hebrew Acade- my; they are part of the bedrock from which it derives its existence and inspiration. As an institution, we wish to express our gratitude to them for all that they have con- tributed over the decades to both the school anc[ to the Tidewater Jewish community. As Rabbi Bornstein also wrote: "They have received the Torah from their great teachers and transmitted it by words and deeds to the next generauon, linking our past to the future." May they continue to do so tbr many years to come. "---HAT Candids ...