Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Jewish Academy's Meet and Greet makes memories


First-grader Ella Eichenholz, and second-grader Jules Soll flank the Double Chai anniversary sign that greeted the students and families at this year’s Meet and Greet.

On Monday, Aug. 12, 155 eager and excited students passed through the doors of Maitland’s Jewish Academy of Orlando to meet their teachers for the 2013-14 school year. Not only was the excitement of a new school year in the air, so was the feeling of pride as the students and parents learned that this year marks the school’s 36th anniversary. It’s Jewish Academy’s Double Chai anniversary year.

What does Double Chai mean? Chai is a Hebrew word and symbol that means “life” or “luck.” Because of this meaning, chai is a symbol that captures an important aspect of Judaism. According to a mystical tradition, there is a numerological value assigned to each Hebrew letter.  The letters that make up chai add up to the number 18. As a result, 18 is a number that represents good luck. Double chai (18+18 = 36) is even better!

Fifth-grade school ambassadors (left to right) Shira Isaak, Gabriel Steinberg, Jacob Weiner, Jordan Gebaide, and Michael Varnagy greet new kindergarten students and their families and escort them to their new classrooms.

Included in the Meet and Greet were representatives of the local synagogues who were reuniting with their congregants, as well as making connections with new families. Members of the Roth Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando and the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando were on hand to share the many wonderful programs that they offer.

Jewish Academy, Orlando’s only kindergarten through eighth-grade Jewish day school, was founded in 1977 to provide children in the Orlando area a private school environment that focused on imparting a strong academic foundation with an equally strong foundation in living Jewishly. For 36 years, the school has stayed true to the original mission by providing academic excellence within a culture of Jewish values. Its goal remains to produce excellent students who are filled with self-confidence and are comfortable with their Jewish identities.

For more information about Jewish Academy of Orlando, visit http://www.myjao.org, or call 407-647-0713.


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