As a Head of School, it is my job to find the words. It is my job to remind everyone what should already be evident and to teach it to those first encountering us. I have other significant roles; this one, though, is one I cherish. I cherish the chance to articulate the school’s values because Albert Einstein Academy is not just school; it is an investment. As a school, we are being asked to articulate our core beliefs as part of our re-accreditation process. Our core beliefs encompass much more, though, than our school; our core beliefs establish what we do for the community. Core beliefs are more than mission; they pave the way to mission fulfillment.
We have a stated mission to set our sights in a particular direction; it is like our Torah. To know how we achieve our mission and why we choose certain paths, we need a “Mishnah,” of core beliefs. Below, please find a draft of AEA’s Core Beliefs. This draft reflects feedback from the faculty, staff, and the board of directors. It is still a draft. I welcome your feedback, too, positive or negative, grammatical or philosophical.
The list incorporates many Jewish ideas and teachings. Each belief has a consequence for what we do. Taken together, the list also demonstrates how AEA goes beyond a K-5 schooling.
We are what we believe, particularly when belief is put into action. Our statement of core beliefs indicates the value-proposition we are making. Our community and our world benefit from students who see value in themselves and others, who seek to understand the world and its differences, who take responsibility with love and without fear, and who bring honor and dignity to what they do. AEA is an incubator for a vibrant, meaningful future for our students, our community, and the world. As an institution, AEA is an investment in that future, may we merit it soon.
Our Core Beliefs
Albert Einstein said, “I never teach my pupils, I only provide conditions in which they can learn.” We draw on the following core beliefs to provide these conditions at AEA:
בצלם א-להים ברא אותם
(b’tzelem e-lohim bara otam: In God’s image, God created them.)
We believe that each person, having been created in God’s image, has divine value. As such, we educate the whole student, using multiple modalities and differentiating instruction for each according to his/her way.
ראשית חכמה יראת ה׳
(raysheet chokhmah yirat haShem: The beginning of wisdom is awe of God.)
We believe that curiosity manifested in asking questions is the path to wisdom. As such, we encourage our students to see the world with awe and wonder, to be inquisitive, and to think critically.
אלו ואלו דברים א-להים חיים
(elu v’elu d’varim e-lohim chayim: These and those are the words of the living God.)
We believe that “these and those,” as sides of a debate, represent equally meaningful manifestations of one living world. As such, our pluralism respects different commitments that reach for one truth, and our academic curriculum is integrated across subjects to reflect that oneness.
(arvut hadadit: mutual responsibility)
We believe that we are each responsible for the other. As such, we teach personal and communal responsibility. We regularly explore social justice and freedom as part of responsibility to the wider community.
(ahavat yisrael: love of Israel)
We believe that love of the Jewish tradition drives our efforts. As such, we live Jewish values and practices daily. We teach Hebrew as the language of the Jewish people. We actively forge a positive relationship to Torah and the State of Israel.
כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאוד,והעיקר לא לפחד כלל
(kol ha’olam kooloh gesher tzar me’ohd, v’ha’eeqar lo lefahched klal: All the world is a narrow bridge and what is essential is not to be afraid at all.)
We believe that living and learning are a lifelong journey. As such, we teach that it is essential to try new things and encourage experimentation. We teach that mistakes are opportunities for learning; failing forward builds confidence and deepens knowledge.
הדר כבוד הודך
(hadar kavod hohdekha: the honorable dignity of Your glory)
We believe our purpose is sacred. As such, we conduct ourselves with honor and dignity by cultivating good character and by striving for excellence. We take and teach personal ownership for our self-presentation, for our learning, for our school, for our community, and for the future.