Picture a building—a large one, with many floors and windows. In construction, such a building requires a strong foundation and infrastructure. My time at Epstein Hillel School, formerly Cohen Hillel Academy, provided for me the foundation, the footing and the principles to become the young adult that I am today. Beyond the classroom basics, it taught me morals, knowledge and a passion for tikkun olam (making the world a better place).
A person’s morals and beliefs around what is and is not acceptable for them to do was one of the hallmarks of my day school education. Whether it was sharing crayons in kindergarten or working on group projects, Hillel taught me the importance of treating others as you would like to be treated. I learned to treat others justly, fairly and kindly; to be loyal and to show good sportsmanship in the face of challenge as well as success. I think you will agree that “good conduct” really is quite simple: live by the golden rule—doing unto others as you would have others do unto you, which was so ingrained in us as students that, to this day, it serves me as a moral compass, making it easy for me to interact and be with others and having the tools to succeed in life’s many situations.
As a result of the strong academics and study habits I learned at Hillel, I was able to place into all honors and AP classes at Marblehead High School. I credit this success to the fact that, in my nine years at Hillel, I was challenged and engaged. I learned the importance of balancing my schedule and finishing work not only on time, but well. The academics and skill sets gained at Hillel together with the value placed on being an active community member, including extracurricular involvement outside the classroom, were the backbone to my understanding that I was capable and strove to be the very best version of myself. As a high school student, l was an active participant in class, as well as a member of the tennis, golf and mock trial teams. Without the exceptional education I received at Hillel, I am unsure that I would have had the confidence to be such an involved and successful member of the student body.
Now, at 26 years old, I am incredibly proud to be a newly appointed member of the Board of Directors at the same school I walked the halls of 20 years ago. I enthusiastically joined so that I had the opportunity to do my part in providing the same exceptional and well-rounded education I received. It is so important that each generation supports the next. Hillel is a special place, and in order to keep this gem alive, we need to take care of it. I am just one example of hundreds of success stories coming from Hillel. Today, I find myself working in executive placement at a tier one firm in the middle of the city surrounded by friends, family and a mind that keeps the teachings of Hillel and tikkun olam at the forefront. I could not ask for anything better than that.
Aaron Rothbard is a Hillel graduate of the class of 2009 and currently works in fintech and financial services.
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