New letter from Rabbi Weinbach to parents and faculty

Below is a letter sent out on May 4 by former head of school Rabbi Elchanan Weinbach. The letter was sent to Shalhevet parents and faculty:

Dear Parent,

As parents, we are called upon to make many sacrifices on behalf of our children. Especially when it
comes to our child’s Jewish education, we sacrifice luxury and comfort to afford this central piece of
what makes us Jewish. We could make the easier choice but our Jewish future would be so much
poorer for it.

I have always thought that among the distinct advantages of being an educator are how much more
time I have for my family than most, and how deep an impression my life’s work makes on my family.
In my two years at Shalhevet, neither of these advantages were borne out for my family. I have had
neither the time nor, when available, the presence with my family to enjoy them or support them.
Equally devastating is the haunting fear that my own children suspect that my having come here was an
act of selfishness, and that while the work is noble the impression it has left them with must be
corroding the life model I have always striven to show them.

It was against this backdrop that I began, in October, to seriously question whether or not my work here
justified the price to my family, and finally to lead me to resign my position at Shalhevet. Our family will
be relocating back to the East Coast – possibly Philadelphia, possibly back to our home in New Jersey –to
continue to build a foundation that will guide generations of our descendants.

I am certainly aware that this decision and its timing places a strain on Shalhevet in a year when there
has been so much change already. For this I apologize to you, to my colleagues, and to the dedicated lay
people who give so much time and effort as volunteers to ensure the school’s future. I have spent many
hours struggling with this decision and have consulted mentors for their wisdom. Still, it will always be
me who has made this choice and I take responsibility for it. I am confident that during this transition,
our dedicated administration, faculty, and lay leaders will maintain the high educational standards and
esprit de corps that have been such a vital part of Shalhevet.
Finally, I wish to thank each of you for having made the commitment and endured the sacrifices to have
your child in a Jewish school. Each of our children has been touched forever by the magic that is
Shalhevet.

If in any way I can be a help to your family at any time in the future, please feel free to reach out to me.

Respectfully,

Rabbi Elchanan Weinbach

This post is part of the coverage that was named 2010 Multimedia Story of the Year by the National Scholastic Press Association and American Society of News Editors.