It is hard to imagine driving west on Alameda Avenue without seeing the imposing, proud home of the Denver Academy of Torah. It is hard to believe that it has not even been there 20 years, as the school was founded in rented, cramped quarters.
DAT has proved that Hebrew day school education is a marketable quantity in the marketplace of ideas. Although naysayers still preponderate in our community, we have come a long way. Day school graduates are not the ingrown, parochial, unsuccessful, unAmerican people that many thought they would be when the day school movement began. It is now taken for granted, and rightly so, that day school graduates are productive citizens, more often than not with graduate degrees, filling every imaginable niche in society, from medicine to law, from accounting to business; and, yes, of course, the rabbinate, too.
DAT has proved that there is more room for day school education; that the pre-DAT alternatives did not exhaust the market and, truth to tell, there is room for still more day schools — the millennia of Jewish literacy and spiritual productivity are potentially accessible to every single Jewish child. DAT has most recently pushed this envelope by opening a high school.
A 20th anniversary is an auspicious occasion to remind us that in its young life DAT has already produced students who now occupy responsible positions in an array of professions.
Intensive day school education is a paradoxical field. Its short-term results are almost imperceptible. Its long-term results shape American Jewry for the better more than any other investment, bar none. In its short life, DAT has shown this once again.
Congratulations to DAT’s founders, sustainers, staff and students. May the best be yet to come.
Copyright © 2013 by the Intermountain Jewish News