When Rabbi Daniel Alter leaves DAT at the end of June to head the Moriah Day School in Englewood, NJ, he’ll probably keep his emotions to himself — or at least make an attempt.
Alter, who arrived in Denver in 1999 as the first rabbi in the history of EDOS, has tackled a plethora of firsts during his 16 years here.
He became the spiritual leader of the DAT Minyan, which originated as a satellite of EDOS and later morphed into a separate entity, once his contract expired with EDOS in 2006.
That summer, DAT, the modern Orthodox day school for students in grades K-8 and the minyans home, required an interim head of school.
The school was going through transitions, Alter says at a table in the teachers room that overflows with equipment, shelves, boxes and a corner-stashed refrigerator for an upcoming Bar Mitzvah.
Alter agreed to be interim head for one year. One year stretched into two, three, then four. In the fourth year, the board president approached him and said, ”We have a problem. You are still the interim head of school, but you are the longest serving head of school in our history. So . . .”
In 2010, he accepted the permanent position at DAT and continued to lead the DAT Minyan temporarily because he had acquired a different perspective regarding both my role in the school and the community.
“There was an opportunity for a more holistic approach to the community,” Alter explains. ”Playing a role in the shul and school made sense on many levels. There were financial benefits and synergies if we worked together, as well as educational and spiritual advantages.
“We’re dealing with people, and people don’t live in a silo, he says. They are influenced by their schools, shuls, families and communities. This was a chance to look at all these pieces holistically and say, How do we build moving forward? To me, it was obvious.”