BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Congratulations to the graduating class of 2014 at Donna Klein Jewish Academy — the largest class in more than a decade and the first class to honor twin brothers as valedictorian and salutatorian.
From Donna Klein Jewish Academy:
Twenty-five proud members of the Claire and Emanuel G. Rosenblatt High School at Donna Klein Jewish Academy received their diplomas on June 1, 2014, collectively representing the largest graduating class since the high school’s first seniors did so in 2002. This milestone year commemorated the bar mitzvah year, which in the Jewish tradition symbolizes the coming of age for young adults.
The class of 2014 also included two additional “firsts”: the first valedictorian and salutatorian, and the first dual recognition of the annual presentation of the schools prestigious Avraham HaLevi Eagle Award.
In all previous years, the top two academic achievers were recognized, but not designated as valedictorian and salutatorian. Twin brothers Ethan and Noah Plotsker were named valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Ethan will continue his studies at Harvard University, and Noah will attend the University of Florida.
At the June 1 graduation ceremony, Rosenblatt High School’s Principal of Judaic Studies Rabbi Yaakov Green presented the 2014 Avraham HaLevi Eagle Award to two “co-winners”: Eden Elkarif and Jonathan Hurwitz. The criteria for winning the HaLevi Eagle Award are high. The student(s) must excel academically in both general studies and Judaic studies, must lead his or her peers by example, and must show strong Jewish values, including derech eretz (common courtesy) and love of the people and land of Israel. The student(s) must demonstrate integrity, maturity, morality, sensitivity, generosity of time and resources, and know how to be a good friend. When possible, the award winner(s) must have spent his or her entire high school career at Donna Klein Jewish Academy, and must plan to pursue college coursework at an accredited institution of higher learning. Elkarif and Hurwitz were both exemplary examples of those who met the criteria, so they were jointly nominated based upon strong values, leadership skills, honesty, and respectful character. The prestigious award was established by The Allen A. Stein Family Foundation and is presented annually to a DKJA graduate. This year’s award, presented for the 13th time, set a precedent by honoring two recipients simultaneously.
“Jonathan and Eden, you have both shown our community the best of what it means to be a member of the Rosenblatt High School family. You both have excelled throughout your academic careers, in your general studies as well as Hebrew and Judaics. You have excelled in athletics throughout your time here, and both of you have, whenever called upon, stepped up, volunteered and played leadership roles. You have assisted leading our community through your works of chesed (kindness). On our recent March of the Living trip to Poland and Israel together, I watched as you and your friends rallied around each other and led each other through tears and joy. You both have shown that you recognize the strength of our people, and of our tradition that sings loudly through your veins,” said Rabbi Green.
Recipients demonstrate the qualities and attributes of Avraham ben Yosef Halevi, who loved learning, loved people and loved being Jewish. The HaLevi Eagle Award includes a monetary prize, which will be paid over four years.
One expectation of the award winners is that they return periodically to DKJA to allow students to benefit from his or her experience and example, which both Elkarif and Hurwitz plan to do.