The philosophy of Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School is built around several core values that influence and impact all that we do. The values of tradition, character, and community are incorporated into our belief of embracing the whole child by providing a program that enriches the mind, the body, and the soul. Three years after our school opened in 1972, it was renamed Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School. Not only was Rabbi Heschel a brilliant philosopher and influential teacher, but he also embodied our core values: tradition, character, and community. His varied interests in religious pluralism, human dignity, civil rights, personal fulfillment, Israel, education,mitzvot, and service speak directly to the pillars on which we were founded.
Through our more than 40-year history, Heschel has become known for many longstanding traditions. Events such as the Kindergarten Bake Sale, our Middle School minyanim, 5th grade Colonial Day, Thanksgiving baskets, and the 8th grade trips are common topics of conversation with visiting alumni. With a signficant number of current alumni families sending their own children to Heschel, these savored memories continue to support our solid foundations, while new Heschel traditions are created daily. Our 2nd grade garden now flourishes annually as beautiful flowers are planted each Fall. In May, our Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) celebration includes an evening of dinner, Israeli dancing, and a chance for parents to visit their children's classrooms. Our 8th grade Shehecheyanu Service provides a forum for sentimental thoughts and farewells prior to our formal graduation. Our traditions are growing, and we encourage you to take part in their creation.
The culture of our school reflects our namesake’s values: integrity, justice, intellectual curiosity, and empathy. Students in all grade levels embrace the meaning of kavod: respect for themselves and others. The children's emerging sense of personal ethics grows into self awareness and, ultimately, into a sense of civic responsibility. Teachers, advisors, administrators, and parents work closely together to cultivate individuality and to raise knowledgeable, caring citizens of the world who are committed to Israel and the vitality of the Jewish people. As part of Project Chesed (a school-wide initiative), seventh graders learn about the importance of social justice with visits to Mend, LA Family Housing, and SOVA. Importantly, none of these events happen in isolation nor have they been one-time events. Students read literature, make visits, conduct interviews, involve their families, and study all year long to make our Project Chesed curriculum come to life. At Heschel, we believe a whole child is not captured in a report card or test score. Because learning takes place both within and outside the classroom, developing character is a deliberate element of our curriculum.
At Heschel, our community is our heart – the core and essence of our foundation. It is because of our community of parents, faculty, alumni, and friends, that we are the thriving school we are today. As a community Jewish day school, Heschel is committed to providing exemplary education in a pluralistic Jewish learning environment. Students and families bring natural talents and varied perspectives, and no two are the same. From Generations Day to Open Gym Night for parents and alumni, the Heschel community reaches beyond our walls and across generations.
"Home is where we love, where we dream, where the care is revealed, where we learn what values to cherish, what goals to be committed to, and the meaning of commitment."
--Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel