"Growing Greatness" in our Graduates
Alison Ferry, 1998
When did you attend Hebrew Day? I went to Soille for middle school, 6-8 grade. I left in 1998.
Who was your most memorable teacher? Rabbi Hollander was my most memorable teacher. He taught us kindness and compassion, in addition to a solid Chumash curriculum.
What fond memory do you have when you think about your years at Hebrew Day? We had a great class with some wonderful friends. I was on Student Council, and I remember those meetings and events we put on so fondly. I ran for middle school student council secretary in 8th grade. My brother, Andrew, won for student council vice president and we actually campaigned together (“Vote for straight A’s!”). It was pretty exciting when we both won.
Where did you attend school after Hebrew Day? In high school I was very active in my youth group, in addition to focusing on academics. I was the regional Religious Education Vice President for my youth group (spanning 5 states!), and I think getting my start on the Soille Student Council pushed me in the right direction. Also, it was definitely a plus to have a strong Jewish education compared to most of my friends who hadn’t had the privilege of a formal Jewish education. After high school, I attended San Diego State University, where I majored in Sociology, minored in English, was the President of the College of Arts and Letters, President of the Jewish Student Union, and also served as the Jewish Student Union representative on Associated Students Council, representing the interests of Jewish students on campus. One of the most exciting opportunities I had in college was being honored with a seat on the Hillel International Board of Directors - I met some of the most influential Jews in the US, and got to voice my opinion on the future of Jewish life on campus. I graduated with honors, then spent some time in Israel learning in Jerusalem.
How did Hebrew Day contribute to the choices you have made in your life? I always felt that Hebrew Day gave me three things. 1 - a VERY strong Jewish education and identity; 2 - the ability to write a ten-page research paper the night before it was due (thank YOU Mrs. Butler for the essay writing bootcamp that was our English class); and 3 - a start in leadership and action in the Jewish community.
Briefly describe your life after school. My husband Matt and I met through a mutual friend in high school. We got married a couple years after we graduated college, and we lived in A for a number of years. After we had our first child, we were given the opportunity to move back to San Diego - and we did! It’s been three great years back.
How does it feel to be back at Hebrew Day? It’s really a great feeling walking my son into such a familiar environment every day. The school has physically changed a little bit; It’s definitely more built up than it was before. The other day I noticed the former science lab is now the kitchen! It definitely took me a minute to realize why it smelled so good in there!
Are you in touch with your Hebrew Day classmates? I am in touch with the people I was closest with - Sarah Kaplan, Lilac (Shay) Lavine, Zvi Band… We are all in different places but it’s great to see where everyone has ended up. Being back at Hebrew Day as a mom, I’ve connected to other “second generation” parents I only knew peripherally when I was a student, and have become good friends with some of them! It’s definitely fun to be back.
What advice would you give the graduating class? Don’t forget where you came from--life only gets more complicated as you get older. Stay grounded in your roots and hold your ground. I took the Torah lessons I learned at Soille with me everywhere I went - and they influence me more the older I get. I challenge you to do the same!
Zachary Dimenstein, HDS Class of 1983