It All Began at the Dinner

It is hard to believe that over 25 years have passed since we began our journey with SAR. My daughter had just entered kindergarten in the ELC and Shloime and I decided that we would attend the school Dinner that year in an effort to join the SAR community.  We did so every year after. Eventually, the Dinner was moved to the Academy where we were amazed at the creativity of transforming the Academy space into an elegant environment while still reflecting the warmth and learning that transpire in that same space day after day.  


Even more of a surprise was to find that we actually enjoyed the dinner. The evening was full of good humor (thanks to Fred Sugarman) and palpable warmth.  I can clearly remember the feelings that Shloime and I shared that night as we left. The evening had validated in our minds that we had chosen the right school environment for our children. We also realized how lucky we were to have an SAR, a place that was so in sync with our approach to raising our children. It provided an environment that stressed the importance of our commitment as observant Jews while encouraging intellectual curiosity and growth in a safe and loving environment.  That dinner became one of many we would leave elated and thankful that an SAR existed to partner with us in nurturing our children.

It was an honor a number of years later when we were asked to chair the SAR Dinner.  By that time, our children’s wishes to continue their education in SAR High School had come true. My trepidation about accepting the chair was our own ability to make sure that the Dinner would continue to be an accurate reflection of the essence of SAR.  Would we be able to ensure that “first-time parents” attendees would leave their first experience feeling as we had years prior?

Recently, I serendipitously (in the far away land of Brooklyn) began talking with a young woman who in conversation asked where my children had gone to school.  When I told her that my four children had attended SAR Academy and High School, she replied with a smile on her face that she had two children in the school. “It’s a magical place,” she said.  I couldn’t agree with her more.

The SAR Anniversary Dinner

SAR Choir at the 50th Jubilee Anniversary Dinner

As a faculty member and a parent, I have always felt that the SAR dinner was so much more than just a fundraiser; it was a crucial reminder of how fortunate I am to have had SAR in my life. SAR enriched and changed me both professionally and religiously because it demands constant self-reflection and personal development. Pervasive in the institution is a culture of learning and hard work. We take the responsibility with the utmost seriousness, all while finding as many reasons to laugh and to celebrate as possible.

As a past honoree, I was humbled to stand before a community that is governed by kindness and humility, one that listens with deep and moral empathy and care. SAR inspired me to dream in color - to imagine the possibilities. I will forever be grateful.
— Dr. Mark Shinar, Former Faculty
Dr. Mark Shinar, pictured with Rabbi Tully Harcsztark, was honored at the 2017 Anniversary Dinner

Dr. Mark Shinar, pictured with Rabbi Tully Harcsztark, was honored at the 2017 Anniversary Dinner

The SAR Anniversary Dinner is the centerpiece fundraising event and gathering for our school community. The Dinner has been a significant part of our history and has always been an occasion where all facets of the school come together to celebrate our accomplishments, honor individuals among our professional and volunteer leadership, and recognize the special qualities that make an SAR experience come to life for our students and families.

I look forward to the dinner every year because you can feel the positive energy in the room as soon as you enter the dinner. It is as if you are at a gigantic and (very beautiful) pep rally celebrating the successes of the SAR community. The spirit in the air of gratitude and pride always instills within me a sense of deep privilege that I am a part of the SAR magic.
— Sharon Sturm (Morah Golda), Current Faculty and 2014 SAR Dinner Honoree

Over the years the event has been a wonderful opportunity for SAR to celebrate our school, to recognize our accomplishments and pay tribute to our honorees, and for our community to express their commitment to SAR through their financial support. Each year the SAR Dinner Campaign successfully raises sacred dollars that ensure an SAR education is accessible to all students who qualify and make what we do possible. We are forever grateful for the philanthropy and charitable support of our donors - it is a testament to who we are as a community.

Our Jubilee Anniversary Dinner this past January was quite the celebration! Click HERE for the Founders Tribute Video and watch the SAR Experience video, too. Both will give you a sense of where we began, who we are today, and where we are going as a community.

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Alumni IDF Dinner Honorees

Alumni IDF Dinner Honorees


The Annual Dinner that honored the students serving in the IDF fell out just as our son, Max, was finishing his service and only a few months after he fought in the last Gaza war, “Protective Edge.” Needless to say, the Dinner came on the heels of what was a most difficult time for us. SAR’s inviting Max, and the other graduates who were serving and honoring them at the Dinner, was truly incredible!  Max was asked to speak and represent the group - it made the night extra special and meaningful. The support of the SAR community was beyond our wildest expectations and left our family speechless. 

-Debbie and Andy Kane, Parents of Alumni