Samantha Ebner: How many years have you been working at Hebrew Academy?
Donna Janof: 20
SE: When did you become a student at the Hebrew Academy?
DJ: In 1st grade, 1967 .
SE: How many years were you a student for?
DJ: 12 years.
SE: How has Hebrew Academy changed from when you began working in school?
DJ: So many changes. Everything on a day to day basis has changed. In the big picture things are always the same, but the little things change. The school’s philosophy stays the same, which is that the school is still a division of what Rabbi Grosz visioned when he decided to open an inclusive school with a family atmosphere.
SE: Why do you think we’re a family?
DJ: We are a family because the students who go here have parent alumni and most live in the community. We are a small school which means everyone gets individual attention and are given proper care.
SE: How have the students changed from when you went here?
DJ: Students changed based on actions from when I went here. They’re now more competitive and difficult. Generations change with time, including how everything is now digital and electronic. There are many changes from when I enrolled here to right now as a secretary.
SE: Why did you come back to work here?
DJ: I worked here because I wanted my kids to be here.
SE: Why did you want your kids to be here?
DJ: I wanted my kids to be here because it’s a family environment, it’s in my community, and sort of affiliated with my shul. We have a small community where everyone knows everyone and I wanted that for my kids.
SE: Why did you come here when you were younger?
DJ: When I was a kid there were no other Jewish schools. Then people began moving down and more Jewish schools formed, making everything different and more crowded.
SE: If more Jewish schools emerged then why did you stay at Hebrew Academy?
DJ: I didn’t switch schools because this is my home. I’ve been home since I was six. Once I finish working and retire, I don’t want to move anywhere else.
SE: What are your opinions on the people with whom you work with?
DJ: I absolutely love the people I work with. We have the best faculty and administrators. In fact, most of my closest friends are from school or have kids in school. School is a huge part of my life.
SE: As a person who has been in Hebrew Academy for a long time, what advice do you have for people thinking about switching to other schools.
DJ: Students will be making a mistake if they switch schools. No one ever will take care of you as a student, academically and emotionally like the care you are given in this school. Everyone here cares. People who fall in the cracks from other schools get enough attention here, because everyone is here for you.
SE: Have you always worked here?
DJ: First I worked in worked in the JCC. Then I married my husband and moved to New York for six years. I moved back here, and for many years, while my kids were in preschool, I worked at the JCC. Once my oldest kid got old enough for Hebrew Academy, I came back here to work here.
By: Samantha Ebner (9th Grade)