Rabbi Shaye Guttenberg, Head of School

Welcome to the Hebrew Academy! 

3,751 miles, 100 hours, 10 hotel rooms, 7 states was my family's physical relocation from San Jose, CA to Miami Beach, FL; a true road trip. I love driving the open road and discovering new places along the way and this trip promised experiencing parts of America we’d never visited before. We hiked in national parks, sled in a national monument, explored underground caves and nourished ourselves in some great kosher establishments along the way. It wasn’t until we entered Alabama that our reality began to settle in. Every state has a huge sign on the side of the road just after crossing the border. Marking Alabama read: Welcome to Sweet Home Alabama. I am sure that when Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote his famous song in 1974 he couldn’t have imagined it would be the welcome sign into Alabama (especially since he was from Florida).  

As I hummed Skynyrd’s tune, my mind started to wander as I contemplated home, especially a sweet home. This contemplation was a steady stream of ebbs and flows until Monday, July 8th when I walked into Hebrew Academy for my first day of work and had this incredible sense of deja vu. I don’t believe this deja vu was because of my various visits here this past year, or even visiting the school when I was a child. That feeling washed over me because of the greeting that welcomed me. All the notes and treats on my desk, security greeting me by name, the smiles from staff and the excitement for admin to show me my office gave me such a buoyancy.  Walking into Hebrew Academy felt like walking into a home. I even started composing an adapted version of the famous song: Sweet Home Hebrew Academy, where the school colors are blue…

I know that many of you share these feelings; Hebrew Academy is home sweet home. Home is a place where you are always welcome, feeling a sense of belonging, and you aren’t judged.  These are some of the principles and values of our school and I welcome you to come and learn more about us.

Sincerely, 

Rabbi Shaye Guttenberg
Head of School