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Alumni Spotlight

Josh Shapiro '91, Pennsylvania Attorney General

“Sharon Levin’s political conventions taught me that students have a responsibility to be civically engaged. It was partly due to the lessons she taught me that I chose a career in public service… In our Jewish ethics class, we drew the same conclusion about social responsibility but from a Jewish perspective.”

Josh Shapiro '91
Governor of Pennsylvania

Jamie Gellar '96

"I cannot overstate how much my Akiba experience has contributed to my personal and professional success, Jewish identity, and love of Israel. Jewish values and academic discipline along with hard work on the court and in class are all life skills and character building initiatives that have molded the person I have become. The teaching staff and administration took such a personal interest in me that to this day I consider those relationships as some of the most important and nurturing in my life.

Jamie Geller '96
Best-Selling Cookbook Author and Award-Winning TV Producer

David Wolpe

“Jewish day school does more than educate, it helps shape character. Its influence reaches far beyond the years we spend at school. I am glad and grateful for my knowledge, pride and passion for Jewish life that is my legacy from Akiba Hebrew Academy, now Barrack.”

David J. Wolpe '76
Best-Selling Author and Newsweek's Most Influential Rabbi in America

Jake Tapper '87 author photo

"You have learned a lot at Barrack…I know it myself firsthand. The academics are superlative. The double curriculum grounds you in not just another language and worldview, but in a set of ethics, of expectations of behavior, of instructions in right and wrong. The respect for pluralism will serve you well as it has served me…and continues to shape me personally and professionally.”

Jake Tapper '87
CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent, State of the Union, The Lead with Jake Tapper
Best-Selling Author

Rebecca Goldstone and Michael Stern

“Wherever we are, rainforest or savannah, mountaintop or city, we embrace our Jewish culture and celebrate our history...The spirit of Tikkun Olam was instilled in us quite strongly at Akiba.”

Rebecca Goldstone '96 and Michael Stern '96
Co-Founders of the New Nature Foundation

Dr. David Agus, Best-Selling Author and Professor of Medicine and Engineering

"What Akiba did so well for me was teach me how to think broadly and how to tackle a problem. Science is what we don't know...Science changes. We learn things as we go. The combination of Jewish Studies, Science, History, and English all contributed to my ability to think critically and teachers taught me well."

David Agus '83
Doctor, Professor of Medicine and Engineering, and Best-Selling Author

Alison Klayman '02, Journalist and Award-Winning Filmmaker

"Throughout my Jewish day school education, I was taught that Judaism’s intellectual heritage values questioning and dissent. The importance of taking personal responsibility was underscored by rabbis and scholars…And the way I understood tikkun olam was that it applied to the whole world, from my Jewish community in Philadelphia to as far away as China.”

Alison Klayman '02
Award-Winning Filmmaker and Journalist

Chaim Bloom '00, Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Tampa Rays

"My years at Akiba were critical to my development, both academically and personally. More important than any specific pieces of knowledge that I received was in fact learning how to read, how to parse things, and how to think critically. Akiba also tries to make students aware of how to treat others and of their responsibility as citizens of a larger world, and that's a mindset that stays with me in my work and my life."

Chaim Bloom '00
Chief Baseball Office, Boston Red Sox

Chanan Tigay

“ heart, I’m an Akiba/Barrack guy—born and bred. When I think back on my life thus far, it’s really at Akiba where I began to form a sense of my own identity, my place in the world—as a human being and as a Jew. It was here I learned that you could have a family outside your nuclear family."

Chanan Tigay '94
Award-winning Writer and Journalist, Professor of Creative Writing