Most of us are familiar with Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, which, according to at least one interpretation, teaches us that the fastest runner does not always win the race. Likewise, in the Bible, God created the world in six days and the Sabbath on the seventh, for even the Divine Creator needed rest and… Continue reading Commentary


The Power of Pluralism

One of our school’s several Torah scroll’s needs to be repaired. This Torah is most often used by the school’s traditional egalitarian minyan (one of several different minyanim including Reform, alternative and mechitza). Consistent with the egalitarian minyan’s principles, the members of the minyan want to invite a female soferet (scribe) to fix the Torah.… Continue reading The Power of Pluralism


THE CHALLENGE In healthy, stable organizations with strong leadership and governance, a short-term resource challenge and even a crisis can generate innovative, adaptive thinking and great leadership. However, a steady state of financial disequilibrium can lull leaders into a vicious cycle of short-term thinking and what I would call “make-sure-we’re-still-around-tomorrow management.” When school leaders are… Continue reading THINKING DIFFERENTLY ABOUT DAY SCHOOL FUNDING AND PRIORITIES

The Meaning of Pluralism in a Jewish High School

Introduction  For the past four years I have been in what you might call a polemic, or perhaps even a disputation, with a friend and colleague of mine, a religious leader, from Atlanta. This religious leader is fond of speaking from the pulpit about the perils of pluralism – indeed, he perceives pluralism as both… Continue reading The Meaning of Pluralism in a Jewish High School


Our vision of the role that competitive athletics can play in the lives of high school students is a deeply personal one. We—the head of school and athletic director of Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts—have been playing competitive sports since we were children, and we were blessed with opportunities to compete at both the high… Continue reading SPORTS LE-SHEM SHAMAYIM: THE SACRED MISSION OF HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS

Hepsed part 2

I was talking yesterday with my and Jill’s rabbi in Israel; I called to share with him the sad news of Allan’s passing. We began talking about Allan’s life and when I shared with him my trepidation about how possibly to do him justice today, he responded: don’t worry, just know that you are woefully… Continue reading Hepsed part 2

Hesped (Eulogy) for my father, Stephen A. Baker, z”l

June 6, 2014/8 Sivan 5774     Soon after the sun rose on the morning of Shavuot, the Jewish holiday commemorating the giving and receiving of the Torah, my beloved father’s soul peacefully departed this world. Just as the Jewish People gathered around Mount Sinai, stepping forward as we have for thousands of years to re-experience… Continue reading Hesped (Eulogy) for my father, Stephen A. Baker, z”l

Planting Trees

18 November 2016  17 Heshvan 5777    Shalom Chaverim,   I just returned from a two-day trip to Israel, where I visited places and people with whom Gann is building collaborative partnerships, spent time with Gann alumni, and—the reason for the trip—joined our nearly 30 Gann juniors for the final days of their Israel experience.   On… Continue reading Planting Trees

Election Reflections

11 November 2016 10 Marcheshvan 5777    Shalom Chaverim,   So much has already been written and said about the presidential election. I am not sure that I have much to add nor that I want to follow my inclination to rush immediately to words. At the same time, we began this week to process the… Continue reading Election Reflections

Under Our Roof

21 October 2016  19 Tishrei 5777    I have recently been reminded why Gann Academy chose to build its culture and community on a foundation of Jewish pluralism, a commitment to diversity and engagement with the “other” that is too rare in the Jewish community and that, while a hallmark of American democracy, seems to… Continue reading Under Our Roof