June 30, 2024
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Rabbi Aaron Frank Assumes Ramaz Upper School Leadership

Rabbi Aaron Frank, Ramaz Upper School’s new principal.

On December 1, Rabbi Aaron Frank became the new Upper School principal at Ramaz. Previously, Rabbi Frank had served as head of school at Kinneret Day School (KDS) since 2016.

Reflecting on his accomplishments during seven-and-a-half years at KDS, Rabbi Frank said, “My greatest pride is having an impact on families and children to feel more connected Jewishly and to Israel.

“I am entering this new chapter with tremendous excitement and energized focus. With that energy comes some tears. Kinneret’s community, teachers and parents have been my home for seven years. We have grown together. We had easy conversations and difficult ones. We walked through life together.

“We’ve been partners working to make our corner of the world a little more sacred academically, emotionally and spiritually. We have all grown in this journey in incredible ways and I have been beyond honored to be on that journey.”

Looking to his new position, Rabbi Frank stated, “Ramaz has an incredibly rich tradition and a powerful mission. My overall goal is to partner in making it the best it can be. The first goal is very much about listening. I’m spending a ton of my time meeting with faculty members, students and parents to understand their needs and concerns. I’m a very big believer in the phrase, ‘If you want to walk fast, walk alone; if you want to walk far, walk together.’ My first challenge is to listen and understand, so we can all walk forward together.”

Rabbi Frank noted some Ramaz history: “Over 60 years ago, Ramaz founder Rabbi Joseph Lookstein outlined his goals of Jewish education. He wrote that our schools must try to develop good Jews. A good Jew, according to Rabbi Lookstein, is one who loves people, takes pride in being one of them and in the miracle of Jewish statehood, and participates to the utmost in the effort to achieve peace, stability and security for the land.

“I have been inspired by the Hineni spirit of Ramaz as the students answer the call for Israel, standing up, speaking up and showing up in every way. I have seen how Ramaz students don’t just attend a rally, they are the rally. They don’t just stand in front of the UN to protest; they create a minyan and daven Shacharit in front of the building. They don’t just hang posters every day of the hostages in subways, on lampposts and building walls; they engage people on the street who ask them questions, and do so with adult strength and confidence. Our students continue to become what Rabbi Lookstein would call good Jews.

“Their activism is only one part of the Ramaz mission to develop good Jews. A couple of weeks ago, I ushered in Shabbat with the ruach-filled freshman Shabbaton, spent time with our juniors exploring Jewish demography in the 21st century, watched students articulate their love and passion for their school at our Open House and heard seniors describe their countless projects to help our soldiers. I saw, up close, these good Jews in action, who don’t rest as long as anyone is in need.”

Rabbi Frank continued, “I’ve had the opportunity to meet many Ramaz faculty and staff who are wise and committed to developing students to become intellectual seekers, soulful and loving Jews and world impactors. The Upper School leadership, along with Jonathan Cannon, welcomed me with open arms. I look forward to our partnership in continuing the Ramaz experience legacy. I feel so fortunate to be part of Ramaz and cannot wait to stand with and behind our students, cheering them on as they contribute to Am Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael, perpetuating Jewish tradition and working on lifelong goals of becoming good Jews. While the world has always needed these kinds of Jews, we need them now, maybe even more than ever.”

Rabbi Aaron Frank received his BA in philosophy from the University of Michigan, an MS from Columbia University School of Social Work, and his rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He is a graduate of the Jerusalem Fellows program at the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem, as well as of the Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Rabbi Frank served as associate rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale under the mentorship of Rabbi Avi Weiss from 1996 until 2000 and was a founding member of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Baltimore. He has been a teacher and presenter at numerous conferences and educational organizations, including Prizmah, Birthright, JOFA, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Yeshiva University and Kayam Summer Kollel.

He and his wife, Laura Shaw Frank, live in Riverdale and are empty nesters. They have four children: Ateret (Jonathan Brauner), Yanniv, Elinadav and Neri. Rabbi Frank is an avid reader and writer, swimmer, cycler, ice skater and saxophone player, and he participates in six weekly chavrutot.


Judy Berger is The Jewish Link Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut community editor.

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