SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 – MARBLEHEAD – On Sunday, August 27, a standing room only crowd of 300 gathered to witness the formal dedication of the Arthur J. Epstein Hillel School, formerly Cohen Hillel Academy.
In recognition of Arthur Epstein’s $5 million donation to the K-8 independent day school, and with the support of Eli and Bessie Cohen’s family, the school was renamed in a deeply moving ceremony. The dedication program included rabbis from across the North Shore; members of Mr. Epstein’s family; past presidents of the board of directors; current Head of School Amy Gold; and an alumna speaking on behalf of the 800-plus graduates.
In her remarks, Gold recognized all the people and milestones that have come before, such as breaking ground on this building on Community Hill in 1985, the burning of the mortgage, and the school’s first gala featuring Peter, Paul and Mary. She thanked the generations of parents and students who have passed through the doors, the devoted staff and faculty who have taught at the school over the years, the dedicated board members and administrators who have steered the school, and the longstanding community partners, visionaries, and friends who have supported, guided, and inspired the school over the past 62 years.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have Arthur share his name with us,” Gold said. “Ultimately, the only thing a person leaves behind is his good name, shem tov, and how much he did to help others. Our students will learn what it means to have a shem tov, and at the same time have an outstanding secular education that provides opportunities and lessons to build character and make a difference. May we all aspire to be like Arthur and earn the crown of shem tov through our words and actions today and in the future.”
Ariel Berger, president of the board, reflected on the legacy of the Cohen family and their major role in founding the school back in 1955. “The Cohens immediately recognized how Arthur’s gift would allow our school to thrive in its mission of providing a unique and safe place for our children to learn their heritage and become proud, joyous, and confident in their Judaism.”
Amanda Turkanis Jaffe, from the graduating class of 1999, remarked on the education she received and how it “… prepared me for success in high school, college, and to this day facing any challenge, because I was instilled with the confidence, the moral values of tikkun olam [repairing the world], the academic knowledge, and the tools to thrive in any situation.”
Arthur Epstein, a Malden native and longtime Marblehead resident, currently lives in Brookline and Boca Raton, Fla. He is the father of three and grandparent of six. Arthur has said repeatedly that “I don’t invest in businesses and institutions, I invest in people, first Bennett Solomon [of blessed memory], and now Amy Gold, the Hillel staff and faculty, and the children.”