Park East Profile: Joy Avitan

We delight in presenting a rotating brief profile of a different member of the Park East community. 

Joy Avitan
Kindergarten Teacher and Parent

Why Park East?

I began my teaching career at another Jewish day school and the opportunity came to interview for a position at Park East. Instantly, I felt a sense of belonging, a warmth that emits from being part of a family. Shortly after, I made the decision to move, which I have never regretted! 

What was your favorite subject in school? 

Jewish history, observance of the holidays, and foreign languages, especially Hebrew. In short, everything that I like in Jewish education, I am enthusiastically doing now; I always wanted to teach. 

What’s your favorite Park East memory?

I have a couple! My husband and I had our engagement party in the ballroom at Park East. My son’s Brit Milah was a big highlight, as well as when I was honored as Educator of the Year in 2013. 

Park East celebrates Jewish identity and tradition “from generation to generation.” What’s the most important lesson you learned from your parents or grandparents? 

My siblings and I learned about the Holocaust firsthand growing up from my grandparents, who were Holocaust survivors. My father was born in the midst of the still little-known chapter of the Shoah of Greek Jewry. My parents taught us that family — personal and organizational — and connecting to the Jewish people, America, Israel, and the world is essential to knowing our identity. One cannot navigate the present into a fulfilling future without knowing and understanding the past.  

What advice would you give to someone who is considering Park East for their child?

They should choose Park East because it creates a nurturing environment, to complement that which children bring from their own homes. When I had my own two children, I knew there was nowhere else I would rather send them to school. 

I would also say to get as involved as possible. There are so many events and volunteer opportunities for parents and grandparents to take advantage of, from Shabbat and holiday programs to the Parent Association.