2021 Alumni Spotlight

Schechter’s Core Values help our students grow and our alumni shine!

Solomon Schechter Day School’s vision of a good life is guided by Chochma - Wisdom, Klal Yisrael - Community, and Lev Tov - Good Heart.  Our graduates are bold, creative, resilient, and flexible. They know how to ask questions and learn. They are guided by a solid moral compass and a sense of urgency to improve the world.

Our alums are amazing! These are just three examples. We're proud of how our students and alums embody Schechter's core values. ​​​​​​​Learn more about how these individuals embody Schechter's core values and bring relevant life lessons from childhood to their professional lives. Help strengthen our community by giving to the 2021 Annual Campaign. 

Ari Santiago

כלל ישראל
(Klal Yisrael)

Rabbi Ariella Rosen

Good Heart
לב טוב
(Lev Tov)

Eli Shakun


Community — כלל ישראל — Klal Yisrael

arisantiago.pngAri Santiago

“My years at Schechter taught me that I am not only for myself. I am committed to the betterment of community, a core Jewish value that Schechter instilled in me.”

Ari’s strong sense of Klal Yisrael (Community) is found in both his personal life and professional career choices. After growing his company IT Direct for 20 years and merging with CompassMSP, he relocated its national headquarters from Florida to West Hartford in 2021. As CEO, Ari leads CompassMSP, the technology services firm that helps businesses harness the power of technology to achieve their business goals. He shows a deep commitment to the greater Hartford community and is now raising his own family in the same town where he grew up. He and his wife Erika felt it was important to continue the Santiago legacy by sending their children, Emerson (Parparim K-1) and Jack, to Solomon Schechter. 

Ari hosts a weekly podcast series “Made In America with Ari Santiago” since 2019. A relentless advocate for positive engagement in the communities he serves, the podcast showcases manufacturing companies within Connecticut, sharing best practices of industry leaders and spreading positive news affecting the manufacturing industry within Connecticut.

ned-lamont-ari-santiago.pngIn this Made in America episode, Governor Lamont and Ari cover some of the hot topics surrounding CT manufacturing including workforce development, programming and support, and business expansion.

Listen to Ari's recent interview with Governor Ned Lamont

Good Heart — לב טוב — Lev Tov

ariellarosen.pngRabbi Ariella Rosen

“My teachers at Schechter modeled value and respect for every individual. My time at Schechter taught me that to live ethically is essential to being a Jew and a human being.”

Ariella exemplified Lev Tov (Good Heart) early on through her work with developmentally disabled campers for many summers. There she learned two primary lessons: how to amplify the voices of those who are not being heard (but not speak FOR them), and that it was important to do work like this not only out of kindness (chesed), but out of a sense of justice (tzedek). 

A graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Ariella is a social justice advocate who works as a rabbi to inspire entire communities to step forward to act on the most urgent issues of our time. She brings this into her work as a rabbi in a number of ways: teaching Jewish ways of understanding important issues, bringing groups to marches and protests, and facilitating respectful and productive conversations about tough issues.

ariella-wedding2.pngAriella addressed human rights abuses in the Global South as a Global Justice Fellow for American Jewish World Service and advocates members of Congress to take action. She proudly serves as a role model for young LGBTQ+ Jews. Ariella and her wife Becca currently live in Toronto. Ariella works at Hillel Ontario as the director and Jewish educator at Hillel University of Toronto.

Mazal Tov! Ariella and Becca were married October 2021 at Camp Ramah in New England. The Schechter community wishes the newlyweds a lifetime of happiness!

Wisdom — חכמה— Chochma

elishakun.pngEli Shakun

“The interdisciplinary learning experience at Schechter taught me to be a thinker and to challenge the status quo to find a better way.” 

Eli applies Chochma (Wisdom) as a Lead Analyst on National Grid’s Future of Electric team. National Grid is an electric and natural gas utility serving over 20 million customers in the Northeast. eli-shakun-action.jpgHe and his teammates lead National Grid’s clean energy transformation efforts, setting the pace for how the utility company can be at the heart of a clean, fair, and affordable energy transition for all. He works on exciting topics related to how we cost-effectively and safely integrate renewable resources like solar and wind onto the grid, and how we shape energy usage to maximize the impact of those renewables. His team is always looking ahead to ensure that the energy system is prepared to reliably handle the energy infrastructure demands of tomorrow, including wide scale adoption of electric vehicles.

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