There are basic rules of life, really. Treat people with respect. Have dignity, pride and focus in what you do. Strive to be the best that you can be.

While not automatically followed in the world, these guidelines are basic principles at Denver Jewish Day School. And the result was extremely evident, as proud families, supporters, school administrators and sponsors gathered for the Denver Jewish Day School Annual Tribute Dinner on Thursday.

Denver Jewish Day School began as Theodor Herzl Jewish Day School (Herzl) and was founded in 1975, serving 14 students in grades 1-5. Four years later, in 1979, Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy (RMHA) was established, with ten students in grades 9-12. Although the size, name and mission have grown, those basic tenets of dignity and respect have been the cornerstone, and the families honored at the annual Tribute Dinner were perfect examples.

Sandy & Lisa Feld, David & Allison Foster and David & Nancy Kaufman illustrated the epitomy of Judaic values as their families joined them to pay tribute. There were lots of “Masel Tovs” heard during the evening and a special surprise came when the Felds’ daughters Devra, Shana and Katie arrived from Israel, unbeknownst to their shocked and delighted parents._DSC3597

Board Chair Lisa Reckler Cohn superbly navigated the program through the evening, calling it a “business dinner,” and the packed ballroom at the Grand Hyatt indeed “got down to business,” including the presentation of the Star Spangled Banner, Hatikvah and Ole Ole by the Denver JDS Glee Club, a welcome by Head of School Avi Halzel, a video of school activities, presentation of the Neshamah Yeteirah awards to the honorees,a stirring keynote by Snapchat developer Daniel Smith (class of 2008) and a lively auction mastered by Paul Borrillo.

At Denver Jewish Day School, academic excellence goes hand-in-hand with inquiry-based pluralistic Jewish education. Their K-12 curriculum combines rigorous college preparatory classes, powerful Judaic values, and an individualized and supportive environment that stimulates intellectual, spiritual, physical and social success.

For more information, look on their website, denverjds.org. And don’t forget to use your Snapchat.