Why We Chose Rashi for our Multicultural Children

by | Jan 26, 2016 | Our Stories

Charlie Ishikawa, Rashi Parent

I have a son, Akeakamai, and a daughter, Kealakai, who are in second grade and kindergarten at Rashi. I am not Jewish, and yet hearing my son say that he loves learning about being Jewish from Rashi feels great to me. You see, my wife, Rachel, is Jewish. She’s a city girl, born and raised in Boston. And we chose Rashi for our son and daughter, because the teachers here nurture genuine pride in a child’s Jewish heritage and, from that, a respect and curiosity about others and the world around them.

Our children are Ukrainian,  Polish, and Lithuanian — descendants of Eastern European Jews. Their other half is what I like to call the Hawaiian Plantation Constellation—and that’s Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and Native Hawaiian—that’s me. I am born and raised in Hawai’i. Rachel and I, we like to call our kids “Jewians”.


When we were trying to decide on schools for our children, in addition to a strong academic, artistic and physical education, we found ourselves concerned for their multi-cultural identity. We would like them to have fluency in their heritage, their roots, so that they can better navigate and share themselves with their world. We found Rashi to be the perfect place to help us build this within our children.

For our multi-cultural, mixed religious family, Rashi is terrific. They have a way of welcoming children into Jewish teachings that’s very age appropriate and accessible. It’s one that we’ve found, and from what we hear from Akea and Keala, to be driven by curiosity and respect.