Our Day Schools: An Update
Our Jewish day schools all work hard to provide a high level of education in both secular and Judaic studies. As the new school year begins, the Ledger checked in with our local day schools to find out about their new and exciting programs.
Hebrew High School of New England
300 Bloomfield Ave.,
West Hartford, CT 06117
Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, Head of School
A significant amount of work has been devoted to overhauling HHNE’s schedule, allowing for the appointment of more full-time staff.
Some of the staff additions include: Rabbi Willie and Estee Balk to our Judaic Studies department. Rabbi Balk will teach a variety of Talmud and Torah courses while also developing HHNE’s co-curricular Judaic Studies program. The Balks will also be working with NCSY to expand their programs in the region; and Deborah Carroll, who joins the English faculty. Carroll was previously an English teacher at West Hartford’s Kingswood Oxford School and has also served as English faculty chair at the Gann Academy
In the academic sphere, HHNE will add a greater number of Advanced Placement (AP) examinations — including physics, and government and politics – to its complement of existing AP and college level courses already offered at the school. The appointment of the school’s first-ever dedicated music teacher will mean expanded opportunities for those interested in music.
HHNE staff are working with Bonim B’Yachad [online learning platform] to enhance the school’s Talmud curriculum with a range of blended and online learning modules. Bonim B’Yachad will also give the Talmud department the opportunity to train and work with some of the top Talmud educators in Israel.
HHNE will also expand its community service and social action program to include increased opportunities for our students to work with a number of Jewish and non-Jewish charities and community organizations in the Greater Hartford area as well as Greater New Haven and Western Massachusetts. Students will be encouraged to integrate their academic knowledge with Jewish principles of serving others and the environment to build leadership skills, take initiative, and shape the world around them.
594 Converse St.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Michal Morris Kamil, Head of School
Heritage Academy is celebrating its 65th birthday with a festive launching of top performer and Jewish singing artist Sam Glaser’s new musical creation “Hatikvah-the Musical, Our Next Verse.” Heritage students will partner with Glaser in writing portions of the script, as well as performing some of the materials written for the production. This premier of Sam Glaser’s new work will take place at Sinai Temple in Springfield, on Sunday, Nov. 22. This musical, which is part of the Tri Synagogue Shabbat, will be accompanied by Heritage’s community Kabbalat Shabbat, as well as a special musical soiree dinner, and a grand concert on Saturday night, with performer Sam Glaser.
This year, Heritage Academy’s new middle school curriculum, titled: “Judaism in Action-From Faith to Activism” will explore the diversity of voices in the Jewish world relating to spirituality and religion, opportunities to express Jewish ethics through social action in the community, and Israel, as the expression of the Jewish mosaic of Peoplehood. In addition, Heritage’s Middle School students will be focusing on reflecting and expressing their learning and experiences through independent project studies culminating in a final end of term display involving music, film, writing, documenting, and the arts.
The activism component of this program will involve students going out into their community each week and working hand-in-hand with local non-profit voluntary organizations in the fields of literacy, food scarcity and resourcing, and engagement with the senior citizen population. The students will become fully immersed in the challenges and reality of these different sectors, spending a term with each organization, with a strong underpinning of Jewish ethical education and its translation into multiple facets of their lives as global citizens.
257 Prospect St.
Northampton, MA 01060
Deborah Bromberg Seltzer, Principal
Ellen Frank, Executive Director
LGA is committed to being more energy efficient. 2,646 square feet of solar panels have just been installed by PV Squared (PV)2.
These solar panels will provide at least enough energy to supply our entire electric usage, plus we will earn additional credits for electricity that is pushed back out into the community. An estimated 32.1 tons per year of CO2 emissions will be avoided.
Lander-Grinspoon Academy’s sixth grade class has received grant funding for intergenerational programming to work with the residents of the Lathrop Community in Easthampton. The sixth graders will be working to develop an awareness and appreciation of the strengths and challenges of the residents. As an act of service, the students will be recording the oral histories of some participants. LGA students will visit the Lathrop Community monthly throughout the 2015-2016 school year.
Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy
1148 Converse St.
Longmeadow, MA 01106
Rabbi Noach Kosofsky, Principal
Judi Epstein and Stephanie Zolotor, Co-Education Directors
Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy opened its doors on August 27, 2015 for the 2015-16 school year and was proud to welcome its student body for its 70th year of offering excellence in Judaic and secular education to families of the greater Springfield area.
LYA’s youngest students, in its Early Childhood Education program, are exposed to the world around them through experiential learning with an emphasis on physical, cognitive, and emotional growth. Movement and exercise become an integral part of a child’s day. Mrs. Lilia Luzhanskiy, Early Childhood Director, has developed a rhythmic Hebrew program which incorporates Hebrew language and exercise into an exciting repertoire of dance and movement.
Using a camping theme, this year’s LYA Early Childhood students enjoy experiential learning that encompasses all aspects of their day. Their classroom is set up as a campsite complete with tents and areas of camping discovery. This theme will extend into the Judaic curriculum with monthly Rosh Chodesh programs that include cooking, drama and crafts based on the calendar year.
LYA is beginning a new literacy program in the early childhood program targeting pre-kindergarten students. This Junior Kindergarten program will focus on pre-reading skills including phonemic awareness, basic math concepts including 1-1 correspondence, and cognitive development.
Character building is an integral component of the education at LYA. Each month, students focus on a specific character trait and use the 7 Habits to improve their character. Students discuss the character traits and decide how the character traits will be used in the classroom, at recess, at lunch, and in the hallways. The LYA Leader in Me Lighthouse team unveiled WHAM; the theme for the 2015-16 school year’s character trait program. WHAM is an acronym for Words, Honor, Action, and Mind.
Words and Honor will include ways to incorporate positive speech into our day, Action will focus on taking charge of the neatness of our school environment, and Mind will include strategies for academic success and personal improvement.
LYA Chumash (Torah) teachers are trained in the Zekelman Standards for Judaic Studies following a training summer workshop facilitated by Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum, and will be implementing these standards into the Judaic studies curriculum this year.
The Zekelman Standards are a road map for teaching Chumash in grades 1-8, addressing all the areas necessary for mastery of Torah study, anticipating challenges that students may encounter along the way, and helping teachers chart an individualized path for each of their students to the goal of independent learning.
Last year, LYA said a fond farewell to Joanne Meyer, the librarian for ten years who retired at the end of the school year. Under Mrs. Meyer, LYA’s library doubled in size, offering a wide array of books and series for the students. Rosaleen Lewis, LYA’s middle school language arts and history teacher for the past four years, seamlessly entered the role of librarian for the school.
MetroWest Jewish Day School
50 Pamela Road
Framingham, MA 01701
Rav-Hazzan Scott Sokol, Ph.D.,
Head of School
We are excited to be moved into our new home at 50 Pamela Road.
We will be hosting our first
Open House on Sunday, Oct. 25 from
2-4 p.m. We have expanded our program
this year to include pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
MWJDS signed a multi-year renewable lease to operate its growing pluralistic K-8 program at Temple Beth Sholom (TBS). The new Nobscot Village location offers MWJDS many advantages and opportunities.
The private wooded campus and flexible indoor space complement the school’s strong academic program. The close proximity to
the JCHE Shillman House and the new McAullife Branch of the Framingham Public Library enables MWJDS to bolster joint intergenerational programming and to enrich the research resources available to its students.
The TBS community has been supportive of the MetroWest Jewish Day School mission since the school’s inception. MWJDS Head of School, Rav-Hazzan Scott Sokol, serves as the part-time cantor of TBS, and MWJDS Founders Renée and Steven Finn are long-standing members of Temple Beth Sholom.
MWJDS’s move to the Temple Beth Sholom campus enables both institutions to strengthen and build the Jewish community of MetroWest Boston.
English teacher Daniel Page engages Hebrew High School of New England
students in discussion during Honors Literary Genres class.
With help from Yehuda Edry, Heritage second-grader Etai Dragon learns what is actually in a mezuzah in a lesson about making tradition personally meaningful.
The Lander-Grinspoon Academy building with its newly installed solar panels.
Miss Lewis, LYA’s new librarian, is wasting no time encouraging her students to read.
MetroWest Jewish Day School uses many modes of learning to engage students in the curriculum so learning is fun.