First Jewish Day Junior High School in U.S. Opens in Miami in Fall

The first Jewish day junior high school in the United States, two years in the planning, is scheduled to open in South Dade County next September with 70 to 100 seventh and eighth grade students. Identification of the school as the first of its kind nationally was provided to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by Dr. George Pollak, director of educational research and information of the Jewish Education Service of North America.

An initial agreement for the unique school was approved two years ago by the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and the Central Agency for Jewish Education (CAJE).

Barry Ross, president of the school, said students far the new school will come from graduating classes of the three South Dade County day schools — Beth Am, Beth David and the South Dade Hebrew Academy — and from area elementary public schools.

Samuel Lasko, director of the Beth Tfiloh Community day school in Baltimore, has been named principal of the new school. Lasko said that, to provide quality Judaic education, the school will operate on different levels of instruction. Students will major in such areas as Talmud, Old Testament and Hebrew literature. He added that the program will provide for both former students of Jewish elementary schools and those without prior Jewish day school education. He said all students will be expected to study Hebrew.

The general studies curriculum will include accelerated and enriched classes in mathematics, science, English and social studies, as well as courses in computer science. Lasko said tuition for a year is expected to be about $3,000, excluding food and transportation. He said scholarship aid would be available.

AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE

Federation president Harry Levy called the school “an important milestone in the Federation’s long-term effort to strengthen Jewish education throughout Greater Miami.” Ross said the school “will reach out to all ideologies within Judaism.” He said the concept of “Klal Yisrael,” the unity of the Jewish people, will be the school’s “central principle.”

Al Golden, CAJE president, said the new school will be “especially important in strengthening Jewish identity” among Jewish children because “attitude, identity and commitments are largely formulated during the eary years of adolescence.”

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