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New $7 Million Ramaz Upper School

March 2, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An 11-foot shofor was trumpeted at outdoor ceremonies today to herald the start of construction by the Ramaz School of a new $7 million Upper School that will provide comprehensive facilities for 460 students in grades 7-12. The co-educational Ramaz School, which opened its doors in 1936 with five children and whose enrollment this year is 801, is affiliated with Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun.

Nearly 1000 persons–including students, parents, faculty and state, local and community officials–attended the ceremonies, held at the site of the new building, to rise on the south side of East 78th Street between Park and Madison Avenues in Manhattan. The shofor traditionally is used to usher in the Jewish New Year. Today it served to herald a “new era” for the Ramaz School.

The new seven-story building with two additional levels below ground, will be known as the Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Upper School of Ramaz in the Morris and Ida Newman Education Center. Lookstein was the founder of Ramaz. Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Ramaz principal, said that construction of the Upper School, part of a major development program, represents a “demonstration of our faith in the strength and the vitality of New York City, and a further reflection of its leadership as an educational and cultural center.”

It was announced that the New York State Assembly had passed a resolution, sponsored by Assemblyman Mark Alan Siegel of Manhattan, that hailed the development of the new facility.


The building will contain a regulation high school gymnasium, with complete exercise facilities, laboratories for the physical and biological sciences; a computer-science laboratory, language, media and music classrooms; a spacious library with provision for 30,000 volumes, art studios, student lounges, a Chapel-Study Hall seating 120 persons, a modern meat and dairy kitchen, and lunchroom facilities. The building also will house a full-scale 550-seat convertible auditorium and stage, religious study facilities, and 18 classrooms. Completion is expected by September, 1980.

The school’s primary school building at 22 last 82nd Street, which presently accommodates 218 children from nursery through the third grade, is no longer adequate to meet the students’ educational needs, school officials said.

Consequently, the nursery through third grade students will be moved into the Middle School at 125 East 85th Street, which presently has 150 students in grades 4-6. The lower School at that location will represent the merger of the primary and middle schools. The 85th Street building will undergo an extensive renovation, so as to provide the educational and recreational facilities that are essential to serve the expanded school population.

Ramaz offers its students a dual education. Judaic studies are taught in Hebrew, with emphasis on the classical texts of Judaism–the Bible, the Talmud and their Commentaries. At the same time the school offers a program of general studies, embracing all the basic disciplines of Western civilization in preparation for further study at leading universities in the U.S. and in Israel.

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