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Federation Helps Usher in a New Era for Jewish Day Schools

December 26, 2012
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From left, Ira Schwartz, JBHA Board Chair Cecily Carel and PJDS Board Chair Elliot Norry stand together with a sign promoting the new middle school. (Photos by Gregory Bezanis)

During the late afternoon of Dec. 19, dozens of Jewish community members gathered outside the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy’s (JBHA) athletic building to celebrate what the building will become this September: the home of the new Robert Saligman Middle School of the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy. The Perelman Jewish Day School and JBHA middle schools are unifying to create this new institution. Federation worked in partnership with the two schools to facilitate the accomplishment by guiding the process and providing strategic input.

At the ceremony on the Schwartz Campus, JBHA board chair Cecily Carel, PJDS board chair Elliot Norry and Federation CEO Ira Schwartz discussed what this new middle school means for the future of the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community. Rabbi Chaim Galfand from PJDS connected this communal step forward to the traditions and teachings of the Jewish people.
 
Rena Kopelman, who along with Lew Gantman co-chairs Federation’s Center for Jewish Life and Learning, helped Schwartz unveil a new sign announcing the school. Kopelman and Gantman were recognized during the ceremony for their dedication to making the unification a reality. The ceremony was followed by a reception inside the building, which will soon begin its transformation into a state-of-the-art middle school.
 
This momentous occasion came after months of intense negations between both schools, which, on the evening of Dec. 18, culminated in both the JBHA and PJDS boards voting for the unification. This new school will maximize community resources, while providing expanded educational, social and financial assistance opportunities for students and their families. Federation has committed to garnering significant resources to ensure that the new middle school delivers a first-rate day school education to as many children as possible. 

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