Major donors and leaders of Greater MetroWest Jewish day schools came together on May 3 for a “Day School Showcase” bus tour of three schools, followed by a luncheon featuring Yossi Prager, executive director for North America of the AVI CHAI Foundation.
The event, coordinated by the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest, honored members of the Herskowitz Society of Greater MetroWest, which recognizes major donors to Jewish day school endowment funds. The tour highlighted collaborative programs in excellence and affordability at the three schools — Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, Golda Och Academy in West Orange, and Bohrer-Kaufman Hebrew Academy of Morris County in Randolph. The programs are supported through grants from the Greater MetroWest Community Day School Fund, established to support the three schools, as well as the Paula and Jerry Gottesman Family Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ, and funds raised by each school.
In his remarks, Prager thanked the donors for being among the first in the nation to make major endowment gifts to Jewish day school education. He noted that the success of the Greater MetroWest campaign laid the foundation for “Generations,” a national day school endowment initiative now funded by AVI CHAI and The Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education.
“Some visionaries think systemically. They want to plant trees that will grow into giant oaks, rather than repotting saplings every year,” Prager told the approximately 70 guests. “They are you, and we at AVI CHAI thank you for leading the way.”
About 40 benefactors, day school presidents, and other community leaders had boarded a bus at 8 a.m. at the Kushner campus. The group traveled to GOA’s Wilf Lower School Campus, where they viewed a program on alumni relations that included a presentation by about 30 students who are the children of alumni. The group also toured a newly renovated wing at the lower school. At the HAMC, the visitors joined fifth-graders conducting science experiments, using equipment and lessons supported through the grant funding. At Kushner, the group learned about the impact of a student mentoring program and “The Quest for Teaching Excellence,” a four-year, $1 million program to enhance the professional development of every teacher among the three schools.
The luncheon included a program honoring new members of the Herskowitz Society, which recognizes donors making commitments of $100,000 or more to a Jewish day school endowment fund. The society is named for the mother and maternal grandparents of Jerry Gottesman, who, along with his wife, Paula, are the architects and leading benefactors of the community-wide day school campaign.