Pola Rosen, Ed.D.
65 years ago, the Ramaz Lower School is a modern, orthodox Jewish
day school that was originally built for the community and has
continued with that vision. Head of the school Rabbi Alan Berkowitz
explained that “Ramaz represents a standard of excellence in the
world of Jewish education. Starting in nursery, we try to provide
a quality program that will lead to an outstanding education.”
The student-teacher ratio is low: about 15 students to a class
with a head teacher and assistant teachers.
curriculum is half –religious and half–secular. Our children are
expected to follow the laws and principles of Judaism. The first
graders participate in a Hebrew language immersion program. In
the second grade, the entire religious component is taught in
Hebrew, which is considered the heritage language. French and
Spanish are introduced in the middle school. Project Community
takes place in the middle school. Once a week students volunteer
under the supervision of their teachers.
school has a strong sense of commitment because many of the parents
are Ramaz graduates,” said Rabbi Berkowitz. The mission of Ramaz
is for students to be outstanding citizens of the world and to
excel. In recruiting students, parents must share the mission.
Students are recruited by an interview process with parents. In
the lower school students come from all boroughs. In the upper
school, students also come from Connecticut and New Jersey. Most
graduates spend a year in Israel studying and exploring roots.
Then they enroll in many of the best universities in the country.
On teacher recruitment, Berkowitz looks for educators who have
long-term experience and a commitment to their mission. Most of
the teachers have Master’s degrees in education. Judaic studies
teacher must be fluent in Hebrew. An unusual feature of the school
is the day-care center for faculty children.
The atmosphere of the school is nurturing and caring. No wonder
then, as Berkowitz noted, “Parents have an enthusiasm about this
place; the school has charisma.”#
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