When the school bell rings to mark the first day of school this September in Commack, New York, it will be a historic red letter day and a Jewish coming-of-age for Suffolk County.
In an exciting development that will create a new dimension to Jewish life in Long Island, the new Jewish Academy of Suffolk County, located in Commack, New York, will be opening for the September 2004-2005 school year.
Rabbi Tuvia Teldon, director of Chabad Lubavitch of Long Island is executive director of the new educational institution and was one of the key players in its founding. “This is the only Orthodox Jewish day school in all of Suffolk County, a community of over 100,000 Jews” says Teldon “and it has created an entirely new Jewish dynamic in our area.”
Teldon said the credit for the new school goes to former Suffolk resident Anita Kaufman whose vision and munificence made what was heretofore a dream into a vibrant reality. “Anita Kaufman’s guidance, passion and hands-on involvement in Jewish education is an example of philanthropy at its best.” he said
Mr. Jack Kulka, a Long Island businessman and community activist, also played an important role in the acquisition and establishment of The Jewish Academy. Kulka is quick to point out that “this entire project was conceived and executed with the support of many donors, rabbis and lay leaders. It was a real communal effort and it is an impressive paradigm for a community school.”
The Jewish Academy and Discovery Center (jacademysc.com.) will include a pre-nursery, nursery, kindergarten and first grade, with the anticipation of future growth to a full elementary day school, explains Rabbi Shimon Kramer, dean of the new school. Located on the grounds of a 15-acre former public school and adjacent to a 10-acre park, the school boasts an excellent and caring staff, spacious air conditioned rooms, a unique indoor playground, full gym and an emphasis on technology, art, music and sports.
The integrated curriculum of general and Jewish studies will feature some unique educational components including: Partners in Education (PIE), Jump Start and Character Education programs which will enrich and enhance the educational environment. In an innovative move, the school has announced that all first year students will become members of the Founder’s Circle, entitling them to free transportation, lunch and before/after child care.
Rabbi Teldon says that registration “has only recently begun and is exceeding our expectations for the first year. “There is a palpable air of excitement among the staff, students and parents.”
The ringing of the school bells in the new Jewish Academy will be a clarion call to the Jewish children of Suffolk County: Jewish education is important; Torah values are important; and Jewish continuity is a shining probability.