2011-2012: A Message from the Board of Trustees
January 01, 2011
Dear Reuben Gittelman Hebrew Day School Family and Friends,
When Reuben Gittelman Hebrew Day School started in 1971 as the Solomon Schechter Day School of Rockland County, a group of dedicated community members, rabbis, families and educators set out to establish the next vibrant Jewish day school in our midst. We have inspired greatness by our collective work and through teaching the next generation.
A decade ago, more than 350 students attended RGHDS. Today, enrollment has dropped to 150 students and the economic downturn, changing demographics and decreased commitment to Jewish day school education by a new generation of philanthropists and families has led us to a sad decision. With a heavy heart, we must close RGHDS in June 2012, the end of the current school year. The impact of a Gittelman Schechter day school education will continue to be felt in the strong Jewish pride and leadership abilities of our alumni, students and families.
We must share with you that no other option was viable. We looked for ways to cut expenses, evaluated alternative structures and considered mergers. We weighed all that against the tides of our economy, numbers of eligible students in our community and whether our mission was right for our time. The decision to close became inevitably clear. Any proceeds from our building sale will be first used to fulfill our obligations and then to provide scholarship to make Jewish day school education possible in our community.
The coming six months will continue to uphold the RGHDS standards and practices of excellence. The Siddur Ceremony, Chumash Ceremony, and Israel trip will proceed as they have in previous years. Every day will be filled with hugs and great lessons from RGHDS teachers. Community members will be invited to join committees to help plan our closing events and support our lifecycle ceremonies.
To help facilitate the transition, RGHDS will support families and students in their exploration of alternative options.
As Rabbi Bolton, our Head of School reminds me, Jewish values guided our opening and must guide our closing. We can affirm that our school has been a blessing in the lives of our Jewish community and in the history of the Jewish People. May we find the strength to continue to be blessings to each other during this time.
We will continue to be in touch with updates and always are available to answer questions and address concerns. Thank you for being such an important part of the RGHDS family.
Dr. Virginia Feldman
President, Board of Trustees