|The Bruriah High School for Girls, as it looked then and as it is now. Courtesy Bruriah High School|
When the Orthodox community in Elizabeth gathers next week in honor of the 73rd annual dinner of the Jewish Educational Center, attendees also will mark another important milestone in the annals of JEC history: the 50th anniversary of its Bruriah High School for Girls division.
An anchor in the Elizabeth-Hillside Jewish community, the JEC enrolls more than 800 students in its three divisions, one of which is Bruriah.
“It will be a very exciting evening,” JEC’s associate dean, Rabbi Eliyahu Teitz, said. He anticipates an enthusiastic turnout, due in part to the celebration of Bruriah’s milestone. “We expect attendees to include Bruriah alumnae as well as current and former teachers. Rabbi Chaim Wasserman, who taught Jewish studies for many years at Bruriah and now lives in Israel, will fly in for the occasion and will deliver the keynote address.”
The Bruriah component of the dinner also will include a memorial tribute to. Chaya Newman, Bruriah’s principal for 36 years. Newman, who was a trailblazer in the realm of yeshivah education for Jewish high school girls, died in 2012. “The pedagogic techniques she pioneered and programs she established are models around the world, and indeed often other schools come to Bruriah to learn from the examples she set in place,” Teitz said.
Bruriah, whose first graduating class boasted 10 students, grew under Newman’s stewardship to become the premier Jewish girls’ high school in the United States, according to Teitz. “It became a full-college program and the largest feeder school to Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women,” he said. “We get feedback from colleges and also from seminaries in Israel that the quality of our students – the breadth of their knowledge – is tops.”
Today, Bruriah attracts students from across New Jersey, including many from northern Jersey. They come as well from across the tristate area, and from Florida, California, Illinois, Texas, and other countries. Among its alumnae are a Rhodes Scholar and a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Teitz said.
The other JEC divisions also attract students from throughout New Jersey, as well as from Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, across the United States, and from several other countries. RTMA, too, counts among its alumni a Rhodes Scholar as well as the former director of the department of Homeland Security.
“Since 1941, the JEC has fulfilled its commitment to educate our youth, integrating both secular and religious studies that provide our graduates with the skills they need for a professional life in the 21st century, and a moral framework consistent with our traditions and values,” Teitz said.
The dinner is set for Monday, June 3, at the Venetian in Garfield. That evening, the institution will recognize Chanie Moskowitz, the outgoing principal of the Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy boys high school division, as educator of the year; and Ephraim and Amy Bassan of Elizabeth, who will receive the JEC’s Lev Tov award for their school and communal involvement.
To learn more about the dinner, go to www.thejec.org and follow the links for information and registration.