Mrs. Rachela Silber Perutz (Rachel bat Yitzchak
Yaakov) displayed rare acts of heroism during
perilous times of the holocaust in order to save
others.She devoted her lifetime in the United
States to deeds of philanthropy and charity, and for
her unique and exemplary life; we permanently
consecrate her memory.
She will forever be remembered for her dedication
and commitment to the survival of the Jewish
people and for her invaluable contribution to
enhancing the quality of life in the Jewish
community of Bergen County, New Jersey.
Our Hebrew Academy is dedicated to the sacred
memory of Mrs. Rachela Silber Perutz z’l who captured the essence of what our school is all about,
in that “Every Jew is Responsible for One Another”
Perutz Etz Jacob Hebrew Academy Los Angeles
For the past 25 years, PEJHA has proudly taken the lead in educating our community’s children. We can proudly state that we have never rejected a Jewish child seeking a quality Torah and secular education. Our values-based curriculum coupled with the softness and warmth of our dedicated teachers and staff allow our students to thrive in an academic and social environment accepting of all children.
Our school is grades Pre 1A through 8th grade; ages 5- 14.
Our mission is to be the most inclusive modern, orthodox Jewish Day school in Los Angeles. With your help and collective vision, we can continue to save Jewish neshamot. Together, we can strengthen the Jewish Community of Los Angeles for generations to come, by ensuring that No Jewish Child is Left Behind.
Every child deserves a Jewish education.
The Rachela Silber Perutz Etz Jacob Hebrew Academy (PEJHA) strives to educate the total child. By creating a warm, nurturing, caring environment, the school encourages the child’s intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and ethical growth.
PEJHA embraces the quest to develop each individual learner. Our goal is to assist each student in developing a positive self concept, a positive Jewish identification, and a life long commitment to learning and to Judaism.
We believe in developing competent, enthusiastic, and resourceful citizens who are able to compete in a technically complex world and who are loyal Americans and proud Jews.
Our mission is to provide a highly challenging and dynamic educational curriculum in an extended family atmosphere, stressing a comprehensive Jewish Studies program that is based on The Torah, as well as a rigorous and challenging program in the General Studies.
Parents choose PEJHA for their children because of the school’s focus on a quality and rigorous General Studies and Jewish education; attention to students with learning challenges; differentiated instruction; the school’s liberal tuition policy; small class size and because of the small, warm, nurturing school environment.
In spite of the fact that many families are not financially able to pay full tuition, the school governing board of advisors and leadership have made special efforts to find a way for each and every Jewish child to have a Jewish education.
The Man With Seventy Children
by David Suissa
The Jewish Journal, April 8, 2009
I can see why a Jewish day school would reject a Jewish child. It could be that the kid has special needs the school is not equipped to deal with, or the parents cannot afford the tuition, or the kid had poor grades in a previous school or simply has a bad attitude.
What school would want to diminish its “brand” by accepting every applicant? Part of what a school sells is the “quality” of its student base and member families. This helps attract more such students and families, which helps boost fundraising and enables the hiring of a quality staff.
So, screening and qualifying applicants is the normal and reasonable thing to do. What is not normal is to accept every Jewish family that knocks on your door.
I visited such a school the other day. It’s called Perutz Etz Jacob Hebrew Academy.
This is a small Jewish day school in West Hollywood that was founded 20 years ago by the current dean of the school, Rabbi Rubin Huttler. Since its inception, the school has been utterly incapable of looking a Jewish parent in the eye and saying, “Sorry, we can’t take your child.”
How can a school survive with such a radical, all-embracing policy? I don’t know if I have a good answer. I can only tell you what I saw after I hung out at the school with students, teachers, volunteers and the principal of the school since 1994, Rabbi Shlomo Harrosh.
I’ve known the rabbi for many years. Every time I see him, he seems to have another story of “a Jewish child in need.” Sitting in his office, which is located right near the reception area, the rabbi talked about his students as if he knew each one intimately. He knew their individual stories, their personalities, their gifts and the obstacles they each had to overcome.
It struck me, while listening to Rabbi Harrosh talk about his students, that his school is not just one that hates to say no, but one that goes out of its way to say yes.
Take the story of a rebellious 11-year-old Russian boy who refused to leave his room for months. No school would take him. The mother called Rabbi Harrosh, who ended up spending hours alone with the boy, making him feel accepted and gently convincing him that the school was worth a try. The boy became one of the top students at Etz Jacob and is now at Shalhevet High School.
There is a quiet dignity to the school, as if the students are a mirror reflection of Rabbi Harrosh. All 70 students wear uniforms, and they stand up when an adult enters a classroom. This didn’t surprise me, because I knew about the school’s reputation for teaching good midot (manners).
What did surprise me were some of their innovative teaching techniques. How do you get students to be more interested in the parsha of the week? At Etz Jacob, they use thematic songs that connect to the individual parsha. Teacher Zahava Rubanowitz was playing one of those songs when I popped into her class.
“Thanks to these songs,” she told me, “my students remember the ideas behind the parshas 10 or 15 years later.”
In an English class, a teacher asks his students to “bring an idea” they would like to explore with other students. In a literature class, a teacher challenges his students to go deeper into one of my favorite stories, “The Necklace,” by Guy de Maupassant.
Throughout the halls, you see some of your tax dollars at work: private tutors provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District giving one-on-one sessions to students who need extra help. They are there because Rabbi Harrosh did his homework on the rights of the school to get state help, and he pestered the state endlessly to get it.
At a recent fundraiser, the school highlighted the success of some of their alumni: a doctor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a psychology major at UCLA, an owner of a mortgage company, among many others.
But there’s a sobering side to the Etz Jacob story. Because many of the parents cannot afford tuition, each year the school must raise about 80 percent of its annual budget from outside sources. And I can tell you from personal experience that Rabbi Harrosh’s forte is not fundraising. He’s good at giving, not asking. I saw the pain on his face when he talked about the anxiety of meeting payroll.
So a group of friends of Etz Jacob have come up with a clever plan: find 613 people in the community to commit to $26 a month on an ongoing basis. Because it’s such a reasonable figure, they hope to attract many givers who will share in the mitzvah of keeping this courageous school going (if you want to help, visit perutzetzjacob.org).
As I drove away from the school toward the flashy signs of sushi bars and beauty salons, I thought about what motivates someone like Rabbi Harrosh. It would be so much easier to reject poor families so that he wouldn’t have to constantly struggle to meet payroll.
He must know all this, but maybe he just can’t help himself. Maybe for him, turning down a Jewish child would be like turning down his own child.
David Suissa, an advertising executive, is founder of OLAM magazine, Meals4Israel.com and Ads4Israel.com.
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