By Jacqueline Vinar
The open house for Ramaz High School is scheduled for motzaeiShabbosKodesh November 8 at the Ramaz Upper School, located at 60 East 78th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues. Teachers and staff will be on hand to answer your questions and guide you through the application process. If your child is currently in eighth grade, this is a good opportunity to learn what Ramaz has to offer.
Established as a progressive coeducational Modern Orthodox Jewish day school, at 77, Ramaz has far surpassed its modest beginnings. Its success lies in its ability to attract a diverse student body and provide students with an education as well as extracurricular programs.
What sets Ramaz apart from other schools? The answer can be found in the four C’s: commitment, community, connection, and continuity. You can get an education anywhere, it’s true, but to receive an education that embraces community, engages the individual, and preserves the continuation of Jewish religious life–that is the Ramaz difference.
The Ramaz commitment is to a superior education and advanced curriculum marked by enthusiasm in both religious and secular studies. Ramaz is unique in encouraging each individual to reach his or her potential. Caring administration and staff inspire in students a passion for learning and instill Torah values of mitzvos, integrity, and respect for others. School Shabbatons place emphasis on the Torah way of life. In addition, commitment to the State of Israel is important. Spending a year of study in Israel is highly encouraged, and more than half the student body ends up going to a yeshiva or university in Israel the year following graduation. Ramaz can proudly claim to its credit that members of its graduating body have enlisted in the IDF, and many others have made aliyah.
A big part of Ramaz is community. The school enrolls students from all over the New York metropolitan area, including Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, Great Neck, and even the Five Towns. It is no surprise that Ramaz attracts such a diverse student body. “Olam chesed yibaneh”–and Ramaz sets the example by its affiliation with many Jewish communal organizations and participation in all sorts of chesed projects in which they involve the Ramaz community. These include collecting toiletries for soldiers in Israel, bagging food for City Harvest, doing bikurcholim at Lenox Hill Hospital, and building houses with Habitat for Humanity.
The school maintains extracurricular activities in the arts, sports, dance, choir, and drama. The debate and math teams, ChidonTanach, and several school publications also are part of what Ramaz offers students. When you attend Ramaz, you become part of their greater community and are reminded even after you graduate that you are still part of the Ramaz family.
A strong alumni presence maintains the connection between the school and its graduates. A supportive alumni coordinator organizes alumni activities, and the school continually reaches out and shows an interest in keeping up with its former students. Many alumni come back to hold seminars and lectures in their fields of expertise. Alumni of the school include successful entrepreneurs, businessmen, authors, doctors, lawyers, rabbis, and teachers. Continuous alumni functions coordinated by the school ensure that the connection with the past student body is never severed and that the warm feeling of being part of the Ramaz family is ever-present. In this way, Ramaz helps maintain friendships formed there for a lifetime.
The Ramaz emphasis on continuity of Jewish religious life and values is what keeps the chain going. Taking on leadership roles in synagogues or Jewish organizations and becoming involved in tzedakah and Jewish activism is part of that cycle, which continues even after one has long left the school. Children of Ramaz alumni often follow in their parents’ footsteps in attending the school. My children have followed in mine.
If you can’t make the open house, it’s well worth your while to contact the school at 212-774-8093 or visit www.ramaz.org and request an application. In addition, there will be a parlor meeting in the Five Towns on Monday evening November 24 for those who are interested.