The three organizations plan a Unique Partnership Among Park, Kadimah, and Buffalo Jewish Federation.
Kadimah Academy, The Park School of Buffalo, and the Buffalo Jewish Federation are pleased to announce an innovative new partnership that will introduce Hebrew language and Judaic studies courses to one of the nation’s oldest independent progressive schools, beginning in September 2019.
The unique collaboration – called “Kadimah Scholars at Park School” – brings together two well-established schools with a combined 160 years of history serving students in Western New York, each with a tradition of excellence.
The new partnership supports Kadimah’s mission through Park School, while expanding its reach to a broader segment of the regional population. It will also extend its classes through high school for the first time in its history, achieving a long-desired goal and providing a new opportunity for generations of future students.
It is not a merger of the schools but a relationship that transitions Kadimah Academy from a standalone bricks and mortar building to an education program and scholarship fund with classes, students, and teachers on the Park campus, while adding to Park’s curriculum and programming. Kadimah will exist separately as a fundraising and marketing organization to promote the program and Jewish education, while providing scholarships to participating students.
“This is an incredibly exciting collaboration for us,” said Jonathan D. Epstein, president of the Kadimah Academy Board of Trustees, and a parent at the Jewish day school in Amherst. “Not only does it allow us to maintain our tradition and mission through a great partner, but it will enable us to reach far more students and provide them with a Jewish education throughout high school. That’s something our community has long desired but never achieved. Moreover, it creates the new potential to inform a broader segment of the entire community about Judaism, Jewish traditions and Jewish culture, which will contribute to a better understanding for everyone.”
At the same time, the partnership furthers Park’s multicultural philosophy of encouraging diversity and bridging ethnic, racial, and religious divides by bringing such groups together under the Park tree. It also allows for the addition of Hebrew to Park’s world languages curriculum, broadening the scope of options available to the community.
Park Head of School Jeremy Besch said, “This is an exciting new partnership that furthers Park’s mission to encourage a global perspective and expose Park students to more friends from the wider world. Even better, our two communities share a strong belief in our core values of Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, and Kindness. This collaboration further enhances our shared ability to promote these important qualities.”
The leadership of both schools and the Federation believe this new relationship not only benefits both institutions but also Jewish Buffalo and the broader Western New York community. If successful, it could also position Buffalo as a model for small and mid-sized cities around the country. Based on their discussions with representatives of schools and Jewish communities nationwide, the new partnership may be the first of its kind.
“The Buffalo Jewish Federation embraces the dialogue between Park and Kadimah and the creating of this new model as a complete win-win. Not only does it provide a new home for Kadimah’s existing students, but it creates new opportunities for the Park community to engage more deeply with Jewish engagement and learning,” said Leslie Shuman Kramer, Federation President.
Under the plan, Park will hire teachers for Hebrew and Judaic Studies, with courses offered both during the regular school day and an after-school component. Additional after-school study time may also be available for further education for those families desiring more. The curriculum is now in development, in collaboration with Kadimah faculty and Jewish community leaders.
The new classes will be open to all students at Park. Those participating in the Kadimah program will also be offered supplemental time and space for Jewish religious prayer. Other enhancements or additional educational programming are also under consideration.
The partnership with Park covers grades K-12, and will have no impact on Kadimah’s separate pre-school partnership with Temple Beth Zion’s Play and Learn School, called PALS-Kadimah.
Kadimah will continue to operate as an independent organization, working with Park to raise money, award scholarships, engage the community and its alumni, market the partnership and recruit new students. The two schools are also working in conjunction with the Buffalo Jewish Federation, which provides funding to Kadimah.
Kadimah’s existing endowment and all funds previously donated to the school will remain intact and continue to grow for the benefit of Jewish day school education in Buffalo. The school’s leadership is grateful to all of its benefactors, especially Dr. Sol Messinger, for their continued support.
ABOUT KADIMAH ACADEMY
Founded in 1959 by leading community figures including Rabbi Isaac and Henriette Klein, Kadimah Academy is the only broad-based, community-wide Jewish day school in Western New York, providing a superior secular and Jewish education to students in preschool through 8th grade. The small school, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, features a warm and nurturing environment, with personal attention from skilled faculty and staff that supports each child’s personality and needs, and helps them to develop to their full potentials. For more information, visit www.kadimah.org.
ABOUT PARK SCHOOL OF BUFFALO
Founded in 1912, The Park School of Buffalo has the distinction of being one the oldest Progressive schools in the country. Park is an independent, co-educational school serving approximately 300 students from prekindergarten through Grade 12. Park is situated on 34 acres in Amherst, New York. The school’s campus – formerly a farm – includes a pond, marsh, gardens, and a greenhouse while being located just minutes from downtown Buffalo.
Park’s new Knopp-Hailpern Science Center will open in March 2019 providing a state-of-the-art facility for all sciences, with a particular focus on environmental education using the rich natural resources that surround the new $5 million facility. Park’s educational philosophy embraces active, student-centered learning, delivered by exceptional teachers who design and continuously update a robust curriculum. Faculty members approach each student as an individual within the context of a kind and respectful community. From the preschool years through college preparation, The Park School of Buffalo helps learners realize their own unique potentials and prepares them to be confident, successful, life-long learners. Visit www.theparkschool.org for more information.
ABOUT BUFFALO JEWISH FEDERATION
For over a century, the Buffalo Jewish Federation has been at the center of the Jewish community. We are the safety net that enables Jews to fulfill our obligations to take care of each other. Today, we are a vibrant hub of a community that celebrates Jewish life. With a deep commitment to strengthening our organizational and agency partners, creating space for innovation and experimentation, developing and growing sources of funding, and nurturing human capital, Federation inspires individuals to access Jewish tradition in powerful and transformative ways, rousing collective energy and collective action throughout our network of communities. The Buffalo Jewish Federation is all of us — each corner of Jewish Buffalo — working together to repair the world and ensure a thriving and connected 21st Century Jewish Buffalo.