Friday, April 07, 2006

HAFTR & Rambam - Press Release

The following is a press release from HAFTR & Rambam - or as they'll know be known "Machon HaTorah"

The Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) and the Rambam Mesivta are pleased to announce that they have agreed to combine their educational resources and talents to form a unique educational partnership that will be called "Machon HaTorah – The Torah Institute". The goal of the Machon is to offer a broad range of outstanding high school educational opportunities for the New York Torah community. The Machon will begin its operations with the commencement of the 2006-07 academic year.

The Machon's program will initially have two divisions: A Rambam Division and a Yachad Division. The Rambam Division will be an advanced yeshiva program for boys that will be a continuation of Rambam's highly acclaimed yeshiva high school program and will be housed in Rambam's existing facility. The Yachad Division, housed at HAFTR High School, long recognized as one of the leading Modern Orthodox Yeshivot in the nation, will offer boys and girls a rigorous Limudei Kodesh and college preparatory program. The Machon expects to open an advanced yeshiva program for girls that will be located on a third campus.

The Machon's program will be based upon a core curriculum for Limudei Kodesh (Torah She'Bichtav – Chumash and Nach, in-depth Talmud study, Halakha and Hashkafa) and a superior college preparatory program. The Machon's Limudei Kodesh curriculum will be designed to imbue its students with a genuine appreciation of Torah values and an abiding commitment to a Torah-true life. It will emphasize the values of Ahavat Yisrael (caring for all Jews , Ahavat Eretz Yisrael (Religious Zionism), Yosher (personal integrity), Tzniut (personal modesty), Kavod HaBriyot (recognition of the fundamental human dignity in all persons) and Hakarat HaTov (showing appreciation to family, friends and country).

The Machon's college preparatory course will offer an unparalleled array of required, elective and advanced placement courses, and unique programs focused on developing study skills, special research programs in the sciences, literature and the arts, and top college placement resources. An emphasis on Hebrew language development and special courses on Jewish history and Zionism will also be hallmarks of the Machon. The Machon will also offer a diversified program of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, including team sports and competitions and activism on behalf of Jewish and democratic causes that will impart important educational and life lessons that are best conveyed outside of the typical classroom framework.

The Machon also intends to undertake certain major capital programs, including establishing a modern Beit Medrash facility to provide an accommodating setting and resources for both school and after-school learning programs by students as well as by the community at large. Construction of a new state-of- the-art student sports center will also be undertaken within close proximity to the Machon's various campuses. The sports center is targeted to be available to Machon students by the commencement of the 2008-09 academic year.

The Machon will be headed by Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman and Rabbi Yotav Eliach, who will serve as its Rosh HaYeshiva (Head of School) and Principal, respectively. Rabbi Friedman and Rabbi Eliach are currently the Dean and Principal, respectively, of Rambam, and have long-established reputations as premier Torah educators and Jewish leaders. HAFTR administrators, Mr. Stanley Blumenstein, Ms. Naomi Levenbrown, Aliza Kadosh, and Joan Parmett, and Rabbi Gedaliah Oppen, will continue to provide proven guidance and leadership at the Machon's Yachad Division.

The Machon will also be adding Rabbi Peretz Hochbaum to its professional staff. Rabbi Hochbaum, who is formerly the Dean of the Yavneh Academy in Paramus, New Jersey and Principal of HANC's school in Plainview, will be joining the Machon as Associate Principal and will focus on the Rambam Division. Rabbi Hochbaum lives in West Hempstead.

Rabbi David Leibtag, HAFTR's Educational Director, will serve as liaison between the Machon and HAFTR's lower and middle school divisions. "The goals and objectives that have been articulated by Rabbis Friedman and Eliach are consistent with our vision for HAFTR's elementary and middle schools," he says. "I look forward to collaborating with them to ensure the successful integration of our students into this new and challenging environment."

"We want our students to view Torah as a mission to the world, and to see themselves as the bearers of that mantle," says Rabbi Friedman "These Torah values are not just something that are studied on an intellectual basis in a classroom; they must be lived, in school, at home, with friends – everywhere. We view the Machon as a means to impart this message to our parents and student body alike."

Academic discipline and intellectual rigor will be hallmarks of the Machon. Both HAFTR and Rambam have outstanding academic track records, and the Machon will offer each school's students the best elements of the other's programs. For example, the Machon will offer a broader array of AP courses, elective courses, extra-curricular activities and clubs than either of the two schools could offer separately.

"We believe that Chinuch is a partnership between parents and educators that goes far beyond monitoring report cards and test scores," says Rabbi Eliach. "The partnership is about raising young men and women who believe and adhere to Torah values, and have a clear sense of their national history and identity. That's why we want our students to understand and appreciate the profound miracle represented by the re-establishment of the State of Israel."

Machon HaTorah's goal is to produce Torah observant, modern Orthodox Jews who integrate Torah study and values into their daily lives, future professions and community activities. The leaderships of the Hebrew Academy of Five Towns and Rockaway and the Rambam Mesivta look forward to sharing the sacred mission of educating the next generation of Jewish leaders in the exciting new collaboration known as Machon HaTorah.