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September 01, 1989 - Image 85

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Third Alternative



speck,/ to The Jewish News

or years Jewish
parents have had
to face the choice
of sending their
children to either a
secular school or a traditional
Jewish day school. At last,
there is a third alternative:
the Yavneh Academy,
Metropolitan Detroit's first
Reform Jewish day school,
which opens its doors this fall
at the Maple/Drake Jewish
Community Center.
Dr. Margaret S. Eichner,
headmaster of the new school,
says that the school's biggest
draw will be its teaching
"Our teachers are absolute-
ly fantastic," she says. "They
were hired at the end of May
and since then they have been
in here almost every day. The
, commitment and excitement
they're showing is
unbelievable. They've really
put themselves into it."
Five teachers have been
hired to date. Honey Frank,
who will teach kindergarten,
ran her own parent-toddler
program for 11 years and has
extensive public school
teaching experience. She has
reached hundreds of children
and believes that "one of the
most important goals of an
early elementary teacher is to
instill self-confidence in every
child," she says.
As a former day school
parent, first grade teacher
Kerri Litinsky knows the ex-

The Yavneh Academy, Metro Detroit's first
Reform Day School, opens its doors

perience can be an important
one for children. Dr. Eichner
calls her "one of the most en-
thusiastic and energetic peo-
ple I've worked with?'
Music teacher Collette
Rosner has almost four

Honey Frank

decades of teaching ex-
perience. Since 1950 she has
taught music privately, as
well as at Tbmple Beth El and
Mat Shalom Synagogue.
Suzanne Rubin comes to
the Yavneh Academy with
several years of elementary
teaching experience. With ex-
perience in both art and com-
puters, Rubin will be able to
teach both subjects.
Rounding out the teaching
staff is Julie Englender, a
Hebrew teacher with several
years of experience in foreign
language instruction.

Englender earned a teaching
degree in science education
from Hebrew University in
Jerusalem and will also serve
as the school's science
"This is an example of the
way we will integrate our cur-
riculum," says Dr. Eichner.
"One teacher will teach both
a secular subject and a Judaic
Rather than divide the day
into secular and Jewish
halves as is done in tradi-
tional Jewish day schools,
Yavneh will incorporate
Judaism throughout the day.
Hebrew will be used frequent-
ly within all classes as well as
being taught as a separate
"When we teach American
history, we will also teach
American Jewish history.
When we teach about In-
dependence Day, we will also
teach about Yom Ha'atzma'ut.
When we teach about
Thanksgiving, we'll teach
about Sukkot. We don't want
children to feel that they are
only Jewish for half a day,"
said Eichner.
Eichner said that the school
day will consist of three parts.
The main part of the day will
contain secular subjects inter-
woven with Judaic material,
the second part of the cur-
riculum will be up of Hebrew
language instruction, and the

third part will consist of a
series of enrichment courses.
The enrichment courses
will be taught once a day on
a rotating schedule. In addi-
tion to Rosner, who will teach
music, and Rubin, who will

Kerri Litinsky

teach art and computers, JCC
state certified physical educa-
tion instructors will be used
to teach physial education
and swimming.
"Because we are liberal
Jews, our philosophy is one of
informed choice," said
Eichner. "We will teach the
children about Kashrut,
Shabbat and the Holidays, so
that they will have the infor-
mation to make their own
decisions about observance.
We believe that all choices are
equal, as long as they are in-

It was initially hoped that
the school could begin with
three grades with an initial
enrollment of at least ten
students in each grade.
However, with only four
students signed up for
kindergarten and eight
registered for first grade, it
was decided to go ahead with
the opening.
Construction in the JCC's
Room 333, which will house
the school, is nearly com-
pleted. The 4500 square foot
space is being made into
three classrooms, offices, and
bathrooms. A space is also be-
ing retained for the future ex-
pansion of the school into the
second, third and fourth
Eichner said that several
factors went into the decision
to operate in the JCC.
"Very early on it was decid-
ed by the lay leadership that
it would not be held in a Tem-
ple. There was concern that
parents who were members at
one Temple would not want to
send their children to another
one. Since it was a communi-
ty school, we decided that it
should be on neutral ter-
ritory," she said.
Tuition for the school is set
at $4250, but according to
Eichner, this only covers
about two-thirds of the cost of
educating each student. The
remainder of the cost is being
made up by fundraisers and
by what Eichner described as
"a broad base of very
generous founders and
friends." ❑


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