Over the course of 40 years, the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island has had a number of different names and graduated more than 500 students. Currently, five local alumni have chosen to send their children to the school that they attended. Here are the stories of two of these “legacy families.” The children of Adam Sinel, Alexis Gladstone and Michael Furman also attend JCDSRI.
Rachel Alexander Levy (Class of 1987) and Jeff Levy
As told by Rachel Levy
My parents moved to Providence in 1977, when I was 4 years old. My mom, Sheila Alexander, looked at the elementary school options and then decided to create the Solomon Schechter Day School for me and other families that wanted a top-notch secular and Judaic education.
I feel so blessed to have been in the first class of the school, with wonderful educators and students who were passionate about working together. I felt empowered throughout my elementary school education to speak up for myself and get involved in being a change agent. These lessons have followed me throughout my lifetime.
Forty years later, my husband and I left Wisconsin and moved to Providence in 2017 with our 4-year-old daughter. There was no question in my mind that I wanted Miriam to attend the school that had shaped me.
My husband took the tour and was impressed with the curriculum that teaches respect for other children, sharing our toys and cooperating on a team. He loved the student-teacher ratio and the dedication of the teachers to each unique learner in the class.
Since he was new to Providence, he was especially eager to build a community and make new friends. Jewish Community Day School has provided both of us with an extended family that literally is helping raise our daughter each day – especially when we are out of town for work and need a friend to pick her up from school.
We were concerned about the price tag of a private school education, and we were thrilled to receive tuition assistance to make it affordable for our family.
Miriam comes home from school talking about her friends, her teachers and her love of Jewish traditions like lighting Shabbat candles. We are so happy to be one of the five legacy families currently enrolled at the school.
Shoshana (Class of 1998) and Josh Jacob
As told by Shoshana Jacob
My very first Zimriyah [JCDSRI’s annual song festival] was memorable for so many reasons. I have a vivid memory of sitting next to my best friend in the vestry eating pretzels while waiting to run into the Meeting House singing “Shiru” – all while wearing rubber-soled sneakers so we wouldn’t trip.
Zimriyah was always one of my favorite parts of the year – I loved the songs, the dances and the feeling of pure joy every year while singing “Shiru” and running into the Meeting House.
Fast forward to 2016, when my firstborn got to do the exact same thing in the exact same place! I had tears in my eyes (I do even now as I write this) as she came running in singing “Shiru.” This is just one example of what makes this school so special.
When our daughter was 4 and the Jewish Day School that was near where we lived (in Sharon, Massachusetts) closed, we had to decide what we were going to do about schooling for her. For me, day school was not negotiable, but my husband needed to be convinced.
We took a tour of JCDSRI, and he was blown away. I not only was blown away, but I was filled with nostalgia, seeing how many things changed but also how the most special things remained, like the paintings lining the stairwell and Vicki [Dziok] and Eileen [Ellis] still running the office.
We chose this school for its innovative curriculum and individualized attention to students. What we were not expecting was a community of families and friends who welcomed us from Sharon as if we had always been here. We were so happy not only with the school but the community we had created – and because of the school we decided to make the move to Providence.
Every day I feel lucky that both my children get to attend such an amazing school and that Josh and I have such an amazing group of friends.
At the end of this school year, I will be taking over as president of the Board of Trustees – and do so in the hopes of giving back to a school that has given so much to me and my family.
Details: On April 7 at 6 p.m., JCDSRI will celebrate its 40th anniversary at a gala which will be held at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center, in Providence.
For more information, please contact Alison Walter at email@example.com or 401-751-2470.