AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — A new era of education is dawning in western new york, with a unique, new partnership announced Monday by Kadimah Academy and Park School of Buffalo.
A new collaboration, called, "Kadimah Scholars at Park School" will now unite the two local private schools. The new partnership will introduce Hebrew language and Judaic studies courses beginning in September 2019. According to Jonathan Epstein, Board President of Kadimah Academy and a parent at the Jewish day school in Amherst, an estimated 25 students are expected to make the transition, with additional families expressing interest.
Epstein tells 7 Eyewitness News, this is not a merger, but a partnership to benefit both institutions. Kadimah has seen a steady decline in enrollment since its height in the 1980's and was facing potential closure. School leaders hope this new union will ensure there is a continued environment for families wanting a Jewish education for their children. This partnership will also extend Kadimah's Jewish-based studies through high school for first time in its history.
“This is an incredibly exciting collaboration for us,” said Epstein, “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.”
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.”
Under this new plan, Park will hire teachers for both Hebrew and Judaic Studies, with courses offered during the regular school day and after-school. The curriculum is currently being developed, 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 given additional time and space for Jewish religious prayer.
It's important to note, Kadimah's partnership with Park covers grades K-12 and will have no impact on it's separate pre-school program with Temple Beth Zion.
According to Epstein, Kadimah will continue to operate as an independent organization with Park to raise money and award scholarships.