PETITION FOR COLLABORATIVE ACTION
Dr. Elliot Norry Mr. Jay Leberman Perelman Jewish Day School Mrs. Cecily Carel Mrs. Sharon Levin Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy WHEREAS: the undersigned parents, grandparents and community stakeholders are committed to providing to a Jewish day school education for our community’s children and grandchildren; WHEREAS: the undersigned desire to (1) ensure the financial stability of our Jewish day schools, (2) make Jewish day school more affordable for families of all economic circumstance; and (3) insure the continuity of Jewish day school through a unified solution encompassing one well-defined academic path from Kindergarten through Twelfth grade; WHEREAS: The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (“Barrack”) is a pluralistic Jewish day school for students in grades six through twelve from a broad variety of backgrounds. The school integrates a comprehensive and rigorous college preparatory curriculum with the teaching of essential Jewish and American values and texts. Barrack prepares future leaders of the American, Jewish and global communities who work for a better world through acts of justice and compassion. WHEREAS: The Perelman Jewish Day School (“Perelman”)’s mission is to develop confident, accomplished and compassionate graduates who have a sound understanding of their Jewish history and culture; Perelman embodies several core values: The centrality of modern Israel; Hebrew as a living language, devotion to the ideal of Klal Yisrael (shared community and destiny), the importance of studying Torah, the centrality of halakha (Jewish law), and the belief in God; Perelman is accredited by the Solomon Schechter Day School Association and endorsed by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism WHEREAS: Perelman appointed a special task force to explore options regarding its Saligman Middle School’s location, supporting Perelman’s mission, and ensuring a sustainable future; said task force has recommended to relocate the Saligman Middle School in September 2013 from its current location in Melrose Park to Wynnewood, less than five miles from Barrack’s campus in Bryn Mawr; WHEREAS: The Perelman Board of Directors has announced it will review the task force’s proposal and discuss the proposal with community stakeholders in advance of a formal vote by the Board expected this fall. WHEREAS: There are significant demographic challenges facing the Jewish day school movement within the greater Philadelphia Jewish community and, as such, the Saligman Middle School and Barrack often recruit students from within the same pool of potential families; WHEREAS: the undersigned believe the relocation of the Saligman Middle School to Wynnewood will intensify the competition between Perelman and Barrack; WHEREAS: the undersigned believe the competition between Perelman and Barrack is not in the best interest of Klal Yisrael and hinders efforts to prepare our children to be future leaders of the Jewish and global communities; WHEREAS: the Perelman and Barrack boards of directors have committed to a consultant-mediated discussion regarding synergies and opportunities for collaboration between the two institutions; WHEREAS: the undersigned believe these collaborative discussions represent a positive development which could ultimately lead to financial stability for both Perelman and Barrack, enhance the affordability of Jewish day school in the Philadelphia community; and provide for a unified K-12 Jewish day school system; WHEREAS: the undersigned believe neither the Perelman nor Barrack institutions should take any action which could undermine these collaborative discussions; THEREFORE: we, the undersigned parents, grandparents and community stakeholders, petition the Boards of Directors of Barrack & Perelman, as follows: 1) To commit all appropriate and available resources toward a successful outcome of these collaborative discussions; 2) To take seriously the undersigned’s’ desire to (1) ensure the financial stability of our Jewish day schools, (2) make Jewish day school more affordable for families of all economic circumstance, and (3) insure the continuity of Jewish day school through a unified solution encompassing one well-defined academic path from Kindergarten through Twelfth grade; 3) To delay any Board decision to relocate the Saligman middle school until the collaborative discussions have completed; and 4) To meet with parents, grandparents and community stakeholders at the conclusion of these collaborative discussions to present in an open forum the results of these collaborative discussions.