Epstein Hebrew Academy
|Epstein Hebrew Academy|
|Religious affiliation(s)||Orthodox Judaism|
|Principal||Rabbi Yakov Green|
|Campus||Israel and Yetra Goldberg Educational Campus|
H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy is a Jewish day school in Olivette, Missouri. It was established in 1943 and was the first Jewish day school in St. Louis. The school is named for the first chief rabbi of the Orthodox Jewish community of St. Louis, Rabbi Hayim Fischel Epstein (1874–1942). It has been given the nickname EHA, an abbreviation of its full name.
The school is housed on the six-acre Israel and Yetra Goldberg Educational Campus and includes classrooms, two playgrounds, a gymnasium, cafeteria, library and Beit Midrash.
The H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy, established in 1943, was the first Jewish day school in St. Louis. The school is named for the first chief rabbi of the Orthodox Jewish community of St. Louis, Rabbi Hayim Fischel Epstein (1874–1942).
Until the establishment of the school, Jewish education in St. Louis had been provided by a system of Talmudei Torah. These schools were administered by the “United Hebrew Schools” organization, later reorganized as the “Associated Hebrew Schools of St. Louis”, under the leadership of Harry Yawitz. In 1922, there were four Orthodox Talmudei Torah in St. Louis providing for the Jewish educational needs of the community. By 1939, there were fourteen of these schools, located mostly on the premises of various synagogues. In 1943, Yawitz was one of the founders and supporters of the H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy, which consolidated the Talmudei Torah into the first Orthodox Jewish day school in St. Louis.
At first, the school did not have a dedicated school building. Classes were held in various locations including homes, synagogue classrooms and other school buildings. In 1960, the construction of the building in Olivette was completed and became the permanent location of the EHA.
Curriculum and activities
The school defines itself as a child-centered Orthodox Jewish day school, dedicated to educating Jewish children in Torah and general studies, developing love for Israel and the Jewish people, teaching critical thinking and reasoning, excelling in all the academic disciplines and instilling good character (middot) and values of caring for others (chesed).
The school is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) and is associated with the Torah U’Mesorah (National Association of Hebrew Day Schools) network of schools and Yeshiva University’s Institute for University School Partnership.
The school is overseen by an elected Board of Directors. The parent organization, Friends of the Hebrew Academy raises funds and holds educational and other events for the school.
The school follows a dual curriculum of Judaic studies, including Hebrew language, and general studies. The general studies curriculum generally complies with the requirements of the Missouri Department of Education.
After-school activities that are offered include art, sports and drama.
Rabbi Yakov Green is the current head of the school. He has held this position since August 2014.
Former heads of school include:
- Rabbi Avi Greene, Ed.D (2010 – 2014)
- Rabbi Shmuel Kay (2005 – 2010)
- Rabbi Joshua Einzig (1998 – 2005)
- Rabbi David Leibtag (1990 – 1998)
- Rabbi Dr. Joseph Rischall (1978 – 1990)
- Rabbi Donald Patchen
- Rabbi Chaim Hollander
- Rabbi Abraham Kellner
- "H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy". St. Louis Jewish Light. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- Cohn, Robert A. (2007). "Saint Louis". Encyclopaedia Judaica (2nd ed.). Thomson Gale.
- Ehrlich, Walter (2002). Zion in the Valley: The Jewish Community of St. Louis: The Twentieth Century. Vol. II. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press. p. 116. ISBN 0-8262-1414-2.
- "About EHA". Epstein Hebrew Academy. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- "Epstein Hebrew Academy announces new head of school". St. Louis Jewish Light. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014.