Ramaz School

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Ramaz School
ישיבת רמז
Ramaz logo.png
Established 1937
Type Private coeducational primary, middle, and secondary
Principal Rabbi Haskel Lookstein
Founder Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein
Students 957
Grades Nursery-12
Location 60 East 78th Street (upper school)
114-125 East 85th Street (lower school),
New York City, New York, United States
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, New York State Association of Independent Schools
Colors Blue and Gold
Mascot The Ramaz Ram
Yearbook 'Ramifications'
Newspaper The RamPage
Website ramaz.org

The Ramaz School is a coeducational, private Modern Orthodox Jewish prep school located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City.[1] It consists of a lower school (nursery-4th grade), a middle school (5th grade-8th grade), and an upper school (9th grade-12th grade).

The Ramaz Upper School is a college preparatory school. It is located on East 78th Street, seven city blocks (0.5 km) away from the other two school buildings, located on East 85th Street, and draws students from throughout Manhattan, as well as commuters from throughout the New York Tri-State Region. The school combines a broad academic curriculum taught in English with Judaic studies courses taught in Hebrew.

The school was founded in 1937 and is affiliated with Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun ("KJ"), a synagogue located on East 85th Street, which shares a building with the lower school and is across the street from the middle school. The congregation and its rabbi, Joseph Lookstein, helped to found and finance the school.

Architect James Rossant designed the modernist Upper School building, completed in 1981.[2]


Founded in 1937 by Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein through the generosity of New York lawyer and philanthropist Max J. Etra,[3] Ramaz takes its name from the initials of Rabbi Moses Zevulun Margolies, the grandfather-in-law of Lookstein.[4] The current principal, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, is the son of Joseph Lookstein and was a member of the first class of six students.[5]

Classes were held in many locations over the years, including the vestry rooms of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. After the closing of Finch College, Ramaz bought the college's campus and renovated the buildings.[6]

On November 30, 2007, The Wall Street Journal listed Ramaz as one of the top schools for graduates entering the top eight universities in the country, with 10 out of a class of 100 (class of 2007) going to these schools.[7]

In January 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ramaz lost $6 million in the collapse of the Bernard Madoff investment scheme.[8][9]

The Ramaz School had proposed a 28-story project to be built in place of the Lower School during 2008–2010. The building would have replaced the current school with a new building split into ten floors used by the school and topped by 18 floors of condominiums. Air rights of the adjoining synagogue would be transferred for use by the adjoining school/condo structure. The project may have had to be scaled back following a review by the City's Board of Standards & Appeals because the height is more than what is permitted at this site.[10] The plans were withdrawn by the school in July 2008.[11] However, due to a fire in the adjacent Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun building in July 2011, the Lower school began to undergo repairs and refurbishments for water damage. Since the building was not ready to welcome students that September, the Temple Emanu-El of New York and Park Avenue Synagogue volunteered their facilities for students until November 2011. On November 8, 2011, the Lower school reopened its doors.[12]


Rabbi Haskel Lookstein scaled back his role as Principal of the Ramaz School at the end of the 2005–2006 school year, but he remained the rabbi of the associated Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue. He appointed Judith Fagin, formerly the headmistress of the Middle School, as Head of the Ramaz School. At the end of the 2011–2012 school year, she passed on the role of Head of School to Mr. Paul Shaviv, who hails from Canada.

The Head of the Lower School is Rabbi Tavi Koslowe, the Head of the Middle School is Smadar Seinfeld, and the Dean of the Upper School is Ira Miller. Rabbi Shlomo Stochel is Associate Dean and Dr. Renee Koplon is Assistant Dean. Rabbi Kenneth Schiowitz is the Talmud Chair. Rabbi Joshua Bakst retired in 2003 and is currently the Dean, Emeritus.[13]


The Ramaz School's team name is the Ramaz Rams. Ramaz fields a number of competitive and recreational athletic teams throughout the school year, such as basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, hockey, track, soccer, tennis, and dance. In most cases, their teams are members of the Yeshiva High School Athletic League which represents many of the Jewish day schools throughout the New York metropolitan area. In addition, they play exhibition games against other schools both in the Jewish day school and non-Jewish private school communities.

Academic teams[edit]

Ramaz's academic teams include the Model Congress debate, College Bowl, chess, Torah Bowl, and Model United Nations, which compete solely against other Yeshiva high schools, and the mathematics, mock trial, and Model Congress, which compete against both public and private high schools. Ramaz Upper school students have also succeeded in numerous academic competitions in both the arts and sciences, including the 2004–2005 Siemens Westinghouse Competition[14] and the 2007 NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing.[15]


Ramaz's publications include:

  • Breakthrough - a science publication
  • El Ramillete - the Spanish student newspaper
  • Lambpage - the Middle School newspaper
  • Likrat Shabbat - the only weekly publication, devoted to Shabbat
  • MegaRAM - the technology student publication
  • Parallax - literary magazine
  • Ramblings - the current events newspaper
  • Rambunctions - Satirical Newspaper
  • Rambytes - the school's emailed newsletter
  • RaMedz - the school's Medical Journal
  • Ramifications - the school yearbook
  • RamPage - Student Paper
  • Rampost - The Political Affairs Newspaper
  • SFAC News - Student Faculty Administration Committee meeting minutes
  • La Gazette - the French student newspaper
  • The Sports Report - a sports publication
  • XeVeX - the mathematics magazine


In 2007, Joyce Villarin, a former nurse at the school, treated a child for an injury that he claimed his father caused. Villarin contacted the father who admitted to injuring his son. The Ramaz administration said to Villarin not to report this to secular authorities. Villarin did report this and was fired in 2008 because the school thought that she was "not a team player".

Villarin sued the school in Manhattan Supreme Court in 2009, arguing that the state’s Social Services Law obligated her to report the potential abuse. Under the law, school faculty is required to report to state authorities a suspicion that a child is being abused or mistreated.[16]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ramaz Mission and Legacy
  2. ^ Goldberger, Paul. "Architecture: A Bridge known as Ramaz School", The New York Times, June 4, 1981, accessed March 13, 2012
  3. ^ http://www.ramaz.org/public/mission2.cfm
  4. ^ Ramaz School Legacy, Ramaz School. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  5. ^ Gurock, Jeffrey S. (1989). Ramaz: School, Community, Scholarship, & Orthodoxy. Ktav. ISBN 0-88125-323-5. 
  6. ^ Goldberger, Paul. "A Bridge Known as Ramaz School.", The New York Times, June 4, 1981. Accessed July 16, 2008.
  7. ^ The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-COLLEGE0711-sort.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Private Schools Feel the Pinch Amid Recession, Wall Street Journal, 2009-01-26
  9. ^ "Wall St. Fraud Leaves Charities Reeling", New York Times, 2008-12-15
  10. ^ Beyer, Gregory. "Condos Above Classrooms Strike Some as an Odd Mix", The New York Times, November 11, 2007. Accessed January 8, 2008.
  11. ^ Snyder, Tamar. "Ramaz Pulls Plug On Condo Tower", New York Jewish Week, July 4, 2008. Accessed October 17, 2008.
  12. ^ "Lower School Building Reopening After KJ Fire", News from Ramaz, November 4, 2011. Accessed July 17, 2012.
  13. ^ Ramaz Contact Information
  14. ^ Siemens Foundation 2004–2005 Winners
  15. ^ NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing 2007-New York[dead link]
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "Hedge Manager Is Almost Famous". The New York Times. November 14, 2006. 
  18. ^ Damage to Diaspora ties, Jewish Living (Toronto), November 15, 2006. "Herzog calls his years at the prestigious Ramaz school 'the formative period of my life.'"
  19. ^ Biographies for "SELF-CONCEPTIONS: WOMEN, CREATIVITY AND JEWISH IDENTITY", YIVO, accessed January 2, 2007.[dead link]
  20. ^ .Kehilath Jeshurun Bulletin, Online, September 6, 2006. Accessed May 19, 2011. "Ursula Merkin...All of her children are alumni of Ramaz. Many of her grandchildren are either alumnae or current students in our school in which her son, Ezra, serves as Vice Chairman of the Board.."
  21. ^ http://www.bgc.bard.edu/programs/faculty/peter-n-miller.html
  22. ^ Heller, Jamie. "Mukasey’s Pedigree", The Wall Street Journal Online, Law Blog, September 17, 2007. Accessed September 17, 2007. "Mukasey graduated from Ramaz in 1959 and went on to Columbia College and Yale Law School."
  23. ^ Ramaz Alumni Living in Israel, Ramaz Website, Accessed May 3, 2012.
  24. ^ Century, Douglas "The Yemenite Madonna: Bronx-Raised Nini Becomes Pop Star Noa", The Forward, January 13, 1995. Accessed October 17, 2008.
  25. ^ http://www.harpersbazaar.com/editors/romy-oltuski
  26. ^ http://www.linkedin.com/pub/romy-oltuski/35/696/235
  27. ^ Cohen, Irwin. "Baseball Is Dull Only To Those With Dull Minds", The Jewish Press, February 7, 2007. "The best book you can get about Thomson’s homer, the 1951 season, the players, sign-stealing and more is Joshua Prager’s The Echoing Green. Prager, who grew up in New Jersey, went to Moriah Day School, Ramaz High School and spent a year in yeshiva after high school before going on to college and a writing career with The Wall Street Journal."
  28. ^ http://amoreconservativeunionadcampaign.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html
  29. ^ Cooper, Helene; Landler, Mark; Sanger, David E. (February 12, 2011). "In U.S. Signals to Egypt, Obama Straddled a Rift". The New York Times. 
  30. ^ U.S. Treasury - Biography of Adam J. Szubin - Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), accessed December 5, 2007
  31. ^ http://www.regents.nysed.gov/members/bios/tisch.html
  32. ^ The United States Mission to the OSCE: Office of Public Affairs - Tevi Troy, accessed December 25, 2006 Archived September 23, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ Prozac Nation, The Jewish Journal (Boston North), July 2, 2004.[dead link]

External links[edit]