Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania)

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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
272 S Bryn Mawr Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
United States
Coordinates 40°01′00″N 75°19′39″W / 40.016786°N 75.327536°W / 40.016786; -75.327536Coordinates: 40°01′00″N 75°19′39″W / 40.016786°N 75.327536°W / 40.016786; -75.327536
Type Private, Jewish day school
Religious affiliation(s) Jewish
Established 1946
Head of school Sharon P. Levin
Faculty 63
Grades 612
Enrollment 317 total
232 Upper School
85 Middle School
Student to teacher ratio 13:1
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Blue and White
Athletics conference Tri-County Independent School League (boys' sports)
Penn-Jersey Athletic Association (girls' sports)
Mascot Cougars

Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy is a self-proclaimed pluralistic Jewish Day School for grades 6 to 12, located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The Academy was founded in Center City, Philadelphia in 1946 as Akiba Hebrew Academy, and the name was changed in 2007. The Academy enrollment was 318 students during the 2007-2008 school year. The Head of School is Ms. Sharon P. Levine, and her predecessors include Dr. Steven Michael Brown, Rabbi Phillip Field, Rabbi Marc J. Rosenstein and Dr. Steven C. Lorch.[1]

Name Change[edit]

In February 2007, Akiba accepted a gift of $5 million from The Barrack Foundation, headed by Leonard and Lynne Barrack, and Akiba agreed to change its name to "Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy" in honor of Leonard Barrack's deceased brother. Leonard Barrack became president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia in September 2007.[2] The new name was inaugurated on September 10, 2007, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Radnor Campus in Bryn Mawr.[3]

Location change[edit]

In July 2007, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia announced the purchase of the campus of American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The American College site is 35 acres (140,000 m2) on Bryn Mawr Avenue in Radnor Township.[4] The school inaugurated the new building with a "Hanukat HaBayit" on September 14, 2008[5] at which U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak addressed the crowd.[6]


1996 Akiba Hebrew Academy Jubilee Logo

Akiba was founded in 1946 by Dr. Joseph Levitsky, and co-founded by Rabbi Simon Greenberg, Rabbi Elias Charry, and Dr. Leo L. Honor. The school first met at the YM & YWHA at Broad and Pine Streets in Center City, Philadelphia. The first class consisted of 20 boys and girls. After four years at the YM & YWHA, Akiba moved to the Har Zion Temple at 54th and Wynnefield Avenues, where it was located until 1958.[7]

In 1956, Akiba purchased a 5.3-acre (21,000 m2) property off North Highland Avenue in Merion Station, across City Line Avenue on the Main Line. The property had once been part of a large estate, "Ashdale". Ashdale had been built by William Simpson, a 19th-century insurance entrepreneur. After Simpson's death in 1909, his family broke up the estate, and the McMenamin family purchased a 5.3-acre (21,000 m2) section on which they built a mansion that they named "Drake Linden Hall". After Akiba purchased the mansion, the bedrooms were converted into classrooms.

In September 2008, Akiba sold the property to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for $4 million. At the time of sale, Drake Linden Hall measured 20,247 square feet (1,881.0 m2), including additions made in the mid-1970s, the gym and "new" classrooms building.[8] Kohelet Yeshiva High School purchased the mansion in 2010 and has since renovated it and the adjoining buildings.[9]

Notable alumni[edit]


Akiba men's sports teams (the Cougars) participate in the Tri-County Independent School League (TCISL). The girl's teams are members of TCISL as well as the Penn-Jersey Athletic Association.


  1. ^ "New Leadership at Barrack". 2011-07-01. 
  2. ^ David Robinson, "New location and name planned for Akiba Hebrew Academy" The Main Line Times, (Volume 77, No. 28, July 12, 2007 - July 18, 2007) page 10.
  3. ^ Michelle Mostovy-Eisenberg, "New Name Gets Inaugurated at Day School" The Jewish Exponent, September 13, 2007.
  4. ^ Richard Ilgenfritz, "Akiba to head to American College Site" The Main Line Times, (Volume 77, No. 28, July 12, 2007 - July 18, 2007) pages 1 and 2.
  5. ^ "Back to School at the New Barrack Academy". Jewish Exponent. 2008-09-11. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  6. ^ Dworkin, Jonathon (2008-09-14). "Congressman Sestak speaks at Dedication of Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy; Praises school for values it teaches". Joe Sestak. Archived from the original on September 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  7. ^ Klein, Esther M. (1965). A Guidebook to Jewish Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Jewish Times Institute. pp. 171 and 172. 
  8. ^ Natalie Kostelini, "Hebrew Academy is sold", Philadelphia Business Journal, September 19–25, 2008, volume 27, number 31, page 10.
  9. ^ Schwartzman, Bryan (2004-03-19). "Stern Hebrew High School Set to Occupy Former Akiba Building". Jewish Exponent. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  10. ^ Elkin, Michael (2009-09-03). "Stars of David". The Jewish Exponent. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 

External links[edit]