Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy
|Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy|
2400 Pine Tree Drive
|Type||Private High School, Yeshiva|
|Founder||Rabbi Alexander S. Gross|
|Color(s)||blue and white|
The Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy, is a coeducational, yeshiva and college preparatory, Zionistic, private, Modern Orthodox Jewish day school, located in Miami Beach, Florida. The school has been awarded a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
Rabbi Alexander S. Gross founded the school in 1947 and was instrumental in its development as the first Orthodox Jewish Day School south of Baltimore. The Hebrew Academy serves a diverse Jewish community that is reflective of South Florida.
Beginning with just six students in first grade, the Hebrew Academy has grown over the years to a student body of approximately 600 students. It provides education for children ranging from 6 weeks of age through grade 12. Students complete daily coursework in conversational Hebrew, the study of Chumash, Talmud, and Judaic history. In addition to a full Judaic curriculum, students are also receive instruction in college preparatory math, language arts, science, and social studies, with opportunities to participate in Advanced Placement and college level courses. Graduates of the Hebrew Academy subsequently attend universities and yeshivot worldwide. Hebrew Academy is the only religious, Zionistic, and college preparatory school in Miami-Dade County.
As members of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), students compete at the 2A level in organized sports against other private schools in girls and boys volleyball, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys soccer, girls and boys tennis, girls and boys flag football, and girls and boys cross country. There are clubs, shabbatonim, school field trips, and other activities that provide students with a full school life.
The Varsity Basketball program began under Coach Robert "Bob" King and Assistant Coach Jonathan Grossman in the 1981-1982 school year. The first basket in RASG Varsity history was scored in the St. Patrick's gym by freshman Rich Scharlat on a pass from senior Jay Schechter. Avi Littwin, Bernie Schuster, and Gil Neuman also played significant roles for the varsity that year.
In 2013, standout basketball player Ellis Greenstein, led the Warriors to a FHSAA JV Championship and received MVP honors for averaging 16.7 points a game and 5.9 assists per game. Fellow Players Nathan Miller, Mikey Shakib, and Caleb Katz, played large roles in helping the Warriors make it to the Big stage.
The Warrior Girls Varsity Basketball team has won District Championships for the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 years. Additionally, the Boys Varsity Basketball team won the Tier 2 Championship at Yeshiva University's Serachek Tournament in 2016.
Recently, Hebrew Academy Junior, Ben Tal, was named Underclassman of the Year and was placed on the 1st Team by All Jewish Hoops America. An Honorable Mention was also received by Junior, Jack Esformes.
Faculty at the Hebrew Academy are certified through the State of Florida and/or the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Early Childhood teachers must have at minimum a CDA. General Studies Faculty in grades K-12 must have a valid teaching credential through the State of Florida and at minimum a Bachelor of Arts degree although many also have a Masters and/or Doctorate degree. Judaic Studies teachers in grades K-12 must be certified through the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and at minimum a Bachelor of Arts degree although many have a Masters and/or Doctorate degree and/or Rabbinic ordination.
In 2008 Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Bruno A. Barreiro presented the "Key to the County" to several families and individuals who have made significant contributions to Rabbi Alexander S. Gross (RASG) Hebrew Academy. During the award it was also noted that the Hebrew Academy was "Launched in 1947, the RASG Hebrew Academy is the oldest Jewish Day School in the state of Florida...The presentation was part of the 60th Anniversary Diamond Dinner celebration where Sumner Redstone, the executive chairman of the Board for Viacom and CBS delivered the keynote speech and received a "Distinguished Visitor" recognition."
Several educators associated with the school have won notable awards: "Rabbi Chaim Benhamou of the Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy... a Bible, Talmud, Philosophy, and Art teacher for 9th – 12 grade students at the Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy on Miami Beach" won the 2007 Grinspoon-Steinhardt Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education sponsored by the Jewish Life Network of Michael Steinhardt.
Additionally, the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education recently announced the recipients of the 2016 Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz z"l Teacher Initiative Awards, which fund important, unbudgeted teacher-initiated classroom programs in local Jewish day schools. Six deserving recipients from Miami and Broward county Jewish day schools were chosen out of many submissions. Hebrew Academy Second Grade teacher, Mrs. Tammy Goldring, was named one of the recipients. Mrs. Goldring's project is to modernize her classroom learning environment to make it more functional for differentiated learning styles of students.
In the news
The school joined with other Jewish educators to seek solution for retaining Jewish teachers in specialized fields:
- Project Kavod, a three-year pilot program, is working with four Miami institutions: the David and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center; the Conservative Bet Shira Congregation; the Reform Temple Beth Sholom (Miami Beach, FL); and the Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy, whose student body is largely Orthodox. In addition, Project Kavod — the Hebrew word for "respect" — is working with the Miami-Dade Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.
An article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported the news about a group of twelve RASG students who went on a trip to the Galapagos Islands for Advanced Placement Biology students to get more connected with the natural world:
- ...Some students even snorkeled with sea lions, stingrays, starfish and whitetip reef sharks, which are considered the top predator of deep equatorial waters. The students even saw a dormant volcano with different types of rock formation that the lava had created when it erupted...The students and chaperons kept kosher while they were on the island. On the vessel the students had fresh fish and vegetables and were able to feast on food cooked from the kosher ship kitchen, including kosher pancakes."
- "Blue Ribbon Schools Program, Schools Recognized 1982-1983 Through 1999-2002" (PDF). Retrieved September 7, 2011.
- Miami Dade County: Chairman Bruno A. Barreiro presents "Key to the County" to members of Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy
- Miami Dade County: News Release, January 16, 2008 Archived September 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Grinspoon-Steinhardt Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education Archived 2006-08-13 at the Wayback Machine.
- CAJE Miami: Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education
- Florida Jewish News: South Florida Teachers Receive Grinspoon-Steinhardt Awards
- Chanan Tigay, 2005-08-26, Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Retaining Educators No Easy Assignment
- From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Sergio Carmona, February 26, 2008: Hebrew Academy students travel and learn