The commitment that is also an inspiring vision

This week, we bring readers’ attention to yet another initiative aimed at making Jewish education more affordable from another jurisdiction in North America. 

Three weeks ago the Del Mar Times, in California published a story about the progress of the initiative started last year at the San Diego Jewish Academy (SDJA) to bring more students into the school by drastically reducing tuitions for some grades. (A description of the school’s tuition initiative appeared in this space at the time.)

In reading about the SDJA program, GAJE followers will see ripples of the initiative launched by CHAT and Federation two years ago through the significant philanthropic intervention of the Neuberger/Jesin family. The Neuberger/Jesin effort has been successful here. Thus far, so too is the SDJA experiment.

The initiative in San Diego is called the Open Door program. It cuts tuition in half at San Diego Jewish Academy for kindergarten and 9th grade, and maintains that reduction for those students for four years.

According to the school “because of the high enrolment numbers following the program’s first year, SDJA is able to continue Open Door for 2020/2021 in kindergarten and 9th grade, advancing its vision to eventually offer half price tuition across all grades and removing cost as a barrier for a world-class private school education.

SDJA now has more than 600 students, including three kindergarten classes and more than 50 9th graders.

Head of San Diego Jewish Academy, Chaim Heller, spoke about the overall impact of the tuition initiative. “The success of Open Door is more than just numbers. A thriving school with more families means that we can offer different types of learning experiences, more opportunities for student social and emotional growth, and more extracurricular activities. We want to continue to welcome even more families who felt that San Diego Jewish Academy was beyond their reach.”

SDJA Board, Heidi Gantwerk elegantly described her feelings about day school affordability: “Making a Jewish day school education affordable for more families is a commitment we can all share and be a part of. It’s an inspiring vision to pursue and it’s why we hope that every family fortunate enough to be part of this thriving community gives back to the Open Door program as well.”

GAJE shares Gantwerk’s commitment. As does our community and its leadership.The full article is available at:


Shabbat Shalom

GAJE, December 6, 2019

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