fbpx
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

First Graduating Class For Spivak Center

Enjoying this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

This June, the KeHILLAT mogen David Spivak Educational Center (KMDSEC) in the Pico-Robertson area will graduate its first fifth-grade class. The Orthodox Jewish Day School, created by Head of School Cecelie Wizenfeld and Academic Director/Principal Rabbi Gabe Elias, opened its doors as a preschool in September 2009. 

“We opened up with 13 kids and two teachers,” Wizenfeld, who has more than 30 years’ experience in early childhood education, told the Journal. The school, which teaches both secular and Judaic studies, had 30 students at the end of the first year, and 45 by the end of the second. “When we got to the point where the kids would potentially go on to a day school, the parents didn’t want to leave,” she said.

“The school was so warm and friendly, both student-wise and parent-wise, that the alternative of going and changing to a different school didn’t sit well,” Elias, the former senior rabbi and executive director at Mogen David, added. “They asked us to start an elementary school.”

 “We looked at each other and we were like, ‘Let’s do it,’” Wizenfeld said. 

SEC was named two years ago in honor of the school’s original donor — Al Spivak — who died a few months after the school changed its name. The building, which is next door to, but no longer affiliated with Congregation Mogen David, has an indoor courtyard and yard, graas well as three preschool and six elementary school classrooms.  

SEC is currently building resource and social skills programs to enhance its academics, as well as a “Parent and Me” program, and hopes to start adding middle-school grades in fall 2020. 

Mindful of the cost of a Jewish education, Wizenfeld and Elias keep their overhead — and as a result, their tuition — low. Among her duties, Wizenfeld deals with the finances and legal operations, and a total staff of 30 ensures the school runs smoothly for its 130 students. 

 “Our tuition is half the price, if not less than that of any other institution,” Elias said. “Whether it’s Orthodox, Conservative or Reform, we offer an education to everybody.” 

“I think our school is special because we’re all about the kids,” Wizenfeld said. “We aspire to bring in midot (respect, morals, and values) and mitzvot into everything we do.”

Quoting from Mishlei 22:6 Elias said, “Chanoch Le’naar Al Pi Darko,” (educate every child according to the needs of that child). “Every child is special.”

“We want the kids to have as much experiential learning as possible. Not just book and paper, [we want them] to get their hands dirty, to feel it, to live it, to become part of what they’re doing.”  — Cecelie Wizenfeld

One program the school teaches is Ivrit B’Ivrit — Hebrew in Hebrew, where students read poetry and books and converse in Hebrew. “Our model is to chart and emulate some of the Israeli programs, so when the kids leave us, they will be conversing in Hebrew very well,” Elias said.

The school has also been praised for its Israeli, kibbutz-like feel. 

“You literally walk into a garden,” Wizenfeld said. “We’re not just four walls, kids-sitting-at-a-desk classrooms. They come outside of their rooms to branch out a little bit. We want the kids to have as much experiential learning as possible. Not just book and paper, [we want them] to get their hands dirty, to feel it, to live it, to become part of what they’re doing.”

“The kids always seem happy to come to school,” Elias said. “It’s an environment of enjoyment.”

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

The Rise of Anti-Americanism Is Bad for the Jews

A hatred bigger than anti-Semitism has sneaked up on us. It’s anti-Americanism.

Why Is Anti-Semitism So Easy to Forgive?

Anti-Semitism appears to be the one bigotry immune to cancellation.

Howard Dean Says ‘AJC Gets No Points’ for Hiring Christian as Director of Combating Anti-Semitism

Former Democratic National Committee (DNC) head and former presidential candidate Howard Dean tweeted on July 11 that the American Jewish Committee “gets no points”...

NY Orthodox Jewish Man Assaulted, Subjected to Anti-Semitic Slurs

A 51-year-old Orthodox Jewish man in Brooklyn reportedly was assaulted and subjected to anti-Semitic slurs as he was walking home on July 12. The Algemeiner...

Newsom Announces Shutdown of Indoor Operations in Restaurants, Bars and Other Businesses

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on July 13 that indoor operations of various businesses statewide, including restaurants, are going to be shut down for...

Make a DIY Face Shield Out of Plastic Soda Bottles

The growing demand for face shields can make them quite pricey. The good news is you can make your own!

Home Shalom Monday Message #16

Home Shalom promotes healthy relationships and facilitates the creation of judgement free, safe spaces in the Jewish community. Home Shalom is a program of...

Pandemic Times Episode 69: What does the rise of Anti-Americanism mean for the Jews?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Monday and Friday. Reflections on the connection between Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism. How do we manage our lives during the coronavirus crisis?...

Culture

Make a DIY Face Shield Out of Plastic Soda Bottles

The growing demand for face shields can make them quite pricey. The good news is you can make your own!

A Change in Leadership and Ambitious Expansion Plans Impacts the Los Angeles Jewish Home

“We operate now 14 different programs in residence and in the community."

Actor Nick Cannon Says Zionists, Rothschilds Have ‘Too Much Power,’ Praises Farrakhan

Actor Nick Cannon currently is under fire for espousing comments that have been criticized as anti-Semitic, including that Zionists and Rothschilds have “too much...

Virtual Jewish Food Course Offers ‘A Seat at the Table’

Featuring the expertise of noted chefs, cookbook authors, scholars and restaurateurs, it’s a comprehensive guide to the Ashkenazi cuisine.

‘The Violin Players:’ A Jewish Girl’s High School Introduction to Anti-Semitism

The following article is a sponsored feature. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to travel the country to speak to audiences of all ages....

Latest Articles
Latest

The Rise of Anti-Americanism Is Bad for the Jews

A hatred bigger than anti-Semitism has sneaked up on us. It’s anti-Americanism.

Why Is Anti-Semitism So Easy to Forgive?

Anti-Semitism appears to be the one bigotry immune to cancellation.

Howard Dean Says ‘AJC Gets No Points’ for Hiring Christian as Director of Combating Anti-Semitism

Former Democratic National Committee (DNC) head and former presidential candidate Howard Dean tweeted on July 11 that the American Jewish Committee “gets no points”...

NY Orthodox Jewish Man Assaulted, Subjected to Anti-Semitic Slurs

A 51-year-old Orthodox Jewish man in Brooklyn reportedly was assaulted and subjected to anti-Semitic slurs as he was walking home on July 12. The Algemeiner...

Newsom Announces Shutdown of Indoor Operations in Restaurants, Bars and Other Businesses

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on July 13 that indoor operations of various businesses statewide, including restaurants, are going to be shut down for...

Hollywood

Roy Moore’s Lawsuit Against Sacha Baron Cohen Over Being Pranked Can Proceed, Judge Rules

By the time the episode aired, it was widely known that Cohen was punking public figures.

‘Expecting Amy’ Highlights a New Comedy Dynamic of Jewish Mothers Making, Not Being, the Jokes

Jewish moms like Amy Schumer, who were once the material, have become the premier comics of this age.

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 69: What does the rise of Anti-Americanism mean for the Jews?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Monday and Friday. Reflections on the connection between Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism. How do we manage our lives during the coronavirus crisis?...

What’d We Miss?

In our 18th episode (Chai!), we're in the Zoom where it happens with our first episode since May. We're recommitting to thoughtful conversations on representation;...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x