D.C. Jewish day school gets new name as it begins renovation, expansion

Students at the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capitol celebrate the school’s new name with the school’s panda mascot and Head of School Naomi Reem. Photo by Miranda Chadwick.

The District of Columbia’s single Jewish day school has a new name, and soon it will have a newly renovated building.

The Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital was renamed the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital, according to a statement. The school marked the renaming on June 6 with a groundbreaking ceremony for the north campus building, which is scheduled to open in the 2018-2019 school year, the school’s 30th anniversary.

The north campus site is at the intersection of 16th Street and Military Road in Northwest Washington.

At the event, students, faculty and staff gathered in the school auditorium to watch the unveiling of the school’s new logo and colors of blue, white and green. They cheered and danced as the new logo was revealed on a T-shirt worn by the school’s panda mascot.


“It was incredibly exciting and joyful,” school spokeswoman Ronit Greenstein said.

Gottesman, a Washington lawyer, was one of the school’s largest donors, starting when it was founded in 1988. His family foundation has continued to donate to the school since his death in 2005, including about half of a $20 million gift to expand the north campus building to house a middle school.

“Milton’s quiet generosity, dedication to making a difference, and love for Judaism and Israel are qualities that will live on through his legacy at this school,” Head of School Naomi Reem said during the ceremony, noting his and his family’s years of dedication to the school.

Also among those who spoke at the event was Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who expressed excitement about the middle school addition.

“I am proud that this school will continue to provide high-quality education here in Washington, [now through] the seventh and eighth grades,” she said, according to the press release.

The other half of the $20 million gift came from Alfred Moses, formerly the U.S. ambassador to Romania. The middle school is being named for Moses.

Although the building will not open until 2018, the school will begin the middle school program in its current facility this fall. When the north campus building reopens next year, it will house grades 2 through 8 and include science and design labs and new athletic facilities such as a full-size gym and rooftop field.

“This is just part of the evolution of the school but we’re really creating more opportunities,” Greenstein said

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