The Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital dedicated the new South Campus building last Friday in a short ceremony for parents and community members.
The sounds of children talking served as an appropriate counterpoint to the school and community leaders, who spoke to the packed room about the importance of the new campus for the expanding school. Children also led singing in the Israeli and American national anthems and other songs at the beginning and end of the event, followed by the placement and blessing of the mezuzah on the door of the building.
The “campus” mainly consists of a large house, formerly the home of Paul and Annetta Himmelfarb, whose grandson Frank talked a little bit about the history of the mansion and how it came into the school’s use, a path led in part through Frank’s son Steve, who serves on the JPDS-NC board and has a child in the school.
Other speakers included JPDS-NC board president Greg Shron, head of school Naomi Reem, Steve Rakitt, CEO and executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Muriel Bowser, the Ward 4 D.C. council member whose jurisdiction includes both the original campus and the new one. Praised as the “political muscle” necessary to get things done in the District, she spoke about how impressive the commitment to education shown by the community was, and her pride in helping make it all possible.
It took two years to plan and a summer to renovate and build the campus, which officially opened for classes in August. The campaign to expand the school spent around $5 million buying, renovating and otherwise making the campus a reality.
More than 300 students now attend the school. Along with the new building, a playground, including an outdoor learning space, is under construction outside the house.