Following a tradition that dates back more than 2,000 years, the newly opened will conduct a “Chanukat Habayit” or dedication ceremony on Friday morning. The ritual originated with the construction of the first Temple in Jerusalem. Friday’s event brings together students at the new school, their parents, community and religious leaders.
The Rockland Jewish Academy (RJA) opened for classes on Tuesday and welcomed 65 students to its Pre K through fifth grade classes.
Lara Epstein, event co-chair, said there will be a ceremony with music and dancing as the RJA’s Torahs are brought in and mezuzahs are placed outside each classroom. Parents will write their special blessing for the school on a welcome board and students will create their own personal blessing that will be placed outside their classrooms.
Dr. Eliott Spiegel, headmaster of RJA and Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, and members of Rockland's Board of Rabbis will speak to the gathering. Rabbi Brian Leiken of Temple Beth Shalom in New City will perform music as three Torah scrolls are brought into the school and placed in their permanent ark. Local government officials are expected to attend.
The ceremony will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Rockland Jewish Community Campus in West Nyack.
RJA is an independent community Jewish day school and not affiliated with any particular denomination. It offers a full curriculum of general and Jewish studies. The Solomon Schechter School of Westchester oversees its academics. The Rockland Board of Rabbis supports the school and is involved with many aspects of its curriculum and programming. The Regents of the University of the State of New York granted RJA a provisional charter on June 20, 2012.