What’s Nu at School?


Maimonides Jewish Day School

Maimonides expands child-centered campus Maimonides Jewish Day School will begin the school year Aug. 28 with a newly expanded and renovated building. The Lokshin Pavilion of Jewish Learning includes more than 3,000 square feet with room for four classrooms that can open together for large assemblies, an office, and a small library and sitting area in the large entryway. The building is named in honor of Rabbi Moshe Wilhelm’s grandmother, Bluma Lokshin, who died at age 103 with more than 4,500 descendants. “We believe every child is an olam molei, a complete world, and each makes the world a better place, so look at the impact she made on the world,” says MJDS Director Devora Wilhelm of her late grandmother-in-law. She says that the potential of each child informs the primary school’s guiding principle of treating each child as a unique and valuable individual who is an active participant in his or her own learning. “As they plan lessons, we ask teachers to consider ‘How is this activity supporting each child’s development across the cognitive, social, emotional, physical and spiritual domains?’ ” MJDS enrolls a diverse student body in the primary grades.

Maimonides Jewish Day School: 503-977-7850 | maimonidesjds.org



Maayan Torah Day School of Portland

Maayan Torah expands to middle school Just two years after opening with a preschool class, Maayan Torah Day School will open its doors this fall to 50 children from 2 years through middle school. Classes meet at 2900 SW Peaceful Lane, Portland. Maayan Principal Aviel Brodkin notes, “The positive response from across the entire Jewish community for this kind of engaging and Jewishly rich education has been overwhelming.”

Maayan prides itself on providing an environment rich in Jewish values that inspires children to love being Jewish. Excellence in education is the core focus at Maayan. As part of this mission, Maayan is under way in its process to receive its accreditation with the regional accrediting agency NWAC (Northwest Accreditation Commission). Surveys from staff, parents and students were generated, and the administration was thrilled to see the results. Kids responded 100% “I love being Jewish!”

New for fall, Maayan has hired Tara McDaniel as the general studies coordinator. She is an educator with 22 years’ experience teaching elementary education, specifically gifted and talented students. Brodkin says McDaniel is a major asset to the administrative staff.

Maayan Torah Day School of Portland: 503-245-5568 | portlandjewishdayschool.org


Portland Jewish Academy

More science and technology at Portland Jewish academy. This summer, Portland Jewish Academy’s lower school teachers went back to school at … PJA! Working with Sara Morton, PJA Middle School science instructor, teachers discussed, practiced and learned various ways to incorporate scientific thinking, experimentation and tools to expand on their current science curriculum.


Meanwhile, PJA increases student access to technology. In addition to our computer lab, we now have iMac laptop carts that will be used by 4th – 8th grades, more projectors for use in both the middle and lower school, including kindergarten, and new SMART boards for a couple of our classrooms. In addition we have added six more iPads to support learning in the lower school. Eleven day school teachers are taking part in an online digital learning class led by Sarah Blattner of Tamritz, which runs throughout the summer and will help teachers continue to integrate technology into their already rich units of study. PJA welcomes our new Technology Integration Specialist Matt Rosenberg. Matt was the digital teacher leader (as well as a history teacher and lacrosse coach) at La Jolla High School for nine years.

Portland Jewish Academy: 503-244-0126 | pjaproud.org



Foundation School

Foundation School has new director, new hours The Neveh Shalom Foundation School will begin the school year with options for longer days under new Director of Early Childhood Services Leah Conley. The Foundation School offers meaningful, developmentally appropriate, play-based early childhood education based on Jewish values and beliefs for children ages 2 to 5 years. “Our qualified and warm teachers encourage the social, emotional, physical and spiritual development of our students in a dynamic environment by nurturing the creativity, curiosity and character of our students,” says Conley. The school hours will include early care and afternoon care options that extend the day from 8 am to 6 pm with two-, three- and five-day-a-week choices.

Previously Conley was the principal of a large synagogue school in Chicago, IL. She earned her Master’s Degree from the university of Chicago Divinity School, and her Bachelor of Arts from UCLA. Leah is originally from Los Angeles, but has also lived in Osaka, Japan, where she and her husband, Josh, taught English, and Las Vegas, Nevada, where she worked for the Jewish federation. She has two children, Elliot and Amelia.

Foundation School: 503-293-7307 | nevehshalom.org



The Gan – Portland Jewish Preschool

Portland’s Gan designs naturescape educational experts and one of Portland’s finest landscape architects are partnering to design a natural playground and “naturescape” at The Gan – Portland Jewish Preschool.

“The Gan is a joyful Jewish environment which inspires curiosity, creativity and compassion in children. Our curriculum is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, which stresses using the environment as a third teacher. The natural play area will provide children with the opportunity to explore, experiment and discover outside of the traditional classroom, thus forming independent and inquisitive learners,” says Gan Director Mimi Wilhelm.

“The Gan has found a harmonious way to incorporate the environmental, creative, scientific and social elements our son needs to grow, all within a safe and nurturing environment,” says Gan parent Daria Martinez.

The Gan, which welcomes a diverse group of children ages 18 months to 5 years, also runs a Mommy & Me program for newborns through 2-year-olds in collaboration with PJ Library.

The Gan – Portland Jewish Preschool: 503-977-7850 | PortlandJewishPreschool.com



Gan Neve Shalom/Ashland

Ashland’s Gan Neve Shalom gets spinning wheel Gan Neve Shalom (Peace Garden) is an intimate preschool and kindergarten that blends the beauty, spirit and tradition of Judaism with the Waldorf- inspired philosophy of early childhood education. The school recently acquired a spinning wheel, and the children are learning to spin wool.

Located at Havurah Shir Hadash in Ashland, the school integrates universal values into the children’s everyday experience.

The children are infused with spirit and learn gratitude, kindness and other Jewish values on a daily basis. Morning activities include baking, cooking, watercolor painting, arts & crafts, music and movement circles, storytelling, organic gardening, felting, spinning wool and creative play.

Each year the program serves children from families with diverse spiritual and cultural backgrounds. In this rich community, each child’s uniqueness is honored and valued, and as they learn to relate to each other and mother earth in harmony, they become the peacemakers of the future.

Gan Neve Shalom/Ashland: 541-488-8887 | leahavital1318@gmail.com



Pomegranate Preschool for the Arts 

Students at the Pomegranate Preschool for the Arts are excited about the installation of a keyhole garden, thanks to a grant from Jackson County Master Gardeners. Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland is the home of the Pomegranate Preschool for the Arts, an arts-centered Jewish preschool.

Art, music and creative dramatics are offered each day at Pomegranate. The art program includes Intergenerational Art Days, which features students pairing up with older congregants to create artwork based on a Jewish artist. Cantor Bella Feldman teaches the music program, which is derived from the Music Together program and also from Jewish Repertoire. The creative dramatics program is inspired by the students. Short scripts are developed with the children and are performed twice a year. Each friday, Rabbi Joshua Boettiger joins the preschoolers for Shabbat.

Eighteen students from ages 3 to 5 are enrolled at Pomegranate. School is in session Mondays through fridays from 9 am until 12:45 pm. Parents choose the days their children attend. The teacher-to-student ratio is 1:4. Robin Heald is the founding director.

Pomegranate Preschool for the Arts at Temple Emek Shalom (Ashland) 541-488-2909| emekshalom.org



Gan-Garrett Jewish Preschool

Gan-Garret Jewish Preschool expands indoor play area. Along with the renovations at the expanded Chabad Jewish Center in Vancouver, WA, in time for fall, the Gan-Garrett Jewish Preschool will enjoy a renovated indoor play area. Since much of our winter weather keeps us under a roof, The Gan in Vancouver has added more sensory activities as well as gross motor attractions in its new indoor play area. Preschoolers can enjoy this tire pit and the climbing loft above it.

Also, new for the fall, The Gan in Vancouver will be starting up its Music & Movement, Mommy & Me for infants, toddlers and their moms.

Gan-Garrett Jewish Preschool: 360-256-0859 | thegan.org

Print Friendly, PDF & Email