Going strong since 1981
Milwaukee Jewish Day School was founded by visionary community members who understood the value of a school that welcomes children from all Jewish denominations and every economic background. Together, they planted the idea of growing a school where academic excellence and Jewish values prepare children for a lifetime of success, leadership and engagement with the world.
Rabbi Francis Barry Silberg formulates a plan for creating Milwaukee’s first pluralistic, community day school. Together, Rabbi Silberg, Rabbi Herbert Panitch at Congregation Beth Israel, Rabbi Ronald Shapiro of Congregation Shalom, benefactor Phil Rubenstein, Doris Shneidman, Ph.D., and 10 visionary families lay the foundation for MJDS’ first class.
On Jan. 28, 1987, staff, parents, community leaders and students parade with a Torah to the newly renovated Max and Mary Kohl Education Building. Excited students stream into the building to explore their new school, not fully aware of the dreams, commitment and hard work that had made this moment possible.
Annual budget grows to more than $3 million, transitioning MJDS from a pioneer start-up to an established institution. MJDS Chai Celebration held for the school’s 18-year anniversary. Larry & Jane Gellman pledged $1 million to the endowment. Founding Director Doris Shneidman retires. New directors Nancy Gorens-Edelman, Rabbi Philip Nadel and Marge Meyers begin planning for the next chapter of the school’s history. MJDS’ first annual Michael Kovnar Memorial Mitzvah Day sends all middle school students into the community to spend the day volunteering at area charities. Second staff trip to Israel takes place.
MJDS creates a non-profit, Voice of the Children, which is overseen by the seventh grade class. This educational and charitable organization raises money for and awareness of child welfare issues around the world. Using a multi-dimensional, experiential way of learning, our seventh grade classes research child welfare issues, create videos on various charities and raise funds to make a difference.
Rabbi Moishe Steigmann, class of 1990, is hired as director of Jewish life and learning and Rav Beit Hasefer (School Rabbi). First reunion for the first 15 graduating classes is held Thanksgiving weekend. Building Our Future Tuition Grant Program is funded by an anonymous local donor to make an MJDS education more accessible and affordable to current and new families.