Ten years ago, there were no day schools beyond a junior high for boys in the Phoenix area.
“It was a revolving door in Phoenix,” said Robin Meyerson, whose son graduated from Yeshiva High School of Arizona in June. “For many, many years, families just left in fourth or fifth or sixth grade.”
Rabbi Gavriel Goetz and Rabbi Yossie Semel founded Yeshiva High School to fill the gap in 2010. The school offers secular classes, including math, English, music and computer programming alongside classes in the Torah and Talmud.
On Wednesday, Jan. 8, the school will celebrate its 10th Anniversary Dinner at Chateau Luxe.
“Without it, the community wouldn’t be what it is right now,” said Dr. Mark Gotfried, a board member of Yeshiva High School for the last three years. “It’s given a lot of legitimacy to different Jewish institutions all over Phoenix, and I think Phoenix is becoming known as a place where all aspects of Jewish life can be celebrated.”
The anniversary reception will start at 6 p.m. The reception will feature guest speaker Rabbi Boruch Neuberger of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, Baltimore, Maryland, and four couples will be honored for their involvement with Yeshiva High School and in the Jewish community as a whole.
Charlie and Robin Meyerson will receive the Ahavas Torah V’Chesed Award. Robin Meyerson was on the board of the Jewish Tuition Organization in 2010 and convinced the JTO to approve a proposal from the yeshiva, which still receives scholarship money from the organization.
“We’re very honored by the award, because it’s a labor of love to give all those hours of volunteer time to the things that are important to you,” she said. “I love our Jewish community, and I thank God that he gave me the skill set and the time and the energy and the resources to be able to give to my community.”
She recalled planning for her son’s education and seeing only two options: Moving the family to another state with a Jewish high school, or staying in Arizona and sending her son to a boarding school after eighth grade.
“We thought, okay, what’s the third option?” Meyerson said. “The third option is that we stay in Arizona and build a school.”
Since her son attended the school, Meyerson is thrilled with the school they built for him and other boys like him.
“The quality of education is superb and the quality of the interaction between the students and the teachers is amazing. They become part of your family,” Meyerson said.
David and Laurie Segal will receive the Torah Visionary Award. David “has helped out from the beginning with his passion and his commitment to wanting to have a Yeshiva in our community,” Goetz said. “He actually involves himself with the kids and he gives guidance to myself and shares his experiences with Yeshiva.”
Mark and Tami Einhorn will receive the Hakoras Hatov Award for their years of work at the school. Tami Einhorn has worked at the yeshiva since it opened in 2010, and her husband, Mark, volunteered to teach computer programming at the school for years.
David and Julia Almoslino, who Goetz says were involved in the school before it even began, will receive the Community Service Award. The Almoslinos ensure that breakfast is available for the students every day.
While the school holds a celebration of learning each year, the 10th Anniversary Dinner will be a special event. The last major occasion the school celebrated was the first graduating class in 2014.
Today, the school has grown to teach 22 students, and moved into a newly renovated facility earlier this year. In addition to the high school program, the school also offers learning opportunities for adults and younger children.
“There’s a lot of excitement, and it’s not just the boys that are here,” Gotfried said. “There’s people of all ages that come in to the study, to use this space and further their goals in Jewish education.” JN