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News Archive

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Construction is officially underway! On January 16, 2022, we held our groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction of the JLA campus grounds. 

This site will house four educational buildings connected by a central courtyard, a three story parking garage, and outdoor athletic fields.

In attendance were Ms. Michelle Johnson from the Faith and Community Leadership Liaison Office of the Mayor Levine Cava, Mr. Jacob Solomon, CEO and President of the Miami Federation, Rabbi Yaakov Fellig, the director of Chabad of South Dade, as well as the school’s professional and lay leadership and representatives from its architectural and construction teams.

A presentation was held with remarks by the Head of School, Rabbi Dr. Gil Perl, co-founders Gisela and Daniel Ades, and Rabbi Fellig. When sharing his thoughts on the project, Rabbi Fellig stated that “JLA will be raising the bar for Jewish education, and this project will have an impact on all schools throughout Florida and far beyond. By investing in today’s children, you are also improving the lives of generations to come.” 

Held on the eve of Tu B’Shvat, this momentous occasion served as an opportunity for the children in attendance to plant two olive trees, a symbol of light for the Jewish people, as well as the national tree of the State of Israel.  A sofer, or traditional Torah scribe, was also on hand to begin writing a Torah scroll that will be housed in JLA’s beautiful Beit Midrash and read from by its students on a weekly basis.

“We are eager to see this space come to life and to watch our students walk our school hallways in the Fall of 2023” said Gisela Ades.

Once completed, JLA’s five acre campus will be home to 315 students and 70 faculty members and staff.

Partnership with AMHSI

As part of JLA’s commitment to educating Jewish leaders who feel a strong connection to our homeland and who are advocates for the State of Israel throughout their lives, we have partnered with the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, to provide an unforgettable life changing experience for our students.

Located in Hod Hasharon, a suburb of Tel Aviv, AMHSI is a college-prep study abroad program for high school students. A subsidiary of JNF, the Jewish National Fund, AMHSI welcomes students from all over the world and serves as a connection to Diaspora youth and Israel. The school opened in 1972 springing from an idea of teaching Jewish History in the place where it all happened, and has grown to now offer a variety of programs ranging from six week summer courses, to college credit classes.

As part of JLA’s August in Israel program, all JLA students in grades 8-12 will spend three to four weeks at the beginning of every school year on the AMHSI campus as part of an immersive Judaics and Hebrew program aimed at engaging students in the history and culture of Israel. Having Israel as the backdrop for their studies will provide critical context for understanding the Jewish people’s experience in their homeland, and in the Diaspora. Learning Jewish texts while simultaneously visiting the historical sites they reference, will bring the stories of our past to life in immeasurable ways.

Classes, which will be given by AMHSI’s talented faculty, will range from Tanach, Israeli History and Politics, Conversational Hebrew, and more. Students will also have opportunities for unique spiritual connection, whether it be on a Friday night at the Kotel, sunrise at Masada, or in the alleyways of Tzfat. Unlike more traditional Jewish Day School trips to Israel that generally happen for a few weeks at the end of 8th grade or as an optional semester abroad in 10th or 11th grade, JLA’s August in Israel program offers students the opportunity to build on each year’s experience by continuously diving deeper into their understanding and connection to the State of Israel in a way that mirrors their own cognitive, emotional, and religious development. JLA and AMHSI will be co-developing a unique scope and sequence of classroom and experiential learning that will make each year of the program completely distinct from the year before, yet a natural progression from the experience of the previous year. JLA and AMHSI are also exploring ways in which to maintain the connection between JLA students and AMHSI faculty after the students return to the US, by leveraging the opportunities afforded by distance learning. Delving into these courses intensively and experientially during a four week period in Israel also affords JLA students more time to explore other course work of interest throughout the school year.

In order to meet the objectives of JLA’s unique August in Israel program, AMHSI will collaborate with JLA’s Upper School leadership team to develop an entirely new and customized experiential Judaic and Hebrew curriculum for its students. Leading AMHSI’s team is newly appointed Head of School, Dr. Mark Shinar. Prior to joining AMHSI, Dr. Shinar, who received his MA from Columbia University’s Teachers College and his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Mills College in Oakland, served as the Head of School of Oakland Hebrew Day School and the Director of General Studies at SAR High School in Riverdale, NY.

Dr. Shinar predicts that the partnership between Alexander Muss High School in Israel – JNF and the Jewish Leadership Academy will have “a revolutionary and nuanced impact on 21st century Jewish education.” Not only will AMHSI provide JLA students an intensive and immersive Judaic and Hebrew language program, said Dr. Shinar, “but they will also have, year over year, a culture and community building experience that will shape their knowledge and their critical and creative thinking skills, and will also strengthen and solidify their overarching commitment to the State of Israel, its history and the narratives of its people.” His vision for the program is to use Israel as a “living classroom,” through which “AMHSI will help develop and foster within our JLA teens a passion for lifelong Jewish learning and leadership, giving them the tools and the confidence to impact their communities worldwide.”

In addition to the critical Jewish content they will learn, JLA’s August in Israel program will also teach students how to take responsibility for their personal well being, become stewards of their own education, and be more prepared for life on their own during their college years. The partnership with AMHSI, however, ensures that that growth will be done in a safe and secure environment replete with the physical and mental health resources our students will need to thrive.

JLA’s Head of School, Rabbi Dr. Gil Perl, noted that the August in Israel program serves an additional purpose of bonding students together and setting the tone for the year to come. “School today is so much more than the material one learns in a classroom,” said Rabbi Perl. “Schools provide our students with a sense of community, camaraderie, belonging, and purpose. The degree to which a student feels connected at school directly impacts their motivation and ability to learn. At JLA, we want to forge that sense of community right out of the gates each and every year and we believe there is no place better to do so than immersed in the values, history, and spirituality of the State of Israel.” In order to ensure that
the August in Israel program has its intended community-building effect, the cost of the program will be included in tuition, so that students benefiting from JLA’s indexed tuition model will be able to fully participate without any additional financial strain.

JLA’s August in Israel program is slated to begin in August of 2023, with JLA’s inaugural 9th and 10th grade. For more information email us at info@jlamiami.org.

Campus Expansion

Thanks to a generous contribution made by the Ades Family Foundation, JLA has recently acquired a fifth parcel of land, bringing the total contiguous campus acreage to nearly five acres. This expansion allows us to realize our vision of offering middle and upper school students world-class facilities that have a college campus feel.

Growing the school’s footprint most directly enhanced the JLA’s outdoor athletic facilities by allowing the school to build two lit tennis courts in addition to its practice soccer field, track, and outdoor basketball court. The campus’s outdoor sport facilities complement its indoor athletic center which consists of a gym with a basketball/volleyball court, as well as a weight room and locker rooms.

One of the core beliefs underlying the JLA educational experience is that for a student’s mind to be at its very best, his or her body must be at its best as well. Therefore, one of the many unique facets of the JLA curriculum is the time devoted daily to physical conditioning. During that time, students get to choose from more traditional sports like basketball and soccer, to less traditional forms of physical conditioning like martial arts, dance, and yoga. The expansion of JLA’s athletic facilities will enhance the school’s ability to offer these options and so much more.

For more information contact us at info@jlamiami.org

Join us at our Open House!

Sunday, October 30th

FIU Biscayne Bay Campus

9:30 a.m. – Session is Full

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