by Talya Hyman
The Bess and Paul Sigel Hebrew Academy of Greater Hartford and the Hebrew High School of New England (HHNE) have officially merged as the New England Jewish Academy (NEJA). NEJA opens its doors as a co-educational preschool-12th grade Orthodox day school, withholding the two schools’ tradition of catering to students throughout Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.
NEJA is located at 300 Bloomfield Avenue-- which was previously the site of the HHNE campus-- in West Hartford. Additional construction is underway to ensure for the accommodation and necessary individualized space of all students in the lower, middle, and upper school divisions.
Dr. Joshua Levisohn, who has held the position of Merger Director for the past year, has taken on the role of Head of School for the 2019-2020 academic year until a more long-term Head is selected. “Seeing the profound effect that Jewish education has on individual children, their families and the community is my passion and I feel privileged to work with so many other dedicated professionals and volunteers to help put NEJA on the path towards long-term success,” Dr. Levisohn was quoted saying on the Day School merger Facebook page about his continued involvement.
This confidence in NEJA’s long-term success is being supported through the generosity of Ann and Jeremy Pava, longtime community visionaries and leaders. The Pavas are offering all NEJA students with a tuition subsidy, ranging from $5,000 to $12,000 per year, depending on grade level. The Pava’s gift will help make Jewish day school education affordable for current NEJA families, and accessible to encourage new families to enroll their children in the newly joint Day School.
The merger maintains the goal of ensuring the longevity of Jewish education throughout our broader community by embedding core values and religious teachings in the minds and hearts of students. With academic and religious tools in hand, NEJA students will become well-equipped to live rich lives as knowledgeable, moral individuals seeking to make a kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name) in all areas of their lives.
The Hebrew Academy, founded in 1940, and HHNE, co-founded by New Haven community members in 1996, have long been fundamental assets and strong pillars of Judaic and General Studies educational excellence within the broader Jewish community.
“HHNE and the Hebrew Academy are looking forward to the next chapter in their history as the New England Jewish Academy...that will help ensure the growth and vitality of the Jewish community in the area,” a merger committee statement explained of their confidence in the school’s future. “We look forward to celebrating the continued legacy of the two schools as well as new beginnings of the newly merged NEJA.”
The New England Jewish Academy is supported in part by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.