2017-06-07 / Home

Benchmarks met, agreement between Federation & KBA moves forward

By DAVID PORTNOE Voice Editor

The Jewish Federation and Kellman Brown Academy are going forward with their plan for the Federation to provide expertise to help the school remain financially solvent and vibrant going into the future. The announcement was made at the Federation’s May 25 Board meeting by Jewish Federation President Glenn Fuhrman. He told the Federation Board that all the necessary benchmarks had been met prior to the June 1 deadline.

“There has been tremendous hard work, effort, and collaboration to get us to where we are tonight,” said Fuhrman at the Federation Board meeting, which was held at Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill. He said that the school’s finances had reached the necessary point through the generosity of a donor, a contribution by the Saltzman Foundation, and the success of KBA’s recent Tribute Dinner. The agreement to go forward was signed prior to the May 25 Board meeting. “We are committed to make this work,” said Fuhrman.

Susan Levine, KBA Board president, thanked the Federation Board for its vote of confidence. In an interview with the Voice, she said that the KBA community is looking forward to benefitting from the knowledge, expertise and relationships that Federation brings to KBA. She said that the tremendous work Federation did on behalf of KBA’s Tribute Dinner is an example of how the relationship can work. “The staffing assistance and support helped us have one of the most successful Tribute Dinners we’ve had in recent memory,” she said.

“We worked together so well. We are totally grateful for the Federation’s support. It puts us on a more solid footing for the future and positions us for future stability,” said Levine.

Levine added that the connection with Federation would help KBA be an even stronger contributor and resource to the health and stability of the Jewish community of Southern New Jersey. She pointed out that the recent POP Study for the community showed that day schools in Southern New Jersey have widespread support.

At the Federation Board meeting, two KBA parents, Heather Leibowitz and Joanna Greenfield, spoke movingly about what KBA means to them and their children. Leibowitz, who has two children at KBA as well as a four-year-old who will soon be enrolled, told how her 13-year-old son thanked the teacher for teaching him about the tragic era of the Holocaust.

“His Jewish day school has taught him who he is,” said Leibowitz. She said that only a Jewish day school teaches him the “why” and the “how.” Leibowitz said that activities, including projects with the seniors at Lions Gate and helping underprivileged children read through the JCRC’s BookMates literacy program, help “spark the flame of his Jewish soul.”

Joanna Greenfield spoke about how what she and her husband teach at home correlates to what is taught in school. She said that a day school education stays with a person his or her entire life. “The best hours of their days are at Kellman,” said the mother of two KBA students, adding that they are, and will be, “mensches.”

Commenting on the agreement, Rabbi Micah Peltz of Temple Beth Sholom and a KBA parent, said that having a community day school like KBA is essential to the vibrancy of the Jewish community. “Day school graduates are more likely to be involved in Jewish organizations, and day schools attract clergy to the area,” he said. Peltz added that the presence of KBA was an important factor for his family in coming to Southern New Jersey. “A lot of children from TBS attend, and as a parent myself, I see what an incredible secular and Jewish education they get.”

Peltz said that the Federation, including President Glenn Fuhrman and CEO Jennifer Dubrow Weiss, the Saltzman Foundation, and others deserve a lot of credit for stepping in and stabilizing the school and making sure that it continues to be a great blessing for the community for years to come.

“I hope that this is the start of a wonderful new chapter for Kellman Brown Academy, and that people in the community will take a second look and consider sending their children there for the wonderful education they get,” said Peltz. 

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