It’s called the Perelman-Barrack Bridge, and it’s being made possible by Philadelphia-area philanthropists Lynne and Leonard Barrack.
The couple’s donation will facilitate Jewish day school education for families who have at least one child at Raymond and Ruth Perelman Jewish Day School and at least one child at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy.
“Lynne and I feel very strongly that our greater Philadelphia Jewish community is facing some very critical existential challenges today,” said Leonard Barrack, an alumnus of the school that is named in his late brother’s honor. “The best way to ensure the longevity, strength, vibrancy and vitality of our community is through affordable quality Jewish day school education.”
There are 11 Jewish day schools in the Delaware Valley, according to the website of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia; there are 39 total in Pennsylvania.
Perelman Jewish Day School was founded in 1956 in the basement of Har Zion Temple in Philadelphia. It now has two locations, one in Melrose Park and one in Wynnewood, and serves more than 350 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
“Thanks to the exceptional gift from Lynne and Len Barrack,” said Perelman’s Head of School Judy Groner, “we can make a Jewish day school education a reality for more children.”
Groner noted the synergies between Perelman and Barrack: “Through our left-brain and right-brain emphases on creativity, the arts, STEAM, Hebrew language and innovative teaching in multiple modalities, we develop critical thinking — and compassion,” she said. “This philosophy is shared by Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy and continues through the middle and high school years.”
Barrack Hebrew Academy, which was founded in 1946 as Akiba, sits on a 35-acre campus in Bryn Mawr. It has 370 students in grades six through 12.
“The visionary generosity of Lynne and Len Barrack is a shining example of their unyielding passion for Jewish continuity,” Barrack Head of School Sharon Levin said. “We are thrilled and honored to have such magnanimous benefactors. We are also proud of our ongoing partnership with Perelman Jewish Day School.”
Tuition at Perelman ranges from $13,500 to $22,800 per year, while tuition at Barrack ranges from $26,500 to $32,500 per year.
“The Perelman-Barrack Bridge now allows more families who have made a commitment to day school education in kindergarten foresee their children graduating 13 years later from our system with the benefits of a Barrack education for middle and upper school,” Levin said. “Families with more than one child in our schools often face great financial pressure.”
“The grant will make it easier for families to keep children in both schools,” Groner added. “This grant will help ease the financial burden of families paying multiple tuition fees simultaneously.”
The three-year initiative is already making a difference: So far, 14 Perelman sixth-graders were able to transition to Barrack with the help of the program’s funds.
The Barracks’ gift will ultimately yield $1 million when combined with matching gifts.
“It is our individual and collective responsibility,” said Leonard Barrack, “to provide the necessary resources, tools and guidance to the next generation of Jewish leaders — our children and grandchildren — so they are prepared to take on the mantle of leadership going forward.”
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0747