Northwest Yeshiva High School Head of School Jason Feld said that benefactors Jack and Zeana Greenberg would be thrilled at how the school is using their endowment.
“The people that knew them best told me that they’re definitely smiling down on us from Heaven,” Feld said of the longtime Seattle residents who both passed away in recent years.
The board of the Mercer Island Jewish school recently announced a J-Z Greenberg one-time $5,000 Covid Relief Tuition Grants to all 43 NYHS students for the upcoming school year. Seattle Hebrew Academy is also a beneficiary of the foundation.
The funds were initially distributed in the 2019-20 school year, but NYHS set them aside and appointed a committee to handle the endowment, said J-Z Greenberg Foundation Board President Iris Schwartz.
About a month ago, the board decided that NYHS families could use some help during the pandemic.
“Everybody’s struggling, either financially or feeling like they’re not getting social. Whatever it is, we knew that this would be meaningful for all of our families,” Schwartz said. “It’s really within what Jack would have wanted. He loved that we were giving the kids an excellent secular and Jewish education.”
A school press release noted that Jack grew up during the Great Depression and felt that he and many of his peers were deprived a good Jewish education.
Feld said that NYHS families displayed a genuine outpouring of gratitude that was overwhelming and touching when they learned of the relief tuition grants.
“There wasn’t any formal request or expectation on the part of families, but once we announced it, I really personally was able to appreciate how meaningful and timely and helpful this gift is,” Feld said.
NYHS will begin classes on Sept. 2 in hybrid form with students learning in person certain times of the week and remotely on other days. For those students who wish to go the remote route full time, they are welcome to do so, Feld said.
“Our hopes are obviously that everyone remain healthy and safe, not just in our more immediate NYHS community, but we’re looking forward to seeing a citywide, national and global recovery. In the meantime, we really are focused on delivering high-quality, impactful educational experiences. That’s always been our North Star and it continues to be,” said Feld, adding that they’ve been able to maintain a strong sense of community online.
After switching to fully remote in the spring when the pandemic hit, NYHS added adult education classes three times a week to its curriculum. People joined up from all over the United States and a host of non-NYHS students even audited some classes. Creative writing and fine arts classes were popular with the younger set, while adults tuned in for Jewish philosophy and positive psychology.
“What we’ve found is that more and more we’re really getting used to the digital format,” Feld said. “I think students and educators are becoming more fluent in using it and it’s starting to create its own energy and flow.”
Schwartz said that her four children greatly benefited from the education they received at NYHS. They learned how to think and challenge ideas, were given a good moral ground to stand upon and much more. After attending his first college class, Schwartz’s eldest son called home and thanked his parents for sending him to NYHS and preparing him for the next stop on his educational journey.