New Haven

NEW HAVEN — The Jewish Community School of New Haven (JCS) is moving ahead rapidly with plans to open its doors in Sept. 2009.

Founded by Rachel Light and Rebecca Silvera Sasson, the trans-denominational day school will offer a pluralistic Jewish envionment for children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Light, the schools’ president and treasurer, is a physician and author, with extensive experience teaching high school at such institutions as the Ramaz Middle School in New York City and SAR Academy in Riverdale, N.Y.

“Young families in New Haven are looking for a Jewish educational experience that combines serious Jewish study with a progressive, child-centered approach,” says Light. “In today’s climate of high stakes testing, the joy in learning and discovering is harder to achieve. JCS is committed to cultivating a learning community where children’s questions and interests become the basis for meaningful, authentic learning.”

Rebecca Silvera Sasson, the school’s vice president, is a former Wexner Graduate Fellow. She has taught in both public schools and Jewish schools, and is currently co-leader of DeLeT, a teacher education program at Brandeis University that specializes in preparing teachers for Jewish day schools. Sasson shares Light’s excitement.
“We believe that Jewish families who have never considered Jewish day schools in the past, will be compelled by the mission of a pluralistic day school,” says Sasson.

Light and Sasson describe the school as resting on three core values, including education of the whole child – intellectual, emotional and physical — dedication to Jewish values, texts and traditions, and a commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world).

The school will began with a combined kindergarten and first grade class and will expand by one grade each year. Students will spend two years in each two-grade classroom.

“The mixed-age classroom is central to our mission because it creates an environment where students of different abilities and interests can interact as part of a complex community of learners and teachers, and where students can progress at their own pace as they work individually, in small groups, and in full-class contexts,” explains Light. “Over the course of their time at JCS, students will be grouped in varying ways according to age, skill level and interests.”

Sasson adds, “The JCS experience will be infused with arts experiences and education such that the study and practice of visual, musical, movement, and performance art will be integrated across the curriculum.”

Acknowledging that there are area day schools for Jewish parents to choose from, Light and Sasson say there is always room for one more.

“JCS has a very different philosophy from other schools in the area,” they note.

For more information, about the Jewish Community School call (203) 397-0327 or email

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