For Bernard Zell parents Tamar Jacoby ’94 and Elan Jacoby and grandparent Barbara Levy Kipper, giving back is a multigenerational endeavor. The Jacoby and Kipper families made a gift to the school expansion project, dedicating a music room in honor of Dr. David Kipper, Tamar’s father, a well-known clinical psychologist, university professor, and philanthropist who emigrated to Chicago from Israel and was an instrumental supporter of the Joffrey Ballet and other cultural and art institutions in the city.
For the Jacoby family, it’s a way to make an enduring commitment to the school at the beginning of their young children’s education – as their daughter is in 1st grade and their son is in Junior Kindergarten.
Bernard Zell has been an important part of Barry Malkin and Jodi Block’s lives for decades. “My father, Judd Malkin, began the tradition of philanthropy through his giving to Anshe Emet Synagogue in the 1970s. We began our support of Bernard Zell in 1997 when our daughter, Clara, started at the school.” Clara graduated in 2008 and their son, Elijah, graduated in 2012, but Barry and Jodi continue to be involved as parents of alumni and as donors. They have generously maintained their Chai level support of the Annual Campaign for years. Since 2008, Barry has served on the Board of Trustees and last year, he accepted the position of co-chair for The Campaign to Transform Bernard Zell.
“We’ve seen firsthand the impact of a Bernard Zell education on our children and our family. We’ve grown our understanding of Jewish culture and traditions, and have been part of a wonderful community committed to continuing the legacy of the Jewish people.”
Catherine and Don Kleinmuntz chose to enroll their children Alex and Mika in the Nursery program at Bernard Zell because they were struck not only by the exceptional academics but also by the emphasis on students becoming well-rounded, empathic, good citizens. Bernard Zell’s focus on academic excellence and Jewish education allows students to grow up in an academically diverse, challenging environment while experiencing vital social and emotional growth.
Don said, “What’s wonderful about Bernard Zell is that we don’t have to compromise. Bernard Zell offers us this amazing ability to have academic excellence, Jewish community, a supportive social environment, and we don’t have to make tradeoffs. It’s really an exception.”
We’re looking at Bernard Zell, twenty-years from now, and we know that learning will be very different.” says Scooter Simon, reflecting on his lifetime supporting Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School. “But we also know that education will always be one of our core values and we need to consider how we can ensure that our school has the resources to serve our children with the level of excellence that has defined our legacy.”
“My father went to the religious school at Anshe Emet Synagogue, and my daughter Molly attended Bernard Zell,” says Scooter, who has served on the Boards of Trustees since 2008. Scooter and his wife Pam are active also active parents of alumni and have been Guardian Donors to the school for many years.
Dana Hirt, Capital Project Co-Chair and member of the Board of Trustees, has been part of the Bernard Zell community since 1994. Although her three children, who are 20, 22 and 25, have long since graduated, she remains involved because of the profound impact the school has had on their lives and their family.
She says the school excelled not only in academic preparedness, but at a more intrinsic level. She evokes the concept of Dayenu. The school helped her children develop as learners and people, giving them the tools for life after Bernard Zell, which would have been enough. It also helped them develop their love of Israel and their Jewish identity, and then crucially, it gave their family – transplants to Chicago – a community and sense of belonging.