Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Ramaz School

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Head of school
Rabbi Eric Grossman

+1 212-774-8040



Ramaz School

Private coeducational Jewish Day School

Religious affiliation(s)
114 E 85th St, New York, NY 10028, USA

Regis High School, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rabbi Joseph H Lookstein, The Chapin School, Brearley School


It s ramaz

The Ramaz School is a coeducational Jewish Modern Orthodox Day School, which offers a dual curriculum of general studies taught in English and Judaic studies taught in Hebrew. The school is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. It consists of an early childhood center (nursery-kindergarten), a lower school (1st-4th grade), a middle school (5th-8th grade), and an upper school (9th-12th grade).


The Ramaz Upper School is a college preparatory program, designed to develop an appreciation for and understanding of the intellectual disciplines that are part of western civilization. The Judaic studies curriculum provides an equally rigorous program through which the religious and cultural tradition of Judaism is both taught and experienced. It is located on East 78th Street, seven city blocks (0.5 km) away from the other two school buildings, located on East 85th Street. Approximately fifty percent of the Upper School student body advances from the Middle School, as well as daily commuters from Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester, and Nassau counties in New York; Stamford and New Haven in Connecticut; from all over metropolitan New Jersey; and on a weekly or longer basis from more distant communities.

Ramaz was founded in 1937 and is affiliated with Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun ("KJ"), a synagogue located on East 85th Street, which shares a building with the lower school and is across the street from the middle school. The congregation and its rabbi, Joseph Lookstein, helped to found and finance the school.

Architect James Rossant designed the modernist Upper School building, completed in 1981.


Founded in 1937 by Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein through the generosity of New York lawyer and philanthropist Max J. Etra, Ramaz takes its name from the initials of Rabbi Moses Zevulun Margolies, the grandfather-in-law of Lookstein. The current principal, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, is the son of Joseph Lookstein and was a member of the first class of six students.

Classes were held in many locations over the years, including the vestry rooms of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. After the closing of Finch College, Ramaz bought the college's campus and renovated the buildings.

On November 30, 2007, The Wall Street Journal listed Ramaz as one of the top schools for graduates entering the top eight universities in the country, with 10 out of a class of 100 (class of 2007) going to these schools.

In January 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ramaz lost $6 million in the collapse of the Bernard Madoff investment scheme.

The Ramaz School had proposed a 28-story project to be built in place of the Lower School during 2008–2010. The building would have replaced the current school with a new building split into ten floors used by the school and topped by 18 floors of condominiums. Air rights of the adjoining synagogue would be transferred for use by the adjoining school/condo structure. The project may have had to be scaled back following a review by the City's Board of Standards & Appeals because the height is more than what is permitted at this site. The plans were withdrawn by the school in July 2008. However, due to a fire in the adjacent Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun building in July 2011, the Lower school began to undergo repairs and refurbishments for water damage. Since the building was not ready to welcome students that September, the Temple Emanu-El of New York and Park Avenue Synagogue volunteered their facilities for students until November 2011. On November 8, 2011, the Lower school reopened its doors.


Rabbi Haskel Lookstein scaled back his role as Principal of the Ramaz School at the end of the 2005–2006 school year, but he remained the rabbi of the associated Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue. He appointed Judith Fagin, formerly the headmistress of the Middle School, as Head of the Ramaz School. At the end of the 2011–2012 school year, she passed on the role of Head of School to Mr. Paul Shaviv, who hails from Canada. Mr. Paul Shaviv served as headmaster for three years. In 2015, Rabbi Eric Grossman, originally from Toronto, became the new headmaster of the school.

The Head of the Lower School is Rabbi Tavi Koslowe, the Head of the Middle School is Smadar Seinfeld, and Rabbi Shlomo Stochel is Associate Dean of the Upper School. Rabbi Kenneth Schiowitz is the Talmud Chair. Rabbi Joshua Bakst retired in 2003 and is currently the Dean, Emeritus.

Co-curricular activities and athletics

The Ramaz School's team name is the Ramaz Rams, and their logo is a Ram's head. Ramaz fields a number of competitive and recreational athletic teams throughout the school year. In the Upper School, there are varsity teams for both boys and girls in basketball, tennis, volleyball, and hockey, these teams compete in both the Yeshiva High School Athletic League and local independent school leagues. Ramaz also fields soccer, baseball, swim, table tennis, and track teams.

Ramaz's academic teams include their Mock Trial team, which competes in the New York State Bar Association's statewide competition and won the New York State competition in 2002, the New York City competition four times, and were finalists or semi-finalists an additional six times. Ramaz's Model Congress team participates in the University of Pennsylvania Model Congress tournament, and their Model UN team competes in the annual Yeshiva University National Model United Nations event. Additionally, Ramaz's College Bowl team participates in independent tournaments, their Math Team competes in the New York Math League and the Mandelbrot Competition, the Chess Club competes in the Yeshiva Chess League, the Science Olympiad team competes against 15 other New York and New Jersey schools in a competition administered by the Board of Jewish Education, and their Hidon HaTanakh and Torah Bowl teams compete against local Jewish Day Schools. Ramaz Upper School students have also succeeded in numerous academic competitions in both the arts and sciences, including the 2004–2005 Siemens Westinghouse Competition, the 2007 NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing, the Intel Science Competition, and the American Mathematics Competition.

In addition to their athletic and academic teams, the Ramaz Upper School also has 22 special interest clubs, including an Arabic Club, Coalition for the Homeless, and Israel Advocacy Club that regularly attends the annual AIPAC Policy Conference, in addition to 15 fine and performing arts clubs. The Ramaz Chamber Choir has competed in national choral competitions, performed on CBS Sunday Morning News, and at the White House and is featured on the Best of Jewish A Cappella, Volume 3.


Ramaz's publications include:

  • RamPage - Student Paper
  • Breakthrough - a science publication
  • El Ramillete - the Spanish student newspaper
  • Lambpage - the Middle School newspaper
  • Likrat Shabbat - the only weekly publication, devoted to Shabbat
  • MegaRAM - the technology student publication
  • Parallax - Upper School literary magazine. Eight-time Crown Award winner from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
  • Ramblings - the current events newspaper
  • Rambunctions - Satirical Newspaper
  • Rambytes - the school's emailed newsletter
  • RaMedz - the school's Medical Journal
  • Ramifications - the school yearbook
  • Rampost - The Political Affairs Newspaper
  • RISE- art magazine
  • SFAC News - Student Faculty Administration Committee meeting minutes
  • La Gazette - the French student newspaper
  • The Sports Report - a sports publication
  • XeVeX - the mathematics magazine
  • Controversy

    In 2007, Joyce Villarin, a former nurse at the school, treated a child for an injury that he claimed his father caused. Villarin contacted the father who admitted to injuring his son. The Ramaz administration told Villarin not to report the incident to the police. Villarin did report this and was fired in 2008 because the school thought that she was "not a team player."

    Villarin sued the school in Manhattan Supreme Court in 2009, arguing that the state’s Social Services Law obligated her to report the potential abuse. Under the law, school faculty are required to report to state authorities a suspicion that a child is being abused or mistreated.

    Notable alumni

  • Adam Ferziger (1964), historian
  • Ari Gold (1974), pop singer and songwriter
  • Shai Held (1971), rosh yeshiva of Mechon Hadar
  • Isaac Herzog (1960), former Israeli Tourism Minister, Chairman of the Labor party, head of the opposition, and son of former Israeli President Chaim Herzog
  • Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College's Eli Black professor of Jewish Studies, an award-winning author, and the daughter of Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • Matthew Hiltzik (1972), CEO and President of Hiltzik Strategies, a consulting and communications firm
  • Nathan Lewin, attorney
  • Haskel Lookstein, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun
  • Natasha Lyonne (1979), actress in Orange Is the New Black and the American Pie movies
  • Leandra Medine, fashion blogger/designer
  • Daphne Merkin (1954), author and journalist
  • J. Ezra Merkin (1953), former money manager and Bernie Madoff affiliate
  • Peter N. Miller, historian
  • Michael Mukasey (1941), the 81st United States Attorney General
  • Haviva Ner-David
  • Achinoam Nini (1969), Israeli rock singer
  • Joshua Prager (1971), author and journalist
  • Philippe Reines (1969), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and spokesman for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • Baruch Shemtov (1987), fashion designer
  • Adam Szubin, politician who has served as the Acting Secretary of the Treasury of the United States
  • Merryl Tisch, New York State Schools Chancellor (through 2015)
  • Laurence and Preston Robert Tisch, the namesakes of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University
  • Tevi Troy, Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services
  • Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation
  • References

    Ramaz School Wikipedia

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