This is where Rabbi Budow will share his thoughts, musings, and insights on Jewish education and various other topics of interest to the Jewish community.
In the beginning…. So, where did Abrams Hebrew Academy start? In 1904, the school was established in the Capitol city of Trenton, NJ as the Dr. Herzl’s Zion Hebrew School, led by Rabbi Issachar Levin. At that time Trenton had a thriving Jewish community and supported all of the attendant businesses that provided the necessary goods and services required by observant Jews. Over the ensuing years, the school was eventually renamed the Trenton Hebrew Academy.
Unfortunately, Trenton, along with many urban cities, found itself losing constituents to the suburbs, and its Jewish population followed suit. Thirty five years ago, the school’s board of directors decided to move the school across the river to Yardley, PA, renaming it Abrams Hebrew Academy.
Interestingly, a parcel of land now being developed in Yardley on Rt. 332 at Scammell’s Corner was originally purchased as the site of the new Abrams Hebrew Academy. That plan was abandoned when zoning issues prevented the construction, leading to the purchase of our original building, the then-closed Yardley Elementary School. Abrams outbid its closest competitor by $100,000 and paid a whopping $320,000 for the property! What a buy!!
The key to understanding the uniqueness of Abrams Hebrew Academy is in understanding the town of Yardley. Normally, a day school is established in a community when there are enough Jewish residents to support it. A network of businesses, synagogues, social and religious organizations create a demand for a school- that is what happened in Trenton.
However, when Abrams moved to Yardley it was the first Jewish organization to locate in the small borough in Bucks County, PA. There was virtually no Jewish community in Yardley, and as a result, trying to build a day school was a tremendous challenge. Even today, 35 years later, the Jewish population is small, and the infrastructure is limited to a few synagogues and one kosher bakery.
How does Abrams survive?