About

Bruchim Ha'baim - Welcome

Welcome to Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, a vibrant, joyful and ambitious Jewish day school; a passionate and engaged community built on core Jewish values and student-centered learning.
At Schechter Bergen, our goal is to help children acquire the essential skills they need to live a purposeful, meaningful Jewish life, and to be prepared for a world that is ever-changing economically, socially and politically. The challenges we are facing today and will face in the future are complex, with economic, ethical and environmental implications. At Schechter we believe that children want and need to engage in authentic learning experiences — that students who are challenged to develop their creativity, think critically, collaborate, communicate effectively, learn how to learn and develop the ability to adapt throughout their lives, will inherit the future.

Our passion and mission is to “inspire our students to be engaged, independent learners who embrace Jewish values and practices and strive with confidence and compassion to better the world.”

Beginning with the Early Childhood program, Schechter seamlessly incorporates Jewish ethics and values into the lives of our students. From the way our students treat each other to how they help those in the community and around the world, Schechter emphasizes the importance of being a good person, an active community member, and a strong and resilient student.

As an academic community open and welcoming to children from every Jewish affiliation, Schechter is committed to preserving our Jewish people and our Kehillah Kedosha (Sacred Community). This is accomplished through a rich and meaningful Jewish education and a hands-on, vigorous General education brought to life by a talented, deeply devoted teaching staff. In support of this mission, Schechter provides academic and financial assistance to families.

I’m honored and privileged to invite you to explore Schechter Bergen’s website. However, no matter how creative and innovative, a website cannot provide the vivid experience a visit to our beautiful campus can bring. We invite you to see our school, experience the warmth of our Kehillah, and observe first-hand the dynamic and exciting educational journey that occurs each and every day.

B’Shalom,


Steve Freedman
Head of School

Recent Posts

List of 5 news stories.

  • Responsible for Each Other

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  • The Secret Sauce that Matters Most

    Last week a parent came to visit and upon reflecting on all of the turmoil that we are living through right now, he compared Schechter Bergen to Noah’s Ark during the flood. Amidst all the turmoil around us, Schechter Bergen is a safe haven and nurturing place for our children and families.  

    Another grandparent sent me an email last week after volunteering for the first time to serve lunch. In the email he wrote, in part, “What a school you have. What. A. School! I’m absolutely blown away by your student body. Every child I served was incredible. They were all kind, happy, outgoing, and every other adjective under the sun. But, the two qualities/themes they all held were being polite and caring. “Please” and “thank you” were said nearly 100% of the time. In this day and age, that’s few and far between. While “please” and “thank you” can be said by anyone, it was genuine. While I don’t believe being a caring person can be taught, I think the quality can be molded, and harnessed, then brought out. That’s exactly what your staffers are doing. They are making our future children care for one another and engage with each other.”

    Since my arrival four years ago, I have always felt there was something special about this community. It felt different in all of the right ways, like there was a special sauce.  An organizational consultant and friend shared with me that in every organization she has ever worked with where the warmth or spirit of the institution is palpable to external visitors, it is always driven by a combination of individuals in the building who each make a critical contribution through who they are as humans to the overall ethos of the school.  The recognition that schools and organizations are a collection of humans working together to achieve a common goal is the foundation for all successful organizations.  In other words, special sauce can be defined — great people equal great organizations. This special sauce is crucial to who we are as it reflects our most fundamental Jewish values and speaks to the importance of the quality of character, a trait that matters most for living a meaningful and purposeful life.

    We sometimes can lose sight of how fortunate we are that we are a part of a Kehillah where families truly share similar values and where teachers do as well, expecting our children to grow and embrace those values too. Of course in the end, this special sauce only exists because of the people - teachers, staff, parents and our students in a unique combination that create this sort of “magic” at Schechter Bergen.

    Last week, brought one more example of the special sauce when the school hosted an Erev Iyun (night of learning) for our young alumni in loving memory of Rabbi Fred Elias z”l.  Over 80 graduates from Ninth Grade through seniors in college gathered to study Torah together!!  Justin Yehuda (Class of 2015) was among them. Justin gave a D’var Torah to begin the evening, and his words were not only meaningful and touching, they reinforced the power of this community and its lasting impact.  His D’var Torah along with the impressive turnout also affirmed that the impact of a Schechter Bergen education endures beyond graduation.

    Take a moment to read his D’var Torah. You will not only be glad that you did, you will share in the nachat, for Justin embodies all of the characteristics and qualities we hope to imbue in our students and graduates in partnership with each of our families.
     
     
    My name is Justin Yehuda, and I’m a Schechter graduate of the class of 2015. I’m here today to help honor the memory of Rabbi Elias z”l, a beloved teacher and mentor to so many of us. It was just four years ago that the two of us came together to create this event in the hopes of bringing our extended community together. It is especially heartwarming to see this tradition live on, even after the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though Rabbi Elias is no longer physically with us, his wisdom, his kindness, and his neshama live on through each of us here in the Beit Midrash.
     
    As the two of us spent time studying and reading Torah together, I learned an immeasurable amount from Rabbi Elias about what it takes to become a mensch. It is a blessing to be able to get together and to continue learning the lessons he began to teach us.
     
    This week's Torah portion is Parshat Vayechi, which closes the book of Bereshit. The story of Vayechi details Yaakov’s intentions as he prepares to leave this world behind. Though Yaakov did his best to prepare the future generations of his family for life without him, it must have been hard for his children and grandchildren to brace for such change.

    An important question here comes to mind: how can we go about dealing with big changes in our lives?

    My answer stems from an experience I shared with Rabbi Elias when I was his student in Eighth Grade. As I prepared to walk out of the halls of Solomon Schechter for the last time as one of its students, I was certainly fearful about what was to come. I shared that sentiment with each of my classmates, and that feeling became all too familiar with each impending change that life brought on in the future. As I sat in the Rabbi's office before taking off the cap and gown I had worn to our graduation, I mentioned to him that I was nervous to go on to the next phase of my life. Little did he know, the advice he gave me would be unforgettable, just as it always was. He said:

    No matter where you go, you will always be able to find your community.

    Befriending those whose hearts are kind and whose values are resonant will allow you to feel at home, just like you did growing up at Schechter.

    For those who are perhaps too afraid or anxious in the face of big changes, Rabbi Elias would have been the first to encourage everybody to be kind, to extend that person a helping hand, and to make them feel as welcome as possible in the community. This is the mentality of a mensch and a role model, through and through.

    As we honor the memory of Rabbi Elias together, we are reminded of the enduring impact that a single person can have on future generations. Through his teachings and guidance, Rabbi Elias instilled in us a love for Torah and a desire to continue learning and growing in our faith. By coming together to study and connect with each other, we keep the memory of Rabbi Elias alive within us all, and we ensure that his legacy lives on that way. In doing so, we also reaffirm our commitment to carrying on the traditions of our ancestors and passing them down to future generations.
     
    This is exactly what Yaakov had in mind as he prepared to leave his life behind: making the process of change as seamless as possible.
     
    Even as Schechter experiences changes of its own as well, nothing makes our community more proud than seeing mentors like Mr. Shapiro and others make these changes instrumental and fluid.
     
    I want to leave you all with a powerful closing remark as each of you prepare to endure the inevitable changes that appear in life.
     
    Regardless of which year you graduated from Schechter, there are three main lessons that I learned here, lessons that I’d like to remind us all as we aim to build meaning in our lives.
    1. First, value the guidance of your family and honor their traditions. Thank them for choosing a community that took such great care in developing your character from a young age.
    2. Secondly, acknowledge the impact that a single person can have on the people who constitute their community, no matter which community that may be.
    3. Lastly and most importantly, always treat people with kindness.
    As we continue to learn from the wisdom of the Torah, let us remember the teachings and the example of Rabbi Elias, and let us strive to make a positive impact on those around us, just as he did during his time with us.

    ~~~

    Justin reminds us, as Rabbi Elias z”l reminded him, of the importance of extending kindness to everyone so as to build and sustain community. This past week we very unfortunately watched our community come together with the Zieg family as they sat shiva for their beloved Layla z”l. Our students and greater Kehillah enveloped the Ziegs with love as we will continue to do, and as we do for each other always. We hope to instill in our children the values that make our Kehillah Kedosha special, during times of tragedy and hopefully in better times to come. 
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  • COVID and Learning Loss: Behind the Headlines

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275 McKinley Ave. | New Milford, NJ 07646 | Phone: 201-262-9898 | Fax: 201-262-3026 | info@ssdsbergen.org